-Supreme Court Communications Director, Nmah
The Judiciary Branch of Government, like the Executive and the Legislature in recent days, has referred to the U.S. State Department’s human rights report on Liberia implicating the third branch of government of corruption and unethical practices as a “collection of perceptions.”
Attorney Daryl Ambrose Nmah, the head of Communications and Public Affairs at the Supreme Court of Liberia, said it is not what any American thinks about Liberia matters most, but the beliefs Liberians themselves have about their own country and its institutions.
Nmah made the remarks recently when he appeared on the Super Morning Show (SMS) at the State-run ELBC, an institution he once managed as Director-General.
While on the radio, Nmah said perceptions can be for the good or the bad reasons, but in most cases, perceptions from Liberia, which seem to be informing many others abroad, are far from the truth.
In the State Department’s report, it is alleged that the Liberian justice system, particularly the courts, are not doing well to help uphold the rule of law and by extension, stop shielding possible criminals of both local and international laws.
“Two ways people get perceptions. They either get them by direct interactions with people or based on speculations.
“I came to know about how these kinds of reports are written when I first got at the Supreme Court in 2015. Newspapers publications, what people say regularly in the public or on radio are usually the sources from which these reports are written,” the Liberian Supreme Court’s Communication Director said.
“Before, I thought the U.S. State Department or a particular public official assigns certain persons to collect the first-hand facts, but I became disappointed when I got to know that it is not the case.
“Our own fellow citizens post many things on social media, even if they do not have the facts and some newspapers, too, run with all kinds of headlines, sometimes hardly supported by facts. These are what those who write these reports collect and use for the purpose and wish to serve,” Nmah alleged.
He said there are challenges everywhere because all institutions, including the Judiciary are managed by human beings.
“What I have so far researched and I think is true is that people having confidence in the court’s matters. When ordinary people, in particular, know their rights and privileges and are always not short of courage to test the legal process, it is always good. That dispels the unnecessary perceptions,” he said.
According to Nmah, the actions of many people, mainly one that has to do with feeding the world with false information, is responsible for investors not coming to Liberia.
“Foreign investors don’t come to your country and take interest in doing business simply because of the number of elections a politician wins, but the independence and credibility of the justice system, particularly, the courts,” Nmah said.
He added that there are people who are educated (literate by credentials) but do not know their rights and privileges and as such, they live telling lies.
“Not many of them even read on issues. Most of them only read headlines in newspapers but never continue in order to understand what a particular story is about and the characters associated with it,” he noted further.
Nmah said it is sad that the Liberian society is operating on gossips, instead truth.
He pointed out that reform is necessary but it takes time to get it done at any level of societal operation.
“Even in court, when certain people lose cases, they say their opponents won because they had too much money. It is a wrong perception. But again, they have to decide to be good and responsible citizens who love and care about truth-telling,” he further added.
Nmah added: “There is truth that some members of the judiciary continue to bring the system to public disrepute by their unethical actions, but again, that is not enough to indict a whole system.
“They are individuals and whenever one comes in conflict with the law, he or she is brought before the same law to exonerate himself or herself.”