Monrovia - Expelled members of the Unity Party (UP) continue to exert every legal means to ensure that their expulsion by the National Executive Committee of the former ruling party is thrashed.
On December 13, 2017 the National Executive Committee of the Unity Party voted to expel several of its stalwarts, including the standard bearer emeritus Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, RiverGee County Senator, Commany Wesseh, Patrick Wozie, Deputy Secretary General and Medina Wesseh former Executive Committee member for violating the party’s constitution.
The Unity Party (UP) says that its Article VII Section (1) (e) of the party’s constitution provides that it is an obligation and rights for members of the party to campaign for its candidates in any election but the expelled members of the party was expelled for openly campaigning against its standard bearer and vice standard bearer in the October 2017 Elections.
Not satisfied with their expulsion, the expelled UP partisans filed a complaint to the National Elections Commission Hearing officer referring to their expulsion as illegal and that the national executive committee of the party did not meet the quorum set up by the party’s laws to institute their expulsion.
In February of this year following the hearing by NEC officer Munna Ville dismissed the complaint of the expelled UP Partisans that they could have first filed their complaint to the National Executive Committee in line with the party’s laws in the case of the expulsion of any of the party’s stalwarts.
But the expelled UP members rejected the ruling and announced an appeal to the NEC Board of Commissioners.
On Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at an appeal hearing before the NEC Board at its Sinkor Headquarters, the expelled UP members arguing through their counsel Cllr. Jonathan Massaquoi stated that the ruling by NEC hearing officer to dismiss their complaint against the party’s executive committee was a reversible error.
Cllr. Massaquoi further argued that the complaint filed before the NEC Hearing Officer requires for a conference among the parties, where some of the issues raised could have been narrowed down but instead he went ahead to dismiss the complaint.
“This issue was an inter-party dispute in which some of the issues could be narrow down but issue the hearing office dismiss the case without hearing the merit which is a reversible error on her part,” said Cllr. Massaquoi, who called on the Board of Commissioners to take judicial notice of the case file and set-aside the ruling of the NEC Hearing Officer as his ruling was contrary to the law.
According Cllr. Massaquoi the party’s executive committee comprises of 65 members and it requires 2/3 majority (42 members) of the membership to take any such decision at the party’s headquarters.
But the decision taken to expel the party stalwarts was done at the residence of the party standard bearer Joseph Boakai by 15 members, which is a violation of the party’s constitution.
When quizzed by the board about his refusal to appeal to the party’s executive committee as require by the party’s law, he said the expelled partisans could not do that because the same executives of the committee were the ones who voted to expel them.
Cllr. Albert Sims, who is representing the UP executive committee, argued that those who wrote the petitioners are unknown because the petition only named Patrick Wozie while the other petitioners were not known which becomes conflicting.
“Your honors, we pray the court to confirm and affirm the ruling of the NEC Hearing Officer because his ruling is in line with the party’s laws,” said Sims.
But the NEC Board of Commissioners reserved ruling until there is a notice of assignment to the parties.