River Gee Senator Conmany Wesseh was quoted by the New Dawn newspaper as saying that any delay in the ongoing investigations at NEC which, if not resolved within thirty (30) days, could run the country into a democratic assault and lead to President Sirleaf holding on to power until the elections are held.
This preposterous and erroneous assertion is not only grossly misleading but equally disingenuous because Conmany Wesseh is well aware that such is ultra vires (“Beyond the powers”). Why? Because it describes actions taken by government bodies or corporations that exceed the scope of power given to them by laws or corporate charters and runs completely contrary to the Constitution of Liberia.
We are, therefore, constrained to ask, “and you too, Brutus?”
Today, Liberia finds itself at a critical juncture in history. Its future hangs by a thread, precipitated by a very badly managed elections process characterized by a plethora of irregularities and even fraud. This produced undesired results to which legal challenges have been mounted by the Liberty Party, All Liberian Party, Alternative National Congress and Unity Party. And while the challenges are being heard by the National Elections Commission (NEC), Senator Wesseh, quoted by the New Dawn, is threatening that President Sirleaf will cling on to power, albeit illegally, until elections are held. We are indeed disappointed!
Even the Carter Center has joined the fray, casting blame on the political parties, accusing them of employing delay tactics to keep the matter lingering in court and thus hold the elections in abeyance indefinitely. But where was the Carter Center when reports of irregularities in the Voter Registration (VR) process came to public attention? What did the Carter Center say or do about the official in the President’s office, Amos Siebo, who was caught red-handed producing Voter Registration cards in his home?
Furthermore, was the Carter Center not concerned that a U.S. citizen, contrary to law and against public outcry, had been placed in charge of Liberia’s elections, knowing that the results could be challenged based on Korkoya’s legal incompetence as a U.S. citizen? Never before in 73 years has the political transition process faced so much uncertainty that has left so many Liberians deeply worried and concerned about the future. Why? Because at stake is the very survival of the rule of law, or whatever is left of it, and ultimately the survival of the nation.
The Carter Center has apparently forgotten how President Carter, following his visit to Charles Taylor’s Gbarnga stronghold, encouraged Taylor’s rebel movement, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), in 1992 to attack Monrovia by falsely claiming that ECOMOG was endangering the peace with the presence of its heavy weapons. But the Liberian people have not forgotten, especially in the face of threats of violence against Supreme Court Justices, with the latest threat coming from Senator Prince Johnson that was publicly aired last Sunday.
Aside from threats of physical violence and harm to the Supreme Court Justices, there now appears to be a concerted campaign of misinformation consisting of a mix of lies and half-truths being propagated and publicly bandied by government officials and others intended to reinvoke fears of a return to civil war by falsely charging that Charles Brumskine is undermining peace because he took his grievances to the Supreme Court.
And some big hands, after having failed repeatedly to convince Charles Brumskine to withdraw his complaint from the Supreme Court, have enlisted the services of Traditional Chief Zanzan Karwor, who has called for the Supreme Court and party litigants to sit in dialogue with the Council of Chiefs to resolve the matter.
As it appears, the forces of oppression have all realigned and geared up for a continuing assault on our democracy. It is indeed sad to note that Senator Conmany Wesseh of all persons would join ranks with those seeking to undermine the rule of law and subvert the Constitution.
We challenge the Senator to tell the Liberian people where in the Constitution of Liberia is there such a provision for what amounts to an illegal seizure of power by an incumbent whose time is just about up but yet doing everything to cling on to power at all cost.
As noted in our Tuesday, November 14 editorial, Liberians over the past thirty plus years have developed a history of ultimately throwing off the shackles of oppression – from the True Whig Party to Samuel Doe to Charles Taylor. And this one, too, shall also be shaken off; not through the barrel of the gun, but by the power of the law.
The learned Senator should know that there are ample provisions in the Liberian Constitution for presidential succession where necessary.