Veteran Journalist Seeks Judicial Review of PUL’s Controversial Elective Congress

Veteran Liberian journalist, Aaron B. Kollie is seeking urgent legal intervention in what has now become a contentious 2022 elective congress of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL).

“Saturday evening’s late stop by 9e The Judicial Circuit Court of Gbarnga, Bong County, in the disputed Press Union of Liberia (PUL) Elective Congress, is the most brazen and ill-advised legal judgment ever handed down by a Liberian court lately. Accordingly, this must be rejected and resisted by the Liberian media in all its guises,” Mr. Kollie said in a special statement he released late Sunday evening, November 20, 2022.

According to the veteran Liberian journalist, the decision handed down by the court, in a newly esteemed justice system headed by Chief Justice Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh, which has garnered public admiration and approval for his open statement of upholding the rule of law without fear or favour, has the sole intention and purpose of sowing seeds of discord and disunity within the PUL which should not be nurtured, but urgently addressed at the highest levels of the judiciary .

“The letter and/or spirit of the law in this case has been openly and wantonly shredded by a sitting judge, extended to a syndicate of journalists that will not go legally unchallenged. This action has all the pitfalls and odors of arm-twisting and external interference, requiring urgent intervention by all stakeholders to safeguard the integrity and sanctity of the media community and judiciary in Liberia,” he added in his statement.

Late in the evening of Saturday, November 19, 2022, a court sitting in Gbargna, Bong County, reportedly quashed a writ of injunction that had been sought and obtained by Julius Kanubah’s team due to a record of the presumed unclean voters to whom the Daniel Nyankonah team reportedly sought to win the presidency of the Union of Journalists and its next leadership body.

A deeply concerned Kollie said reason and common sense must prevail as the Gbarnga court “should at least have done the honorable thing in giving both parties, the complainant and the accused, the benefit of the doubt to be heard. , to determine the merits and demerits of the case at hand,” before rendering or hastily serving a judgment/decision in a court bonanza late on Saturday evening. Describing the decision of the Gbargna court as a decision Compared to a “kangaroo-like” court that saw faction supporters allegedly charged with “voter roll fraud”, the revered Liberian media actor added that such a vote under the guise of obscurity at Gbarnga The administrative building to elect a new leadership of the PUL, excluding the complaining faction, “certainly will not stand in the community of journalists in Liberia, with a unilateral and approved leadership, at the exclusion of other key players, whoever they are. finally wins.

Current and outgoing PUL Vice President Daniel Nyankonah, a seasoned journalist with extensive institutional knowledge of the workings of the PUL after nearly a decade combing the ranks and records of the Union, has since been opposed to Julius Kanubah, a former Deputy Secretary General of the Union and another experienced journalist and media training specialist, to replace Charles Coffey whose two terms expire at this year’s Congress in the central Liberian city of Gbarnga.

As “Team Kanubah” boycotted the Gbarnga event after obtaining the writ of injunction, a nightly event which would have undone the legal halt to the process, took place in which Mr. Nyankonah would have been declared the winner at the exclusion of Mr. Julius Kanubah.

Calling for the intervention of the legal epic, Mr. Kollie, who chaired the Electoral Commission of the PUL which provoked the first mandate of Charles Coffey, adds that the Gbarnga saga is unprecedented in the history of the Union of the Liberian press: “….and I would like to recall that the Honorable Chief Justice of Liberia has officially called on judges and magistrates to take Judicial Canon 5 seriously, delivering blind justices to people in their respective courts . Judicial Canon 5 states that the court is the last place of hope for man on earth.

Moreover, Mr. Kollie’s concerns seem suited to the issue of legitimacy: legitimacy of a union leadership that does not enjoy the overwhelming mandate of its members. (In this case, the team of Daniel Nyankonah, accumulating on itself, in an uncontested unilateral election, less than 30 percent of the vote of all the members of the PUL). The media community in Liberia is not involved in a David versus Goliath struggle for supremacy, as the PUL has always been a brotherhood of common bonds among its members. And I’m sure, consciously, Daniel Nyankonah, a decent and well-respected professional, would not want to be seen presiding over a union with a one-sided, approved leadership, devoid of membership legitimacy. At this point we do not need a split or balkanized PUL, but a PUL united in strength and purpose.

He then warned the outgoing president of the Union, Mr. Coffey, for whom he had this advice: “Finally, Mr. Charles Coffey must not leave the leadership of the PUL, bequeathing a Union in tatters, but committed to promoting continued support for media freedom, democracy, the rule of law and pluralism, as well as holding the powerful in society under control and accountable. Therefore, the need for a reconciled and united PUL is even more demanding today than at any time in the history of the Union.

In a related development, an unconfirmed report indicates that the legal team of “Team Kanubah” is considering further legal action to compensate for what happened in Gbarnga.

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