Where Are They Now—Those Who Were Religiously Backing the “Code of Conduct”?

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The Liberian Senate, the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who in the first place sent the Code of Conduct to them, the National Elections Commission (NEC) and the Supreme Court of Liberia, the majority three of whom rendered the Code “constitutional”—these are they who went against common sense and tried to ram the so-called Code of Conduct down Liberians’ throats.

As this newspaper, the Daily Observer, and several other thinking Liberians tried in vain to warn them and everyone else that this bad law was “unconstitutional,” the chickens have come home to roost. Now the very people the Code was up against, and most particularly the one person targeted, former Central Bank Governor J. Mills Jones, have all now been cleared and are suddenly no longer barred from contesting the forthcoming elections.

What happened to them all—those resolute backers of this infamous non-law?

It was not only we at this newspaper, who were not backed by legalism, since we are not lawyers, but many lawyers, including two eminent ones, Counselors Tiawan Gongloe and Frances Johnson Allison, who steadfastly argued against the implementation and enforcement of the Code. We at the newspaper were governed by our limited knowledge of the Constitution of the Republic, which bars no one from running for public office except that person is a convicted criminal. We were also governed by common sense.

In the case of the lawyers, Counselor Allison is the most experienced, for she has served not only as chairman of the very National Elections Commission (NEC) and Justice Minister and Attorney General of the Republic, but also as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia. This highly intelligent and experienced woman wrote a legally sound and lucid piece on the Code of Conduct, which we published in our April 3, 2017 edition. In that article, she argued eruditely and forcefully against the so-called Code of Conduct, which she declared to be patently unconstitutional.

Counselor Gongloe and others went to court, but were baffled by the very courts, through legalism and delays, and they got nowhere.

Alas! Thanks to the good Lord Himself and common sense, which the American pro-Independence philosopher Thomas Penn described as “a sense that is not common,” reason has prevailed!

What is surprising is that there were many others, like Harrison Karnwea and Jeremiah Sulunteh, who had to struggle through the ups and downs and uncertainties in the courts, and were finally cleared.

But most surprising of all in “this strange, eventful” debacle is the main target of the Code of Conduct—Dr. J. Mills Jones. Yes, the former CBL Executive Governor was the prime target of the entire COC exercise. The Daily Observer was present in the office of Vice President Joseph N. Boakai few years ago when a most senior member of the Liberian Senate came to complain about the possibly of the CBL Governor running for President. This powerful Senator was concerned that Dr. Jones, whose financial inclusion policy was being hailed throughout the country for lifting a lot of people out of poverty, and was clear in the mind of this Senator, had to be stopped, otherwise that might lead the Governor to pursue the presidency. And that, as it turned out, was the whole point of the Senate’s overwhelming passage of the Code of Conduct.

Alas! The Daily Observer’s front page lead story yesterday surprisingly indicated that the very National Elections Commission had itself cleared Dr. Mills Jones without contest and without a scratch! Just as this newspaper had indicated months ago, that this so-called “law” would not hold because it was unsustainable and could lead to electoral chaos and confusion, the National Elections Commission read its own writing on the wall.  It had cleared too many people, including Messrs. Karnwea and Sulunteh, who had not “resigned” in the three-years before the election as stipulated in the Code of Conduct. Having, therefore, cleared all these people, NEC, or anyone else, the Liberian Senate and the Supreme Court included, had nothing to say to Dr. Mills Jones. So they quietly and without contest or quarrel cleared him to run.

And where does this leave the so-called Ombudsman? With absolutely nothing to do, and consequently redundant.

Authors

11 COMMENTS

  1. Those who were or ARE religiously backing the Code of Conduct… whether patriots, loyalists, partisans, or ideologues, HAVE BEEN EVIDENTLY PROVEN SOUND AND RIGHT VIA THE ON GOING MASS RESIGNATIONS OF PUBLIC OFFICIALS WITHIN THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH WHO WERE OBVIOUSLY BENT ON USING GOVERNMENT PROPERTIES AND ABUSE OF THEIR PUBLIC OFFICES FOR THEIR PERSONAL AND SELFISH INTEREST….a diabolical intention PRE-EMPTED AND ABORTED BY THE CODE OF CONDUCT LAW!

    For example, what do you think the likes of Fonati Kofa, Harrison Karnwea, Sulonteh, and Mills Jones would have done if they were not KEPT IN CHECK BY THE CODE OF CONDUCT LAW? Fonati Kofa, Harrison Karnwea, Sulonteh, Kamara, and Mills Jones would of course used resources and POWERS of the Ministry of State, FAD, POST AND TELECOM, EMBASSY OF LIBERIA IN THE USA, AND THE CENTRAL BANK OF LIBERIA, for their individual selfish political interests and the agenda of their political parties!

    Secondly, Kenneth, the fact that the Supreme Court has IMPLIED AND RULED that the CODE OF CONDUCT is unconstitutional just weeks after determining and ruling that the CODE OF CONDUCT is CONSTITUTIONAL simply goes to show what a CESSPOOL OF LAWLESSNESS THE SUPREME COURT HAS BECOME UNDER THE GOVERNMENT OF ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF!

