Justice, Accountability and the Rule of Law or the lack of it under the oversight of Justice Minister Musa Dean in this CDC led government is grave cause for concern which should claim the attention of every well-meaning Liberian. Under the watch of Justice Minister Dean, respect for the rule of law has eroded significantly.
Notorious armed robbers serving term at the Monrovia Central Prison are released under dubious circumstances and the Justice Minister is mum; Opposition political rallies have been violently attacked by thuggish elements believed to be connected to the CDC, with the Police standing in plain sight but doing nothing.
Further, the case of the US$25 million infusion which was, according to investigators, fraudulently and criminally handled was done under the watch of Justice Minister Dean and for which no arrests were ever made is another of several cases in point where the inaction or non-action of the Justice Minister has served to contribute to the erosion of justice, accountability and the rule of law.
The case of the alleged missing L$16 billion simply went in the breeze. Quite recently, for example, the Director of Passports who was facing criminal prosecution was snatched bodily from the Court and taken away by his supporters but the Minister did not shake a finger.
And most recently is the violence attending the Voters Roll update process which has left several persons wounded. In all these instances the Police have been reported to turn a blind eye and let loose the perpetrators of violence.
Similarly, in Zwedru recently, opposition politicians Alexander Cummings and Yekeh Kolubah were stoned while on a visit to Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County and were forced to depart the city at the orders of local authorities who declared they could not guarantee their safety.
All these instances appear to be part of a growing wave of politically motivated violence perpetrated in the main by supporters of the ruling coalition and to which response from the national security apparatus has been at best poor, weak and ineffectual.
And through all this, the voice of Justice Minister Musa Dean, Chairman of the Joint Security which includes the military and paramilitary organizations, has been conspicuously and notoriously silent.
This has invariably given rise to mounting fears amongst the public that the security apparatus is partisan or is displaying partisanship and partisan bias in the execution of their duties only which serves to heighten public distrust of the Police and the national security apparatus.
In short, the rule of law, justice and accountability under the watch of the Justice Minister has been characterized by a series of clusterfucks and shitshows that have now morphed, seemingly, into a crisis of catastrophic proportions with implications for peace and stability in Liberia and the wider subregion.
And this point was so brilliantly scored by Defense Minister Major-General (Rtd) Daniel Ziahnkan in his recent statement to journalists.
A clusterfuck, according to the Cambridge Dictionary is a complete failure or very serious problem in which many mistakes or problems happen a the same time. A shitshow is described as a “situation or state of affairs characterized by chaos, confusion, or incompetence.”
A clusterfuck may come to possess all those characteristics, but is more properly identified by the decisions that produced it than its outcome.
In view of the above, it is not surprising that the public has welcomed as reassuring the statement by the Defense Minister that the unbridled violence currently being witnessed in the VR process will not be allowed to get out of hand and morph into situations that threaten national and sub-regional stability.
The statement by the Defense Minister, though very uncharacteristic, can be seen as an attempt to address growing public apprehension about the rising spate of politically motivated violence in the face of official Police inaction and the displayed impotence and spineless reaction of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Security, Attorney-General and Justice Minister Musa Dean to these developments.
Moreover, the use of incendiary and inflammatory rhetoric by all sides particularly on the various radio talk-shows are said to be major contributory factors to the violence currently being witnessed in the VR update process.
Additionally, NEC’s very poor management of the process, which appears to be a combination of incompetence and corruption, is creating a huge mound of public distrust and whipping up tensions that invariably spill into violence.
They (NEC officials) see wrong, yet they embrace it. They know from history that fraudulent elections are a recipe for trouble. Yet, they encourage illegal acts knowing that such is certain to fan the flames of insurrection.
Further, they know that voter trucking and vote buying are all against the law. Yet CDC stalwart and member of the House of Representatives, Thomas Fallah and Presidential Protocol officer Finda Bundoo, Finance Minister Samuel Tweah have all been seen dishing out money to prospective voters.
Ironic is the fact that the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), with over 4 billion newly printed Liberian dollar banknotes in its vaults are still circulating mutilated banknotes to the public while officials of this government are in possession of thousands of newly printed Liberian dollar banknotes in five-hundred dollar bills, which they are spending lavishly to buy and truck voters.
“DIMLY OR CLEARLY, we all should know what right looks like, but more often than not, we tend to ignore the glittering reality,” writes Minister Daniel Ziahankan. “There’s a price that one has to pay whenever you deliberately turn your face from the rights and embrace the wrongs in the forms of violence, hypocrisy, greed and deceit. We have paid a huge price when we treaded such path decades ago. Liberians were taught some valuable lessons but we seem to forget those life and death lessons so soon.
“We should be smart enough to see and recognize the familiar signs and bold writings of crisis on the walls,” the Minister warns.
Again, we wish to cite the Daily Observer Editorial on August 20, 2020: Echoes from Mali, Is Anyone Listening?