The Unity Party has withdrawn its petition filed against newly elected House Speaker J. Fonati Koffa. Just hours after his election as speaker of the House of Representatives Unity Party initiated legal action against Koffa to have his position nullified and subsequently evicted from the legislature.
The Executive Committee of the UP filed a six-count petition for Declaratory Judgement against Speaker-elect Koffa following a tightly contested speaker election at the House of Representatives.
Koffa won his rival, Richard Koon, 36 to 31 votes.
The incoming ruling party, through its National Chairman Rev. J. Luther Tarpeh and National Secretary General Amos Tweh, filed a petition for ‘Declaratory Judgment’ against the National Election Commission (NEC), seeking to nullify Koffa’s election and have him removed from the National Legislature.
In the petition submitted to the Circuit Judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court at the Temple of Justice, Golda Bonah-Elliott, the Unity Party argued that Koffa was not qualified to hold an elected position based on various reasons, including that he holds dual citizenship.
They also referred to Article 4 Section 1 of the Act To Amend and/or Nullify Certain Provisions of The Aliens and Nationality Law Relating To Citizenship, which states that a Liberian citizen holding citizenship of another country is not eligible for elective public office.
The provision provides that: “A Liberian citizen who holds the citizenship of another country shall not be eligible for any elective public office while still a citizen of another country.
In its petition, the Unity Party further argued that, should such a person desire to contest for elective public office, the person must renounce the citizenship of the other country at least one (1) year before applying to the NEC to contest for an elective public office.”
UP submitted to the court that Koffa, the 2nd Respondent in the suit, is a citizen of the United States of America holding passport number 489973788, issued on February 13, 2012, and therefore requests the nullification of his election as a representative in the Legislature of Liberia.
But to the surprise of many, the executives of the Unity Party proceeded to the court to have the case withdrawn. However, the decision to withdraw the legal action on Wednesday came after reports emerged that the suit was causing a lot of tension among the hierarchy of the party and UP Alliance members.
The party also decided to drop the case after Speaker Koffa paid a courtesy visit to President-elect Joseph Nyuma Boakai at his Rehab Community residence in Paynesville.
Montserrado County Senator and staunch supporter of President-elect Joseph Boakai lauded the Unity Party for the decision to withdraw the suit, terming it as a reconciliatory move.
Source: Daily Observer