Civil Law Court Lifts Injunction on Press Union Election

MONROVIA, Montserrado – The judge of the Civil Law Court B, Roland Dahn, has ordered lifted the injunction placed upon the Press Union of Liberia’s previously scheduled election, which failed to take place on Saturday, Nov. 9.

The injunction was announced lifted pending the outcome of ongoing hearings.

The court’s decision was triggered by the Press Union’s filing a motion to vacate the petition for the injunction. The chairman of the union’s election commission, Jarlawah Tonpo, wrote that the request for the injunction was done in bad faith, with intent to hold the union hostage and derail its constitutionally mandated process of elections.

In its petition to the court, the Press Union said it had lost scarce resources associated with the suspended elections and asked the court to permit the earliest possible holding of the polls in order to avert the need for new resources related to a new election.

Furthermore, the union said the injunction was based on unsubstantiated and unspecified claims by a handful of aggrieved members, which was causing damage to its reputation.

The aggrieved members included Sekou Sheriff of Freedom FM, W. Omecee Johnson, and Sebo Williams.

Judge Dahn sided with the Press Union and therefore vacated the injunction, thereby permitting the union to proceed with elections, following a posted US$35,000 bond.

The union’s leadership and its election commission wasted no time following the court’s order to announce a resumption of political campaigning from Nov. 13–16, and the new date for elections to be the afternoon of Saturday, Nov. 16, at the union’s headquarters in Monrovia.

In a press statement issued late Wednesday, Nov. 13, under the signature of election commission chairman, Tonpo, the commission commended all union members for “respecting the rule of law and exercising restraints” as the union’s leadership sought to overcome the legal impasse.

Tonpo also assured all members of his commission’s “unwavering commitment to conduct free, fair, and transparent elections in a harmonious atmosphere marred with the spirit of colleagueship.”

It is yet unclear what further legal recourse is available to the aggrieved members whose petition triggered the court’s injunction in the first place. What is unquestionable, however, is how swiftly and robustly the Press Union’s leadership and Chairman Tonpo are prepared to act to put the elections behind them once and for all.

Featured photo by Zeze Ballah

Miama Morine Pewee

Miama Morine Pewee is a senior student at the African Methodist Episcopal University, studying Mass Communication with an emphasis in Public Administration. She holds a certificate in Gender Sensitive Reporting, a diploma in Journalism, and an advanced certificate in Computer Science.

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