BY HUN-BU TULAY
“Unlimited power in the hands of limited people always lead to CRUELTY”
Democracy is the government of the people; it is so defined thus because that is how it started back in the fifth century BC. The first known democracy in the world was in Athens, one of the city states of Greece. The Athenian Idea of democracy was different from modern-day democracy. In Athens, all adult citizens were required to take active part in the running of the government through debates and voting for critical issues that affect their lives and properties. If they did not fulfill their duty, they would be fined and sometimes marked with RED PAINT. As the population got larger, selected few, mostly 500 citizens from the population would select to serve in the government making laws that govern the people and controlling the political process. However, when laws were drafted, before they became laws, the citizens met and debated and voted on them. This type of democracy is called DIRECT DEMOCRACY. The Athenian Democracy does not exist today because of the large population of states. Today we have a Representative Democracy, where the people select their direct representatives through votes. The state is divided into electoral districts. In Liberia, with a population of approximately 5.2 million people, we select/elect 105 persons (two persons-President and vice president for six years, 30 senators for nine years, and 73 representatives for six years) to represent us. These 105 persons select all the other officials of the government. The 105 persons control the resources of the country, they determine who gets what. The Liberia people give 105 people unlimited power and they have become CRUEL TO THEM for the past 176 years. They control the security and they use them against them if they are not satisfy with their actions. The country cannot continue on this path, if we want the country to be PARIS or Johannesburg or Dubai. To get these cities to where they are today, the leaders and citizens made many sacrifices; something we failed to do over the past 176 years. We can start the sacrifices needed to develop the country in 2024, it is never too late. We can hold the 105 persons and demand from them to do the RIGTH THINGS for the development of the country. We elected them and the constitution gives us the RIGTH to remove them if our resources are mismanaged and not used for our HAPPINESS. We do not have to wait for the end of their tenure as prescribed in the constitution.
The Race for Associate Justice and Speaker. For the next two weeks the Liberian people will closely follow/monitor the activities in the House of Senate and House of Representative. We know the Liberian people do not voting power, they gave that right to 103 persons but will closely follow events in the Senate and House of Representatives in the next two weeks. In the House of Senate, the senators will debate and vote for the confirmation or vote to reject Councilor Frank Musa Dean, Jr., who has been nominated by President Weah for the position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia. And in the House of Representatives, they will be electing a new Speaker and Deputy Speaker. The confirmation and election of these officials will determine where we go next as a country in the next six years. We needed to demand from our elected officials what we want from them. If they go contrarily, we can recall them.
The Race for Associate Justice: Who is Frank Musa Dean Jr.? Since the announcement of the nomination of Cllr. Frank Musa Dean, Jr. for the position of Associate Justice of the Supreme of Court of Liberia, Liberians are divided on whether he should be confirmed by the Liberia Senate or rejected by the Senate. Those who are in favor his confirmation say he is an experienced lawyer, he is well educated and is an Associate Professor at the Louise Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University of Liberia. But the question for us; is he good lawyer? This is the million dollar question some Liberians are asking. We know that we do not have voting right in the Senate, but we want to say to our Senators that this nomination is an examination for you. President Weah has tacked you, because for many of you Cllr. Dean is your friend and you have worked together on many legal issues, especially, the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the Senate.
But before you take your vote for confirmation, we would appreciate that you carefully exam the nominee. It may be true that the nominee attended some of the most prestigious Law schools and might have gotten good grades. But does that make him a good lawyer? We are constrained to reflect on a book we read many years ago. The book is entitled “Honor Among Thieves” by Jeffery Archer, written in 1993. The sitting of the story is in Freshman Class of Harvard University Law School. On the first day of class every year the professor of the Freshman Class often entered and addressed the students as follows: “At Harvard we teach you the law and when you are fortunate to graduate, you would know the law but you have the CHOICE TO BE A GOOD LAWYER OR A BAD LAWYER.” Look at the records of the nominee for the past six years. The nominee has served as Minister of Justice for the past six years. As Minister of Justice/Attorney General of the country, he is/was the Chief Legal Adviser to the President of the country and all government Ministries and agencies. The Justice Minister writes legal opinions for the President and Ministries and agencies. We have read Legal Opinions written by Louise Arthur Grimes to President C. D.B. King with reference to the Firestone concession contract in 1926 and many other opinions. We have also read many Legal Opinions written by James A. A. Pierre, when he served as Attorney General of Liberia. Reading those opinions, we do not think Grimes or Pierre who have lasted five minutes after those opinions landed on the President’s desk in today Liberia.
