President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Monday delivered her farewell address during the opening of the October 2017 Term of the Supreme Court, saying that she allowed herself to take what she considered as “political bullets.”
Although she did not give further explanation about what she described as “political bullets” she informed her audience “I took the bullets for many of you in this room; and I did so, in the interest of peace.”
Besides, the President cautioned the justices of the Supreme Court to do everything possible to make the country take pride in their opinions (judgments) whenever they are confronted with electoral related matters.
“As I give my farewell message and with the historical elections before us, I make my final appeal to you, judges of Liberia’s highest judicial body to please make our country proud,” President Sirleaf said, adding, “Please stay united in the dispensation of justice and be an institution that is beyond reproach, while doing the people’s business.”
“Our country’s democracy can only be sustained through you and even each and every one of you and the role each of you will play,” Sirleaf emphasized.
She told the Supreme Court judges that it is only by delivering a transparent and fair justice that the country can sustain its democracy.
“Be guided as you make a critical decision that will sustain the lasting peace for our dear country, as we go to the polls to elect my successor,” the president said.
Madam Sirleaf said she had assured Liberians about her desire to tackle the country’s long-standing issue on integrity, but admitted that integrity was a challenge for her administration, and behavior change still remains a challenge for her government and the judiciary and legislature.
“With your cooperation together we try to strengthen our democratic institution so that we guarantee the peace and not subjected to the whim of anyone or group of people,” Sirleaf noted.
She, meanwhile, lauded the justices for their cooperation with the executive branch. “I thank you for your courtesy and cooperation you extended to me during the years. My government inherited a failed state and in the past 11 plus years working with you and with your full cooperation we managed to strengthen our democratic system,” Sirleaf noted.
Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, meanwhile, recognized the numerous contributions President Sirleaf’s administration accorded the judiciary.
“Under her administration, the judiciary is recognized and accorded its proper place as one of the separate, coordinate and co-equal branches of the government, equal in importance to the executive and legislative,” Justice Korkpor noted.
The Chief Justice also said President Sirleaf kept her promise to seek, empower and build the capacity of the judiciary, “as a result conditions have improved within the judiciary; more courthouses were built across the country to address the infrastructure need that has ensured greater access to justice in the country.