    Again, the sudden mass RESIGNATIONS have proven the Code of Conduct constitutional, and it’s ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS legal, legitimate and constitutional, despite the diabolical intentions Ellen Johnson Sirleaf may have stupidly perceived, or the now ABUSE OF INTERPRETATION POWER BY THE FRANCIS KORKPOR BENCH OF THE SUPREME COURT!

    FOR THE CODE OF CONDUCT ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS ARE CONSISTENT WITH THE LETTER AND SPIRIT OF ARTICLE 90 C OF THE LIBERIAN CONSTITUTION, AND CONSISTENT WITH THE NECESSARY AND PROPER CLAUSE OF THE LIBERIAN CONSTITUTION!

    Thus, those who were or ARE religiously backing the Code of Conduct whether ideologues, partisans, loyalists, or patriots, REMAIN RIGHT, SOUND, AND CORRECT, FOR THE SPIRIT AND LETTER OF THE CODE OF CONDUCT ARE IN TOTALITY CONSISTENT WITH THE LIBERIAN CONSTITUTION!

  2. And many would even be shocked to see that Kenneth Best would even jump to conclusion and write that “Mills Jones was the main person the Code of Conduct targetted”. If this were the case, Mr. Best, why the deluge or flood of RESIGNATIONS now? Why there were no such downpour of RESIGNATIONS when the very Supreme Court initially ruled the Code of Conduct constitutional? If the Code of Conduct specifically targeted Jones, why all these RESIGNATIONS just three days to campaign, not to even mention the case of the sitting minister or that of Ngafuahn who resigned his prestigious and powerful FOREIGN minister post three years ago in keeping with the ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS of the Code of Conduct?

    Or better still, Kenneth Best, what about the very Philip Banks who voted against the CODE OF Conduct when the Code of Conduct was ruled constitutional, ended up being the very one to write the opinion or decision of the court IMPLICITLY ruling the Code of Conduct “unconstitutional”? Don’t you smell THE IMPEACHABLE OFFENSES OF MISCONDUCT OR BADBEHAVIOR on the part of the Supreme Court, or at least on the parts of Korkpor, Banks, and Jamesetta Howard Wolokolie.

  3. Granted that the code of conduct was ill-conceived, but it ought to have been obeyed until amended or repealed. What irates many is that the Supreme Court which declared the law constitutional was the driver of the frenzy to break it. Like we observed then, democratic societies “change” laws, not “break” them for political expidiency.

    Unsurprisingly, the fate of the CoC is an example of EJS’s arbitrary rule. Everything has to be about her wants, interests and concerns not for the common good. A cautionary tale of not letting a needy power drunk become her successor, if you ask me.

  4. Mr. Kenneth Best, your editorial that it is CONSTITUTIONAL for the governor of the Central Bank to use state funds for his personal political ambition under the PRETENSE of “financial inclusion policy” , and that even after the state or lawmakers have observed such fraud and unfairness on the part of the governor, the legislature should sit idly inspite of the legislative power through the “NECESSARY AND PROPER CLAUSE” authorized by the Constitution for lawmakers to prevent or put to halt such abuse of power by any public official including the governor of the Central Bank, does not speak well of you to say the least.

    Secondly, your confession (if true) that you were present in the office of the President of the Senate VP Boakai when he and another Senator plotted to and convinced all other members of the Legislature to make a law particularly targeting Mills Jones makes one to believe that both Boakai, and your endorsement and intense public image making or PRO-BONO OR for the very Boakai are very dangerous for democracy and the rule of law in Liberia!

    Thirdly, I am disappointed that you a supposed elder and veteran would applaud the the Supreme Court in such an abuse of power of fumbling with the Constitution and justice, when the very Supreme Court should be above such gross violations and remain the conscience of the nation.

  5. But how can an editor or journalist see nothing wrong with this ignoble, unethical, and unlawful, conduct of a Supreme Court or a justice of the Supreme Court, even if a law were illegitimate as he Kenneth Best now believes emanating from the betrayal of trust and DISREPUTE Philip Banks in particular, and to some extent, Korkpor’s leadership has inflicted on the court!

