Liberia is in crisis — deep crisis in view of what is being seen as the hijack of the state by criminal rogue elements, who have clearly demonstrated the capacity to kill just anyone perceived as hostile to their predatory interests. It is within this context that the recent serial killings of three (3) auditors and another financial professional, all within the government’s employ, could be explained and understood.
President Weah has called on the United States to help assist in the investigation of circumstances leading to the mysterious death of the four auditors recently. It is not known whether the United States government has responded to President Weah’s request, granted that he has already made a formal request for assistance.
The public appears to welcome the initiative but remains wary, primarily because the brutal killing of Harry Greaves by unknown assailants was attributed to drowning by US investigators invited by President Sirleaf to assist the investigation.
Their report, in the eyes of the public was less than credible because it did not and could not explain the presence of a piece of stick protruding from Harry’s anus when his body washed ashore the beach behind the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
But these troubling developments have for the moment, it appears, eclipsed concerns about the conduct of the Voters Roll Update (VRU) process which has been marred by fraud and attended by violence that have left several persons wounded.
The killings have also eclipsed concerns about developments at the Supreme Court concerning the opposition petition for a Writ of Mandamus, seeking to compel the National Elections Commission (NEC) to clean the compromised Final Registration Roll (FRR).
Justice-in-Chambers Yuoh’s initial denial of the petition for a Writ of Mandamus immediately prompted public fears and suspicion that members of the Supreme Court Bench would kowtow to Presidential diktat and order the elections to proceed even in the absence of a credible Voters Roll/Registry.
This impression was shaped largely by the disappointing performance of the Court in the heat of the 2017 elections when it failed to place a stay order until its clean-up mandate had been carried out, neither did it reprimand NEC Chairman Korkoyah when he flouted the decision of the Court with impunity.
And as the deadline to the December 8 elections draws near, it remains unclear whether the temporary stay order placed on the further conduct of electoral activities due to legal challenges to the process, it remains unclear whether those challenges will be cleared before election day.
One thing which appears certain is that the Supreme Court under the leadership of Chief Justice Francis Korkpor will be put to yet another test when challenges to the VRU process begin to increase.
Still struggling to shore-up its very battered public image, recent videos making the rounds on social media of protesting Judicial workers booing at the Chief Justice with chants of “rogue, rogue” has dented the image of the Court even further and painted a dismal picture of Justices depicting them as cruel, insensitive and heartless.
The judicial workers complain that they have not received salaries and benefits for a period of one-calendar year; yet, according to them their bosses who earn very high salaries and benefits are paid regularly while they have to endure the indignity and shame of being unable to meet one’s domestic obligations because they have not been paid for such prolonged periods.
The protesting workers maintain that they never experienced such sufferings and hardship during the tenure of former Chief Justices, Henry Reed Cooper and Johnnie Lewis.
They claim that the Judiciary derives a lot or revenue daily from payments made by party litigants, including revenue earned from daily parking fees but, according to them, they do not know where the money goes.
Some seasoned lawyers (names withheld) have told the Daily Observer that the quality of the Liberian Judiciary under the leadership of Chief Justice Korkpor has sunken to its lowest ebb in recent history. They cited as example, the imposition of ten US dollars on anyone filing a suit in the Monrovia Magisterial Court before that individuals complaint can be heard.
And then, this most recent protest involving judicial workers and the excessive force used by the Police to quell the demonstration has not only dented the image of the Chief Justice, it has also created a groundswell of ill will against members of the Supreme Court Bench who, workers say, are arrogant and corrupt.
The public is indeed perturbed about these developments in view of the impending elections. Questions are being asked about the moral fibre and integrity of the members of such an important national institution which appears to be in serious deficit, given the denial of staff salaries for such a prolonged period.
In the opinion of judicial workers, the Chief Justice has gravely violated their rights by denying them their wages and salaries for a period of one-year. Questions arise therefore, whether in view of this the current composition of the Supreme Court bench can be trusted to preside over possible elections disputes.
But there is another twist to this development, induced primarily by the extra-judicial killings of the government auditors. And that is whether the Court can be trusted to deliver fair, transparent, impartial unfettered and undiluted justice in case suspects in the recent are arrested and arraigned before court.
For example, Representative Yekeh Kolubah has been criminally charged, despite very recent video evidence showing thuggish elements, believably government supporters, violently attacking the Old Road home of Representative Yekeh Kolubah, with the Police standing in plain view and doing nothing to stop the violence.
What trust, therefore, can families of the victims expect to have in the Police investigation as well as a Court trial of suspects involved in the serial killings of the government auditors recently? That is, if any suspects are arrested at all and brought to trial.
In the final analysis, it all comes back to President Weah as leader of the nation for he will ultimately take the blame.