Chief of Security and Chief Prosecutor: The Minister of Justice is the head of the security and the chief prosecutor of the republic. Under his watch, there were multiple murders (Princess Cooper, Albert A. Peters, Giffty R. Lama, and three missing boys, Odell Sherman, the sons of two former Presidents, etc.), and electoral violence in districts 13 & 15 in Montserrado, County, Lofa, Grand Cape Mount, Nimba, Maryland, Grand Gedeh and the list goes on. In some of these areas, perpetrators were arrested, but never prosecuted by this nominee. In Nimba County the Vice Presidential candidate and a sitting Senator received text messages informing them that if they entered a certain district, they would be killed. The text Message was forwarded to the nominee. He did send reinforcement which shows the Vice Presidential Candidate and the Senator that they would be protected. Unfortunately, when they entered the town, a group of men opened gun fire on the Vice Presidential candidate and the Senator’s entourage. People got wounded and three of men were arrested up to writing of this feature nobody has been prosecuted. These perpetrators are walking free in society. This is the man nominated for the position of Associate Justice. Besides the electoral Violence cases in Lofa, Nimba, Maryland and part of Montserrdo all the other cases mentioned above happened more than two years before the Charloe Musu was murdered but this case was given a 4G Trial. The question is, why? Can you remember that one of the prosecutor lawyers (Deputy Minister) was caught visiting the Juror Chamber? When the Judge was informed, he banned him from the trial. Unfortunately, it seems that the jurors were already influenced/ bribed to reach a GUILTY VERDICT. Unfortunately for them there was one Christ like Juror among the twelve. But we want to remember this; the verdict in a Criminal Case must be UNANIMOUSLY DECIDED, meaning every single one of the jurors MUST AGREE with the findings of GUILtY or NOT GUILTY. Even if one Juror DISAGREES with the outcome, there can be NO FINAL JUDGEMENT in the case. Criminal standard of PROOF is beyond REASONABLE DOUBT. If one juror has DOUBT about GUILT of the accused, then there exists a REASONABLE DOUBT, which means the accused must be ACQUITTED. This situation is called a HUNG JUROR and in many cases a New Trial is recommended. We await the final judgment of the Judge. Even if the Circuit Judge gives a final judgment of Guilt, the Supreme Court will not uphold the lower court’s judgment. This case is similar to the Edward Gberie Case. Do you remember the case of the boy that died in the Supermarket on Center Street? There was DOUBT, when the Pathologist from J, F, Kennedy Medical Hospital said that the victim did suffer from EPILEPSY. And when he was asked by the council of the defendants, “Is it possible that one who suffers from epilepsy dies from the disease”? The pathologist answered in the affirmative. This answer of the pathologist created REASONALBE DOUBT; the highest Court acquitted the defendants. The Minister did everything to win this case in the lower Court but deep down, he knew that the government would not win the case in the Supreme Court. Good lawyers do not prosecute cases that they will not win. One GOOD LAWYER in Liberia is Cllr. Tiawan Saye Gongloe, when he served as Solicitor General of the country. He informed the President that in the case against ex-interim President Gyude Bryant, the evidence was not strong enough to get a CONVICTION. The President wanted to prove that she was fighting CORRUPTION. The case went to TRIAL and the result was the government lost the case.
Minister of Justice: We earlier wrote that the Minister of Justice is the legal adviser to the President, Ministries and Agencies of government. It is alleged that the nominee advised the Minister of Mines and Energy that the diamond that was found belonged to the government. This is a misinterpretation of the mineral law of the country. It is true that all resources above and below the land belong to the government, but if the government gives a mining right to a firm or individual the government has sold that right. Any mineral found belong to the firm or individual that has been issued the license does not belong to the government alone. The government gets royalty only. The Minister’s interpretation of the law reminds us of the Treason Trial of Prince Brown (Assistant Minister of Coast Guard) and two colonels (Saydee and Koffa). Mr. Koffa was the father of Cllr. J. Fornita Koffa, who is the current Deputy Speaker and campaigning for the Speakership of the 55th Session of the Legislature. During the trial, Justice Minister Clarence L Simpson, Jr. read a law. Counselor C. Abayomi Cassell asked the Minister to read the paragraph that followed what he read. The Minister refused but the learned counselor read the next paragraph that followed what the Minister had read and it contradicted what the Minister read. This is what the law is; you must read the law fully before you can conclude.
