No Liberian is more Liberian than the others. Mitigating cultural dishonesty and miseducation in Liberia requires a democratic solution, a collective effort where citizens proffer and propound diverse constructive views for the betterment of the society. That said, I am having my say…
By Kadiker Rex Dahn, MA, M.Ed, PhD
Introduction The questionable impeachment proceedings of Justice Kabineh Ja’neh are exposing the judgments of individuals whom we may have otherwise had different opinion about. Whenever there are legal issues that cannot be handled by the lower courts, the Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice is the final arbiter. It is assumed that the Chief Justice and the High Court as well as the lower courts in the Republic will dispense justice without fear or favor. On the other hand, if a member of the court actions or inactions of judicial matter becomes questionable as if the member of that court is afraid of being harm or losing a tenure position and therefore appears to compromise the rule of law, such action if true, undermines the independence, neutrality and separation of powers embedded in the Liberian Constitution.
I am disturbed and taken aback of a potential feud between Chief Justice Korkpor and Associate Justice Ja’neh as reported in the Daily Observer newspaper on December 5, 2018, Vol.18 NO. 231, under the caption: “Korkpor-Ja’neh Relationship Turning Sour?” This article will attempt to argue that if there is a carefully crafted, conspiracy and plot by anyone to remove Justice Ja’neh in this public manner, I maintain: Chief Justice Korkpor, BE VERY, VERY CAREFUL AND VIGILANT BECAUSE TOWN TRAP IS NOT FOR RAT ALONE.
The Daily Observer’s narrative on the relationship between the two men from Nimba County clearly indicated that there is an underneath friction between the two. I do not intend at this point in time as a prominent citizen of Nimba County to render judgment as to the rightness or wrongness of any of the two. The issue at hand is national, and may equally so set a legal precedent. However, my attention is drawn to the egregious disrespect shown to the Supreme Court when that legal supreme body empowered by the Constitution instructed House Speaker Bhofal Chamber and others to appear before that body, and desist from any proceedings about Ja’neh’s impeachment pending the ruling of the Justice’s complaint of a constitutional violation by the full bench of the Supreme Court.”
With no regard to the Court, Speaker Chambers and the Lower House told the Supreme Court to, “vacate the purported stay order and avoid embarrassment.” With such public disrespect and challenge, Chief Justice Korkpor bowed and submitted instead of using the rule of law enshrined in the Organic Law of the country to fight back. The action of the Chief Justice undermined the Judicial Branch of which he is the head. The Chief Justice’s action may equally frighten potential investors, because if the Chief Justice and the rule of law can be publicly challenged and disrespected, and still submit to pressure, how could the Court protect foreign nationals within the scope of the law? Better still, how could the Chief Justice and the Court stand against injustices? The Chief Justice’s action or inaction maybe a legal disaster, and according to Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe may, “overthrow the rule of law… because he will be acting against himself.”
One must ask what is it that the Chief Justice is wanting at the expense of the rule of law? Better still, is there anything that the Chief Justice has received or been promised in exchange for the death of rule of law? What a judicial legacy where the Executive and Legislative branches of government appear to have an absolute power over the Judiciary? Even if there is an internal disagreement between Chief Justice Korkpor and Justice Ja’neh does it warrant sacrificing the rule of law which is foundational to a genuine democratic form of government? Where, Honorable Chief Justice, do you want the Liberian judicial system to be among nations of the world?
The very building the Supreme Court is housed is enshrined on the wall, “LET JUSTICE BE DONE TO ALL.” Honorable Chief Justice, we wonder how justice will be done in the legal confine of the law when the Supreme Court you head is publicly challenged and disrespected and you who should be the chief defender sides with those who undermines the authority of the Supreme Court? We ask, is the Temple of Justice where the Supreme Court you head is housed actually intended for justice or is it for injustice and manipulations?
Our country is at the brink of lawlessness because those who make the law and interpret the law, actions or in actions seem to be incongruous with their given mandate. Honorable Chief Justice, rather than in the words of Cllr. Gongloe “conspiring to overthrow the rule of law” wouldn’t it be prudent to protect and save the rule of law by resigning since the Supreme Court under your supervision is besieged by claim of manipulations? ECOWAS, AU, UN and Western Countries are equally watching and should Justice Ja’neh be removed under your watch and approbation with full view of constitutional violation of the Supreme Court’s mandate, your legacy will be tainted.
Honorable Chief Justice, I would like for you to be very careful and vigilant because town trap is not for rat alone. Be as it may, the town trap set for Justice Ja’neh has already been set. Again, town trap as we say in Liberia is not for rat alone and who knows those who set the trap and those who helped to set the trap for Justice Ja’neh may themselves be caught in the same trap. Time will tell!
About the author: Kadiker Rex Dahn holds two Masters and a PhD in Historical, Philosophical and Social Foundations of Education from the University of Oklahoma. He formerly served as a Deputy Minister of Education and Deputy Director General, National Commission on Higher Education. He is a member of the North America Scholar consortium, membership with the highest honor. Contact: [email protected]