“Stay Out of ‘Code of Conduct’ Debate”

-Urey tells Sawyer

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Benoni Urey and Amos Sawyer

The political leader of All Liberia Party (ALP), Benoni Urey, has objected to the involvement of Dr. Amos Sawyer, chairman of the Governance Commission (GC), in the ongoing debate on the controversial Code of Conduct (CoC).

Urey said the ALP does not want Sawyer’s expert opinion on the CoC because he is the architect of the Code of Conduct and the 1986 Constitution and therefore he should stay out of the dispute.

Urey said Dr. Sawyer, who has called on the government to relax the contentious aspect of the CoC that received endorsement from the Supreme Court, has not always been constructive for the country.

At the ALP’s headquarters over the weekend, Urey said, “The law is the law and let Sawyer and his proponents stay away from what the highest court of the land has already decided; let the opinion of the court be respected.”

Urey said that Dr. Sawyer and his GC need to take themselves out of the debate because the CoC originated from that institution. “Let Sawyer remove his hands from this thing. It is a law and must be implemented to the letter. Dr. Sawyer must not use his influence to manipulate the process.

“It was this same Sawyer who started this Code of Conduct thing in 1979 accusing President Tolbert of nepotism, corruption, and bad governance as well as speaking strongly against Tolbert’s regime. But similar things are happening in this government and Sawyer is dancing to Ellen’s tune. He is not speaking anymore against those ugly vices in this government,” Urey chided.

Sawyer recently recommended that Part V. Sections 5.1 and 5.2 of the CoC be considered “inapplicable” to the 2017 Presidential and Legislative elections.

Part V. Sections 5.1 and 5.2 of the CoC seeks to exclude from contesting the upcoming elections any presidential appointees who did not resign from their respective positions two to three years ahead of declaring their intention to run.

At the heart of the controversy are the political leaders of the Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE), Dr. Mills Jones; the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Mr. Alexander Cummings; and former Managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), Mr. Harrison Karnwea, now vice standard bearer of the Liberty Party.

The Commission also recommended that there must be a pronouncement declaring the 10-year residency requirement for presidential hopefuls inapplicable.

Both were part of several recommendations the Commission made to the Supreme Court of Liberia and the National Elections Commission (NEC) in its 2016 Annual Report released recently on the 2017 elections.

The GC, in its report, also suggested that the doubts about the provision as it was under challenge has a disruptive effect in its enforcement; and therefore, the provision should be considered inapplicable to the 2017 Presidential and Legislative Elections in the same manner the 10-year constitutional provision was considered inapplicable to the 2005 and 2011 elections.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Dr Sawyer, when will we give power to our laws to work for everyone. We relaxed the constitution during the self inflicted war to accommodate warlords and blue collar rebels.They have been ruling Liberia for 12 years and counting with more less quality of life for the ppl unfortunately.We can not cont’d to reward bad behaviors and it’s time now we, the ppl, give power to our laws to work for the better common good of Liberia

  2. It is very easy to see why Mr. Urey would want such a law upheld.He believes that for him , and other like him, who lack any vision for developing Liberia, it is an advantage to eliminate the more qualify and vision oriented candidates. Mr. Urey should know that this is an unjust law. Any law that takes away or restricts certain citizens rights from running for office, because they were patriotic in serving when call upon to serve, is unjust. The supreme court was wrong in their decision and the legislature should pass a law to remedy this gross injustice to a group of Liberians.

    • Lewis please be a patriotic Liberian and support our laws in this coming election. At least let us see and feel how it is like when the law take its course. Laws should not only be upheld for you and I. Let the elites feel it too.

  3. Finally, someone in or outside The Republic of Liberia has found the nerves to identify the chief architect of the Liberian civil war… Amos Claudius Sawyer!

    Liberians keep blaming Samuel K. Doe for killing the 13 government officials — let me remind you that Amos Claudius Sawyer was Senior Advisers to Msgt. Samuel K. Doe and the so-called People’s Redemption Council military junta when the 13 officials of government were executed — Sawyer has the blood of those people on his hands. Yes, I said it and I shall never retract this statement.

    Since April 12, 1980 Amos C. Sawyer has been a member of every EVIL Liberian government in Monrovia!
    In fact, in my opinion; it’s very fair to say Amos Sawyer has been ruling Liberia since the assassination of President William R. Tolbert Jr.

    Forget about the made-up story about 17 un-inlisted soldiers killing Tolbert. Interestingly, Sawyer is one of few Liberian political puppets who actually know the truth about Who Kill WRT Jr.

    The others know themselves and, some of us know them BUT, time will tell and judgement day will surely come.

