Mr. Kamara is among aspirants who was rejected by the National Elections Commission (NEC) to contest the October 10 polls, and had earlier filed a Writ of Prohibition over the decision of the Commission.
The Commission however filed its returns to the Court urging it to dismiss the Writ of Prohibition which outlined that the entire petition is a fit and proper subject for dismissal because the petitioner (Kamara) proceeded wrongly and cited Article 3.3 sub-section (a) on candidate nomination, registration.
It argued that, pursuant to its authority to screen, accredit or reject candidates, Kamara’s application was rejected on July 1 and confirmed by the Board of Commissioners on July 3, copy of the rejection and receipt which was received by Kamara on the same day.
During hearing into the case yesterday, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor told lawyers representing the petitioner, the fact that their client is still holding office means he continuously violates the Code of Conduct.
Justice Korkpor said that the lawyers should have advised their clients on issues they know will contravene the laws of the country.
Also, Justice Kabineh Ja’neh said that the lawyers’ presence was a violation of the Court’s earlier ruling for the fact that the petitioner is still serving as Assistant Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, and the same time wanting to be representative, which violates the COC.
Justice Philip A. Z. Banks for his part averred that the lawyers were mixing up a substantive element and procedural method of the law that says you cannot contest because you are not qualified, which was passed in 2014.
Cllr. Arthur Johnson, one of the lawyers representing Kamara, told the judges that they were only hired after the petition for the writ of prohibition was filed, and that they do not reject the CoC.
However, he said the amendment was a breach of an ECOWAS Protocol which states, “no country should make new election laws six months to election”.
He said they are not overlooking the earlier decision of the court, but the National Legislature took political participation from the Ombudsman to the NEC which violates the ECOWAS protocol.
Article 5.1 of the Code of Conduct provides that “All Officials appointed by the President of the Republic of Liberia” shall not engage in political activities, canvass or contest for elected offices.
It also prohibits the use of government facilities, equipment or resources in support of partisan or political activities; prohibit government officials to serve on a campaign team of any political party, or the campaign team of any independent candidate.
Article 5.2 of the same Code of Conduct says, “Wherein, any person in the category stated in section 5.1 herein above, desires to canvass or contest for an elective public position, the following shall apply to Any Minister, Deputy Minister, Director-General, Managing Director and Superintendent appointed by the President pursuant to article 56 (a) of the Constitution and a Managing Director appointed by a Board of Directors, who desires to contest for public elective office shall resign said post at least two (2)years prior to the date of such public elections.
It states that any other official appointed by the President who holds a tenured position and desires to contest for public elective office shall resign said post three (3) years prior to the date of such public elections.
However, the Article states, in the case of impeachment, death, resignation or disability of an elected official, any official listed above, desirous of canvassing or contesting to fill such position must resign said position within thirty days following the declaration by the National Elections Commission of the vacancy.
The Court has rescheduled the hearing to a later date that will be announced.