The former ruling Unity Party has on Tuesday, September 26, 2023, petitioned the Supreme Court to issue a Writ of Mandamus against the National Elections Commission to compel the electoral body to produce, publish, and distribute the Final Registration (voter) Roll (FRR).
The legal challenge by the opposition Unity Party is rooted in its belief that timely access to the roll is a key requirement that would ensure the credibility of the October 10 elections.
The UP wants the Supreme Court to declare it a mandatory process to compel the NEC to publish the FRR, emphasizing that it is crucial for the integrity of the voters on Election Day.
A writ of mandamus is a court order compelling a government official or agency to perform a mandatory duty or function required by law. In this case, the Unity Party argues that the NEC has a legal obligation to make the “final registration roll accessible to the public and political parties,” and its failure to do so warrants judicial intervention.
“The petitioner states that, in accordance with the duties assigned to the National Elections Commission by the New Elections Law and by a Supreme Court opinion, the NEC is mandated to publish and provide political parties and independent candidates with copies of the Final Registration Roll of all registered voters, broken down by locations in every electoral district in the Country”.
The UP petition further noted that a communication was sent to the NEC Chairperson, requesting the FRR, as, in accordance with Section 16.1 of the 2023 voters’ roll, the NEC may take necessary measures to clean or correct any inaccuracies discovered on the voter’s roll.
The UP petition also informed the court that, in line with Section 16.5 of the 2023 Voters Registration Regulations, the FRR for each magisterial area should be available at the magisterial office for public inspection during normal business hours.
Recently, NEC Chairperson Davidetta Brown Lansanah appeared before the Liberian Senate and, under oath, promised to provide the FRR by September 18, but failed to do so.
The UP also wants the court to prohibit the NEC from allowing those whose names are not found on the FRR to vote, restricting addendums to the FRR to only those listed in the NEC polling and counting manual.
The National Elections Commission (NEC) has yet to issue a formal response to the Unity Party’s petition since the case was on September 26, 2023.
According to some legal experts, the outcome of the case could have far-reaching implications for the broader October 10 electoral process if the Supreme Court grants the Unity Party Writ of Mandamus, it would set a precedent for increased transparency in the electoral process.
Meanwhile, Justice in chambers, Her Honor Jamesetta H. Wolokolie, has mandated NEC Chairperson Davidetta Browne-Lansanah to appear before the Court on Thursday, 27th September, 2023 at 3:00 pm.
Figo Mansaray is a Liberian Journalist for over 10 years and currently working with Kukatonon Media Inc and AYV Media Empire.
Figo, a prospective Graduate at the University of Liberia can be contacted via +231777489052/+231881734014 and email@example.com