  4. I sincerely believe in the wisdom of the nation’s highest decision making body. To ignore section 5 of the code of conduct and invalidate a portion of our organic law is a gross disregard and an extreme bad precedence for the rule of law. Let the bitter pills be swallowed by whomsoever and let the laws take it course.

  5. It is interesting that Mr. Benoni Urey has certainly become a supporter of issues affecting the lives of ordinary Liberians. For decades, he and his warlord pal Charles Taylor caused havoc on the Liberian people completely destroying every fabric of Liberia society. It is cleared he does not want the so-called “CoC” relaxed because if it does, the likes of him stand no chance in the upcoming elections. The bad news for Urey and the likes of him who support this draconian code is that the so-called CoC will be discarded and the Liberian people will have the opportunities to elect who they want. The future for circumventing the political, social, and economic landscapes of Liberia by Urey and the likes of him are over. Today is the dawn of a new and modern Liberia. The relics of the older like Urey and the likes have no place.

  6. Is Liberia changing for the worse or for the better? Too many times we have seen laws made and implemented just for the sake of political expediency rather than for the sake of national unity, economic progress and social equality.

    The revised constitution of 1986 is a typical example when Liberians had the chance of revisiting outdated Laws: like that of citizenship, presidential and legislative term limits. That opportunity was squandered. Instead, we kept intact outdated racist law prohibiting people of non-negro descent from becoming Liberian citizens (even if they were born in Liberia); we prohibited Liberians from obtaining dual citizenships. The originators (Dr. Sawyer, Dr. Kesselly and others) of the revised constitution succumbed to Doe’s military might in extending the duration of presidential and legislators’ term limits…..detrimental to economic and political competition.

    As our neighbors (Ivory Coast, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, etc…) see it fit to develop their countries, they have extended their citizenships to their fellow countrymen and women living in the diaspora….regardless of their skin color or how long they have lived abroad. A wholesome functioning society in this modern day era cannot be accomplished by creating obstructive barriers to economic success like we have in Liberia’s constitution and the self-centered Code of Conducts. Yes indeed, countries need reasonable code of conducts that are ethical and fair for all.

    Unreasonable Laws that are implemented just political convenience will always not pass the test of time: because it only creates chaos, confusion, polarization, and deprive people who have the knowledge, technical know-how and experience from contributing to the success of Liberia. There are too many people of non-negro descent that were born in Liberia, denied Liberian citizenship, or dual citizenship, who are now citizens of the world serving in many useful capacities. The brain- drain will continue in Liberia if we do not change our outdated laws to face present day reality.

    Liberia wants to develop but Liberia refuses do what it takes to develop!!!!!!!

    • There is nothing wrong with the dual nationality except the way we Liberians want to do. This no issue in Guinea cote d’ivoire, ghana, etc. In Liberia, the dualnationality project seems to be a project of excuse to keep the country lagged behind NOT BECAUSE OF REFUSAL to anti-dual nationality law. Lets see the clear way forward. I would suggest the following: 1. a census of all Liberians in Us, Europe, Australia must be conducted, 2. All Liberians working outside of the country should return at least 1% of the gross annual income as income tax to the country, 3. all Liberians mainly in Us, Europe, Canada and Australia should be given voter card to vote for presidential legislative candidates, 4. All Liberians abroad should return social security tax to NASSCORP, so that when they are old, they return and benefit and finally, All Liberians to benefit from the dual nationality project should sign legal agreeing to be prosecuted and face trial at home should one commits crime and runaway to heaven(US, EUROPE, AUSTRALIA OR CANADA).Stop and ask yourselves, who benefited from the senior executive service program and the TOKTEN program in after 2005, our diaspora brothers and sisters, even bus driver from new York became transport company manager.

  7. For those who seek the presidency in Liberia, they must have at least some historical knowledge of the movement of the Liberian society; it seems Urey does not! First of all, if he had any recollection to events in Liberia, he would be honest with the Liberian people and inform them of “Draft Constitution” that was a construct of the constitution commission that Sawyer headed; and the “Revised Draft Constitution” that emanated from the Gbarnga conference that was headed by Kesselley. The history is clear of the events that prevailed during the Gbarnga conference and how members of the constitution commission headed by Sawyer were barred from traveling to Gbarnga and what we have today as a constitution is extremely different from what was in the “Draft Constitution,” especially when it came to tenure of the president and members of the legislature. Let the students of history at the University of Liberia provide some perspective to Urey and his ill-informed bunch regarding the two distinct documents.