  6. I DO NOT KNOW WAH’S WRONG WITH KEN BEST, MY OWN MAN SUNTINE-SEH! LIBERIAN PEPO GOTTO LIBERIANS HAVE TO LEAN AND BE DISCIPLINE! KEN BEST IS FROM THE OLD ORDER TOO! HE PRAISES NATIONAL THIEVES LIKE BENONI UREY, AND ENCOURAGES LIB’S YUOTH TO EMULATE HIM; IS AGAINST STANDARDS FOR THE CODE TO ENSURE A LAWFUL, PEACEFUL 2017 ELECTION BY PREVENTING DECEITFFUL OFFICIALS FROM CONTUIING THEIR DECEITFUL PRACTICES OF ELECTION FRUAD – THUS, MINIMIZING SUCH FRAUDULENT, POTENTIALLY VIOLENCE PRACTICES DURING THIS FORTHCOMING ELECTION! THE CODE MAY HAVE INITIALLY BEEN “MAL-INTENDED” BUT AFTER IT BECAME EVIDENT OF “DECEITFUL MOTIVES” OF OFFICIALS TO “CIRVENT” LIB’S LAWS AND IMPOSE THEIR “WILLS” ABOVE LIB’S LAWS OF THE LAND. MAINTAINING THE CODE’S CONSTITUIONALITY WAS SIGNIFICANT! FURTHERMORE, THERE WERE NO SIGNIFICANT DISPARAGING NOR UNCONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS IN THAT CODE TO WARRANT ITS “SUSPENSION” “REVERSAL!” MOREOVER, BANKS RATIONALE AND RULING ARE FLAWED, AND NOT LEGALLY SOUND NOR BINDING!!

  7. BY KEN BEST’S INITIAL PARAGRAPH ABOVE, I AM TOTALLY UNCLEAR, BAFFLED, AND LEFT IN THE DARK AT WAH HE TRYING TO SAY TO READERS! CHEY! HE SAYING LIB’S SUPREME COUT JUSTICES OR ELLEN OR THE ENTIRE 3 BRANCHES OF LIB’S GOVERVERNMENT “F&$KED UP” FOR DECLARING THE “CODE” CONSTITUTIONAL? PLEASE HELP ME UNDERSTAND YOU, KEN! I THINKING DIFFERENT FROM LIBERIAN-TODAY-O! I NOT UNDERSTAND HOW “OLD ORDER JOURNALIST” THINK OR WRITE-NAH-O!

  8. I don’t blame you, “old man”, because this is what we get from a “Bench” dominated by cowards. The Code of Conduct may have been killed by the Korkpor’s Bench, but subsequently the entire Bench has compromised its integrity completely. Instead of sticking to their constitutional mandate of interpretation, they have assumed the role of “Law Makers”. They unknowingly attached penalties to the violation of the CoC, when it initially it did not require such. The NEC is painfully and reluctantly enforcing this unlawful ruling. Meanwhile, we are quietly sitting in our “little corners”, and watching the stakeholders as they proceed with the electoral process.

  9. Last week Thursday Chief Justice Korkpor sen out threats that they justices of the Supreme Court shall seriously deal with lawyers for exposing the cesspool of corruption and incompetence at the Supreme Court. We have forwarded him our response to such empty threat and attempted prior restraint against the public. Here below, we inform him again!!!!

    Korkpor, lawyers and other members of the Liberian intelligentsia at home and abroad are not “backing people who are disatisfied with the Supreme Court for its interpretation of the COC” as you wrongly perceive probably out of guilt, fear, and shame.

    Rather, lawyers and other members of the Liberian intelligentsia are exercising their constitutional rights and duties under Article 15 C of the Liberian Constitution which provides that there shall be no limitations on the public right to be informed about the government and its functionaries.

    Your empty threat or laughable PRIOR RESTRAINT shall never prevent us from implementing the public right to be informed of the misconduct in office by the justices of the Supreme Court, you people misuse and abuse of your interpretation power, and the betraying of your trust and bringing disrepute on the Supreme Court which are inter alia tantamount to consiracy and obstruction of jusice charges!!!

    As we make this open comment to you and your fellow justices of the Supreme Court, we shall in 48 hours be filing with the Clerks of the House of Representatives and the Senate a petition demanding that the Legislature impeach you and your entire Bench of the Supreme Court.

    With the Legislature already discussing such impeachment of you and your Bench, you can bet that with the SUPREMACY CLAUSE of Article 1 of the Liberian Constitution, and Article 71 of the very Constitution, your days as justices of the Supreme Court are numbered!

  10. Cllr. Chesson, you have nested you “do not know what is wrong with Kenneth Best”. Well, let us tell you here that Kenneth Best is SOMETIMES no different from Philip Banks viz Banks’ opportunist character…meaning when it comes to money or other personal interest, they do not consider professional etiquette nor the dictates of their conscience. Kenneth Bear’s nephew Editor Rodney Sieh working with his uncle Kenneth had to choose being dismissed Sieh or financial gain during the rule of one interim chairman who offered thousands of US Dollars to the nephew and uncle if they could kill a story which was about to be made public. Rodney Sieh chose the former…and published the story. Ask Kenneth.

  11. The fact of the matter is that the Code of Conduct had killed itself! It was never a
    constitutional Law anyway, because it never went to the people for approval or
    rejection- national referendum. What we have in Liberia appears to be a Supreme
    Court but it is not functioning as real Juris Prudence. It ought to be impeached.
    But is there men with gust at the national Legislature to do so? Liberians are
    completely left without leaders, because those sitting at the House and Senate
    are looking up to Ellen at Mansion to survive or be called Honorable. They are no
    more with the Liberian people at all.

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