Monrovia – The National Elections Commission (NEC) Tuesday failed to conduct hearing on the case involving Representatives Edwin Snowe (UP-District#6 Montserrado County) and Garyah Karmo (UP-District #1, Bomi County) because the Commissioners could not form a quorum.
"Sitting Representative Edwin Snowe, hereinabove, having been legally seated as a 73rd member of the Electoral District #6, Montserrado County is the current Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee as well as a delegate of the House to the ECOWAS, receiving all benefits, salaries and legislative entitlements as a registered and domiciled honorable member of the District, Montserrado County," Representative Karmo said.
Representative Snowe, who is the defendant in the case, told this paper that three of the Commissioners of the NEC did not show up due to illness, and in keeping with the NEC rules on conducting a hearing on election related dispute, there should be five members including the chairman present to have a quorum.
Rep. Snowe said the commissioners including Davidetta Browne Lansanah, Jonathan K. Weedor and Jeanette A. Ebba Davidson were all absent.
“It is working against me as you are aware my name is not on the provisional listing published by the NEC because of this case and my opponents are using it against me by going to the county and informing the people that I am not qualified that is why my name hasn’t been publishing.”
The National Elections Commission of the Republic of Liberia as an autonomous public commission established by the Constitution of Liberia comprises seven members, one of whom is Chairman and another is Co-Chairman, respectively.
The other five members are called commissioners. With the advice and consent of the Senate, they are appointed by the President and serve tenure of Seven (7) years each. The current members of the Commission are
Members of the NEC board include; Jerome George Korkoya (LLB. LLM. JD) Chairman, Sarah Jegede Toe (Cllr) Co-Chairman, Jonathan K. Weedor (MA) Commissioner, Samuel Z. Joe (MA) Commissioner, Jeanette Ebba Davidson (Cllr) Commissioner Davidetta Browne Lansanah (MA) Commissioner and Boakai Dukuly (MA, Cllr) Commissioner.
Snowe believes in the case involving him and Karmo time is of the essence and given the timeline, if NEC doesn’t rule in the case in a timely manner he might not be qualified to join others to campaign on the day campaigning begins.
The NEC has the power to, upon objections made by any person or group of persons, reject, and if already registered, revoke the certificate of accreditation of said party or independent candidate, subject to appeal to the Supreme Court of Liberia.
In June of 2017 Mr. Washington V. Farmah, Magistrate for the National Elections Commission in Bomi, dismissed the complaint filed by Representative Karmo but the incumbent Bomi lawmaker took an appeal and filed a bill of exception.
After reviewing the submissions made by the parties and listened to the arguments, the magistrate recorded that he observed that the law relied upon by the petitioner, Rep. Karmo, could not be applied to the respondent under the circumstances of the case.
Said the Magistrate, “The respondent cannot be barred from registering to vote outside of his district and at a location where he has established a residence. In view of what I have narrated above, the petitioner's petition objecting to the registration of respondent at the Weakama Public School is hereby denied and dismissed.”
Rep. Karmo argued that Rep. Snowe’s bid is in violation of provisions provided under Article 37 of the 1986 Liberian Constitution, Rep. Snowe has elected for his own selfish gain, to create the additional electoral district.
"Sitting Representative Edwin M. Snowe, hereinabove, having been legally seated as a 73rd member of the Electoral District #6, Montserrado County is the current Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee as well as a delegate of the House to the ECOWAS, receiving all benefits, salaries and legislative entitlements as a registered and domiciled honorable member of the District, Montserrado County," Representative Karmo said.