    On the other hand, we have a constitution which is the organic law of the land and any other government policies of laws cannot contravene the constitution, for they will be deemed illegal and unconstitutional. In this case, those who find the code in violation of their constitutional rights have the right to seek remedy from the courts who are statutorily impaneled to interpret the constitution in its strictness and spirit. It seems, however, that Urey does not seem to understand which trumps the other and in the light of his dire ineptitude is looking for scapegoats. This only shows how out of touch Urey is and will be if the Liberian voters exercise their franchise in his favor!! In examining the issues as they relate to this elections, it is clear that what Sawyer and others seem to be seeking is a peaceful and inclusive electoral process that brings the population of Liberia instead of dividing the society as characteristics of any contest. It is out of fear and the embarrassment of losing an election in a shameful way, and desperation that Urey is grasping for straws!!

    • Sam Ajavon. You are right that those who feel aggrieved by the Code of Conduct have the right to question its constitutionality in the Court of Law. That’s the right thing to do. Are the arrows directed at Dr. Swayer not justified, in view of the fact that outside the exploration of legal remedies available to those who may be aggrieved by the Code of Conduct, Dr. Sawyer is attempting to place his tumb on the scale by recommending, outside of the law, that provisions that affect potential aspirants be set aside? Dr. Sawyer is swiftly undermining the respect he has earned in his several years of service to his country and sacrifice, by placing himself on the wrong side of history. We had this conversation before. For Liberia to stand, it does not need a babysitter. Whomever does not meet the requirement of existing law should not be allowed to contest the elections. Anyone who wishes to be President should uphold the law as an expression of their first duty as a citizen. To seek to abbrogate the law becasue it suits your current purpose is a sure way to tell the Liberian people what you plan do when you are elected to office. Sam Ajavon. Stop supporting Dr. Sawyer when he makes a bad move. You are a very important part of the solution for your country.

      • Cyrus,
        It befuddles me that many have still not given any objective scrutiny to what Sawyer is seeking for our country. First of all, I know Dr. Sawyer and every fiber of this man means well for Liberia. He’s not seeking any political office but is making every attempt to sustain the peace and strengthen our democratic institutions and processes. Let me ask you, Cyrus, would it not be a good thing to have an intervention outside of the courts where all can amicably agree on a simple matter, rather than going through the rigors of a legal imbroglio so as to avoid chaos and conflict, being fully cognizant about the limitation of time given for the up-coming elections? What is wrong with dialogue that is intended to ameliorate the imminence of conflict, in order to sustain the peace? Dr. Sawyer is not seeking to abrogate the law; essentially he is exposing the shortcoming of the law and proposing an amicable way to traverse this in order to have tranquil elections. I don’t see the difficulty of understanding this! I think many will need to take some time to listen and engage with Dr. Sawyer to understand the subtleties of what he is proposing for perspicacity. What is disheartening is how many in the political arena are taking advantage of the limitations of the electorates to cast aspersion and misunderstanding for their personal gains and individual aggrandizement. So, no, I differ with your inference that Sawyer is “undermining the respect he has earned”, and “placing himself on the wrong side of history.” Also, thanks for recognizing my role in the movement of our common patrimony.

  8. When I hear Liberians arguing that the “Code of Conduct” is not a fair law, I kind of wonder which law in the world is ever fair? If our constitution provides that only Liberians that have reached the age of 35 years and above and owe a property value of LD25,000.00 is eligible to contest the presidency, then it means that some Liberians, no matter their birth rights as legitimate citizens and age, can’t just contest for the presidency of Liberia without fulfilling certain requirements. So then why should we honor and regard a law of such magnitude that disenfranchises a certain group of Liberians because they don’t have a property value of such worth? If the “Code of Conduct” is unfair on the basis that it disenfranchises some Liberians then it means the constitution too disenfranchises some Liberians and therefore the both laws are in error and need to be repealed immediately. Until then we must abide by the laws of our country including the decisions of the “Supreme Court”. Anything other than that we will be fermenting chaos at the detriment of ourselves and the very country that we claim to love and cherish. As a matter of fact, no Liberian is more important than other Liberians. If the law demands that certain Liberians who are working or have been working in government must fulfill certain provisions set out in the “Code of Conduct” and the “Supreme Court” agrees, then those Liberians are under the moral duty to comply. Or else they will not be allowed to participate in the 2017 elections.

  9. Now here we go with great misunderstanding of the inherent reason this law must be repeal. The law, my fellow Liberians, is constitutional, but unjust. Yes, constitutional because the legislature passed it and the president signed it. It is however, unjust, because it prohibits individuals who were in the service of their country, serving at the request of the present, from exercising their “rights” to contest elections and again, serve their fellow citizens. It is unjust because of the immorality of the consequences of patriotic service. Any law that punishes citizens for serving , while it maybe constitutional, is unjust and immoral. I call upon leaders in the legislature to stand up and enact a law that will repeal this unjust law. I call on the Liberian people to demand of their elected representatives to get to work now in a special session. and repeal this law NOW.

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