By Tita G. Tabolo, UL Mass Communication Department
In the wake of the controversial impeachment proceedings of Justice Kabineh Ja’neh by some members of the 54th National Legislature, the Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia (EFFL) has called on the United States, African Union, the United Nations, International Justice Group and the European Union to closely monitor Liberia as signs of bad governance have resurfaced to undermine the country’s democracy.
Addressing a news conference in Monrovia on February 18, EFFL’s spokesman Emmanuel Gonquio said while dictatorship is gradually being nurtured in the government, they are troubled by the immature political occurrences in Liberia.
He said as the Liberian public witnesses the unfolding development in the ongoing impeachment proceedings against Justice Ja’neh, it is incumbent upon every well-meaning Liberian to wake up and rescue the judicial system from unwarranted manipulations, and interference designed to undermine the judiciary.
He urged members of the Upper House, saying, “Let it be known that any senator who will be involved in an unorthodox and politically motivated impeachment trial will be issued a vote of no-confidence.”
The vote of no-confidence, which he said is expected to be issued on 28 February, at the seat of the National Legislature, will serve as a warning to other lawmakers that they may be removed when they work contrarily to the expectation of the people.
Mr. Gonquio described the current impeachment trial before the 54th National Legislature as politically motivated and it has the ability to undermine the integrity of the country’s judicial system.
“The illegal impeachment proceedings and voting exercise demonstrated by a pocket of members of the House of Representatives has no support from EFFL,” he said.
He noted that the international community and donors consider good governance and the rule of law as prerequisites for aid. Therefore, he said, it is important that the justice system should never be controlled by the Executive or any branch of the government.
He claimed that the intent of impeaching Justice Ja’neh is because the government is planning to rig both 2020 and 2023 elections. According to him, the administrative structure of the bench clearly signals that Justice Ja’neh will be in chambers by 2020 and 2023. Therefore, the fear of Weah government is that Justice Ja’neh may resist any attempt for the government to rig elections in 2020 and 2023.
“We want to inform the Liberian people and the international community that, as soon as possible, EFFL will rally citizens and organizations for the purpose of protecting and saving the Judiciary and maintaining the peace and democracy of Liberia,” he said.
According to him, during the protest, which is honored by Article 1 of the Liberian Constitution, “We will issue a vote of no confidence in those Senators who are involved with the removal of Justice Ja’neh.”
Meanwhile, he disclosed that plans are currently underway for EFFL in collaboration with other civil society organizations, youth groups and other patriotic citizens to stage a mass protest. According to him, the protest is intended to put a halt to the illegal proceedings and to draw the attention of the international community about the state of the nation.
Ahead of the protest, which is expected to take place on Thursday, February 28, the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police, Patrick Sudue, has invited the EFFL leadership to a meeting, scheduled for today, February 27, “to discuss the security aspect of the planned protest/demonstration in maintaining the peace for the benefit of all.”
Also invited to the meeting with the police and EFFL are civil institutions and stakeholders including the Inter-Religious Council, Women in Peace-building Network (WIPNET), and the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC). Institutions invited to serve as observers at th meeting include ECOWAS, the African Union (AU), the European Union and the United Nations (UN).