The country is faced with a dilemma in which the final decision has the tendency to either build or destroy, the latter we cannot afford, but the ultimate decision now lies in the hands of the Justices of the Supreme Court – the final arbiter of justice in the land and the interpreter of our sacred Constitution.
The 2014 Special Senatorial Elections which should have taken place October 14 was delayed by the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak which shook the very foundation our country, claiming the lives of thousands. This caused us, as Liberians, to be unable to exercise our democratic right constitutionally.
However, the election was shifted to December 16 – a date proposed by NEC, endorsed by the House and the Senate. The decision was taken in acknowledgement of the fact that transmission of the virus had declined remarkably.
But many argued that holding the election in the midst of the outbreak, which has greatly improved, has a possibility of undermining the positive strives made towards fighting the disease. Others also argued that an election held under this condition is likely not to be fair and credible as there will not be international observers to monitor the election.
The government also contends that if the election is not held this year, there will be constitutional crisis come January 2015, one which has the propensity to lead to instability, at which time the term of office for current senior senators will be over and newly elected senators are to constitutionally replace them come January.
Government further contends that if the senatorial election is not held this year, the Legislature will be constitutionally inadequate to run as a branch of government, therefore, in order to avert such a confusion, it is imperative that the election be held, but with necessary protective measures against Ebola in place.
A petition against the holding of the election filed with the Supreme Court has led to the issuance of a temporary stay order on all activities related to the election until the case can be looked into tomorrow by the Justice in Chambers, Justice Philip A. Z. Banks, who will determine whether the petition has some merits to be placed before the full bench of the Court or be dismissed.
The INSIGHT calls on the Supreme Court to consider the effect of its decision on the country as a whole before rendering it. We believe that we are in crucial times, faced with extreme cases, where the law may be limited in helping us.
We believe that during these kinds of unexpected times, the safety (safety in every sense – being politically, economically or health wise) of the people should be paramount above all other agenda.
We cannot suggest to the wisdom of the Supreme Court but we wish to remind the Supreme Court that whatever ruling it comes up with in this matter can either build us democratically or retard our progress as a nation.
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