President Weah released a presidential directive on December 18, 2023. The subject was “Measures to safeguard the state resources during the transition period”. Count 4 of the directive reads, “All new employment and service contracts across GOL are hereby suspended. There should be NO Promotions and salary increase during this transition period.” How come President Weah reneged on his December18, 2023 Presidential Directive? Something is wrong. Maybe the President was ill-advised by the Justice Minister and the Legal Advisers. What might have influenced the President’s decision? This is the million dollar question that we all need to answer. And by looking at the timing, we can easily deduce. Associate Justice Nagbe wrote for voluntary retirement and less than 48 hours the nomination was made. Maybe, the Justice Minister told the President that he can better protect the President on the Bench because all cases end at the Supreme Court and with Boakai’s Administration keen on AUDTING his administration, he needs someone like him on the Bench. Because if this is not the case, the President would not have nominated him. He would have left the vacancy to be filled by the incoming President similar to what he did by vetoing the Fouani Incentive Agreement. If you follow the nomination, immediately after the Justice Minister’s nomination was announced, it is alleged that he visited the Capitol Building and began LOBBYING with Senators and calling those who were there. According to one of the senators, he called the Senator and asked him why the vacancy would be filled by the incoming President, since we are only three weeks to the inauguration. The Minister’s answer was according to this senator. “it is the constitutional responsibility of the President.” But then we need to ask, is it the RIGHT THING FOR THE PRESIDNET TO DO? What may be constitutional may not always be the RIGHT thing to do? In many Democratic SOCITIES, when a vacancy occurs in an ELECTION YEAR, particularly Life Time position or Tenure position, the incumbent President does not fill the vacancy, he or she leaves it to be filled by the incoming President. Here again the Minister MIGHT HAVE ILL-ADVISED the President, using the constitution not only that the President was under huge pressure to announce the nomination.
We believe that nominee is a BAD LAWYER and bad lawyers do not belong on the Supreme Court Bench. The judiciary already has a BAD REPUTATION. You remember that the American Ambassador and even the former Chef Justice told Liberians that the Judiciary was CORRUPT and confirming the current nominee by the senators would be telling the world and partners that we do not care and we reward corrupt people or criminals. It is one thing for the people to elect criminals but it is BAD for the Senators to confirm criminals and corrupt people to such a high position. Remember that the Judiciary is the constitutional hope that the citizens of any country can look for help when their rights are jeopardized. From the citizens’ point of view, the judiciary is the most important organ of the government because it acts as their protector against the possible excesses of the Legislature and Executive. It plays the role of guardian/protector of the constitution and the fundamental rights of the people, and this makes it more respectable than the other two organs of a democratic government.
If the people have faith in the judiciary of their government, they will have faith in the quality, integrity and efficiency of their government. If the Senators confirm the nominee, this will create a serious problem for the Boakai Administration because the Liberian people will not have FAITH in the government.
It is alleged that the Chief Justice ordered the Marshall of the Supreme Court not to carry out the mandate of Justice in Chamber. If this is the case, our country is it means that our justice system is worrisome, because this act of the Chief Justice violate Canon of the Supreme Court of the country. Under the Justice presiding in Chamber the principle reads: “At all times, in term and out of term, there shall be a Justice presiding in the Chambers of the Supreme Court, who shall be designated by the Chief Court in regular rotation from among the Associate Justices, and NO such Associate Justice designated shall delegate his or her POWER to another. The Justice presides in Chambers of the Supreme Court to issue various writs; such as Mandamus, Prohibition, Quo Warranto and others remedial writs and processes. The POWER to issue such writs and remedial processes are exclusively to the Justice in CHAMBER”. The action of the Chief Justice if it true has NO LEGAL BEARING. This action tells us that if the Justice Minister is confirmed, the court would be Weah’s Court and he will gets anything he wants from the court. This action of the Chief Justice is a signal to all of us what the Court will be like if the nominee is confirmed. The little FAITH the citizens have in the court would eroded. Do JUSTICE TO US; deny this nominee if you truly want the government to FIGHT CORRUPTION and put criminals behind bar.
This is the EXAM to the 29 Senators and they need to pass it.
The Race for the Speaker: This paper is for the members of the House of Representatives. Come January 15, 2023, the members of the House of Representatives will be electing their Speaker and Deputy Speaker. Currently, two names are surfacing for the speakership and this is where we want to focus for this feature. We do not have voting right but we are stakeholders, because the development of this country heavily depends on who are elected. The Speaker is the third high ranking government official. He is third in succession to the Presidency and this is very important. Let us consider that anything is possible in this country.
