A meeting to resolve the impasse between some members of the First and Third Branches of the government has been scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, August 19, the Daily Observer has gathered. The expected meeting came about following days of wrangling about a plan by some members of the legislature to impeach three of the five justices of the Supreme Court. It will be the first time since the rigmarole started to discuss the way forward.
Their meeting comes 13 days after the legislature began the impeachment proceedings against Associate Justices Philip A. Z. Banks, Kabineh Ja’neh and Jamesetta Howard-Wolokollie. Judiciary Department of Public Information, which confirmed the planned closed door meeting yesterday, said the meeting became necessary through the initiative of several international and nationals organizations including the National Traditional Council of Liberia (NTCL). Attorney Ambrose Nmah, the public information director, made the disclosure immediately after the chairman of the NTCL, Chief Zanzan Karwor, met behind closed-door with Chief Justice Francis Saye Korkpor, although other institutions like the Interfaith Religious Council had earlier met with the Chief Justice for similar reasons.
Nmah said, “Chief Karwor’s visit was intended to discuss with the justices the place and time for the meeting, and it has agreed that they are going to meet on Friday at a local resort in Monrovia by 2 p.m.” Nmah said the parties will have a “wide-range discussion” about problems in their relationship, but also about where the justices and lawmakers have common interest than the impeachment. With the scheduled meeting, it remains unclear as to whether or not the lawmakers, who have been consistent in their fight to impeach the justices on August 30, will agree with the outcome of the meeting.
The saga started when some members of the House of Representatives, who described themselves as “majority block,” joined by few members of the Senate wrote a complaint to the Chief Justice inviting Associate Justices Banks, Kabineh Ja’neh and Jamesetta Howard-Wolokollie to attend a hearing to see whether there are grounds to impeach them. The lawmakers alleged that their action is due to the justices’ violation of their oath of office by engaging in misconduct and the inability to perform their functions, which they said is based on the justices’ judgment (ruling) that reversed the National Elections Commission’s rejection of two vice presidential candidates, Harrison Karnwea of the Liberty Party and Jeremiah C. Sulunteh of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), from contesting the upcoming elections for violating the Code of Conduct. The two did not resign their government positions two years prior to their intention to contest the elections.
However, the accused justices had refused to honor the communication from the lawmakers.