Now, what are the issues? One of the candidates once said, “Even if we have to dine with the DEVIL to develop this country, we will do same.” This quote is from a debate during the RATIFICATION of the ETON Finance PTE Ltd-US$536.40 Million and the EBOMA Finance-US$430 Million agreements totaling the sum of US$966.4 Million for the Coastal Highway of 444 kilometers. The Coastal Highway is the road corridor that covers seven counties (Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru, Maryland, Sinoe, RiverGee, Rivrcess and Grand Bassa). With the argument for construction of the road corridor for the seven counties, the agreements were ratified. The construction of the Coastal Highway should have started in 2020, unfortunately Liberians living in these counties are still waiting to see the first yellow machine on the road. They continue to suffer the hardship of travelling from one county to the next. They spend weeks on the road if they want to go the country’s capital. This is what happens if you dine with the SATAN. The ETON and EBOMA Agreements were enough to cover the cost of all the road corridors (COASTAL HIGHWAY) however the same Legislature ratified another agreement (ECOWAS Investment and Development Bank-EBID) of US$100 Million for the same Coastal Highway covering 96.6 kilometers from Sass Town, Grand Kru to Greenville, Sinoe. The EBID Financing Agreement would have become effective in 2019 and the completion of the 96.6 kilometers of road completed in 2021. We are yet to see active construction work on the road. The Liberian People want to know what happened to the US$100 million of the EBID Loan. We know the ETON and EBOMA Load Agreements were revisited and reversed. Was the EBID Agreement revisited by the Legislature? If not, what happened to the fund? Both candidates need to address this question but more particularly the candidate who is serving in leadership of the HOUSE of Representatives.
Interestingly, did Liberia need a load for the Coastal Highway? The answer to this question is a BIG NO because according to Reuter News Agency, on August 9, 2015 a joint Press Conference was held in Monrovia with the Foreign Ministers of Liberia and China (Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan and Wang Yil). At that press conference, Liberians were informed that the Chinese government had agreed to construct a NEW COASTAL HIGHWAY and construct two overhead by-passes, one at the Ministerial Complex and the other at the ELWA Junction. Some of you were members of Legislature or legal adviser to the President and the government in 2015 and later became members of the Legislature. Why you did not follow-up on the Chinese commitments? Maybe you did not because there was NO 10% INCENTIVE for you. It seems that the Liberian LAWMAKERS prefer Load Agreement than Grants.
We call upon the incoming government to immediately commence discussion with the Chinese Ambassador near Monrovia on the 2015 commitments (Coaster Highway and the two overhead passes). There were commitments from other partners that the new administration needs to follow-up on. One such is the Monrovia Urban Sanitation infrastructure Project (P165877), US$37.0 Million. This was a commitment from the World Bank, and the World Bank communicated to us on November 29, 2017 that she had secured US$20 Million for phase one of the project. This project is very important for the inhabitants of Monrovia. The Weah Administration SQUANDERED the opportunity because of the leadership she had at all level particularly in the Executive and Legislature. We pray that the 55th Legislature do not repeat the error of the past by giving leadership to those who squandered opportunities. We call upon the Representatives of the following counties (RiverGee, Rivercess, Sinoe, Maryland, Grand GEDEH, Grand Kru, Grand Bassa, Gblapolu, Bomi, Lofa, Nimba, Bassa and Bomi) to rally and elect a progressive Speaker not someone who is willing to dine with the Devil. All the people in these counties listed above people need development, be it good paved roads, modern schools, modern health facilities, water systems etc. Someone who is willing to dine with SATAN will not advocate for these things. We know that there are many good lawmakers that QUALIFY to be SPEAKER; encourage them to participate. Who knows you just get someone that might find and elect someone that is honest, innovative and would help to change the political landscape of the country. Many of you remember the late C. Cecil Dennis, Jr. He was little known before RALLY TIME, when the late President Tolbert appointed him CHAIRMAN of RALLY TIME. After successfully chairing RALLY TIME, the late President appointed him Minister of Foreign Affairs. Today he is considered one of the best Foreign Ministers of Liberia. There were many talents in the House, find the like of C. Cecil Dennis, Jr. to be your speaker.
One of the candidates is self-fished, greedy and envious. This candidate is alleged to behind the downfall of Speaker Chamber in the last October 10, 2023 elections. He often shrewdly used his intimacy to political leaders for his self-gains. For such a man, he believes in me, me, me, and me and nobody else does desire the Speakership with Joseph N. Boakai as President. Such individual is very dangerous. He is the Marcus Junius Brutus in the Weah Government. We do need Brutuses in the Boaikai Administration. This man should be far away from the leadership of the Boakai Administration. Look at it this way, having a President that is spotless and a Speaker that is tainted, can they work together to lift the people of the country out of poverty? This is the million dollar question. Think about the conditions of your people. Please do not be tummy driven. Think about the country, a country that is very rich yet the people have lived in poverty after 178 years and this will continue if those that dine with the Devil are elected to leadership of the House. Vote a candidate that will help the new President change the narrative of the country for better.
IF YOU LOVE LIBERIA, THINK LIBERIA AND DEVELOP LIBERIA AND REMOVE YOUR PEOPLE FROM POVERTY BY VOTING WISELY.