Thank You, President Weah; We Don’t Know Why Counselor Gibson Failed to Act Honorably

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We fail to understand why some people take the press for granted. We think one of the problems is that some do not even read the newspapers, and pay passive attention to what is spoken on radio.

Is Counselor Charles Gibson one of such people? Maybe.

For over the past two weeks he has been the subject of many media comments. Some of the media, in particular the Daily Observer newspaper, have exposed his misdeeds as a counselor-at-law. For minutes following President George Weah’s naming Mr. Gibson as Justice Minister-designate, several media institutions, including ours, quickly recalled a Daily Observer story reporting how he duped his client, Anwar A. Saoud, of US$25,000 Gibson had been holding for his client, but failed to deliver. When the matter appeared before the Supreme Court, the Court took swift and forthright action against Gibson, not only demanding that he pay Mr. Saoud all of his money; the Supreme Court immediately suspended the counselor from legal practice for what the Court described as unethical conduct bordering on fraud.

But the unscrupulous counselor failed to honor the Court’s mandate.

It was not until people hinted to Gibson that he was being considered as Justice Minister-designate that he rushed to pay Mr. Saoud all his money.

That caused the Daily Observer to revisit the story and demand editorially that Charles Gibson’s name be withdrawn from that appointment because he was not fit to be Attorney General and Justice Minister. How was it possible, we asked, for a convicted criminal, now suspended from the bar by the Supreme Court itself, to become the Dean of that very Bar? That is what the Justice Minister is under our law and custom—Dean of the Bar.

We went further in subsequent Editorials to call on Counselor Gibson to save President Weah the embarrassment of cancelling his nomination. We suggested that Gibson should himself thank the President for this most honorable preferment and withdraw his own name.

Alas, Gibson dismissed us as ‘prophets of doom’ and held fast to the vain hope that his cheating of his own client and the Supreme Court’s swift and decisive action against him did not amount to much; and that President Weah would ignore the High Court and the media.

Thankfully, and to President Weah’s enduring credit, he withdrew his nomination of Gibson and chose an eminent Liberian lawyer, Counselor Musa Dean, as Justice Minister-designate.

Counselor Charles Gibson is not the only lawyer in recent memory to ignore the Supreme Court’s mandate. We all remember what happened during the recent elections process.

We know not whether Charles Gibson has any close and candid friends. You mean none of them, if they exist, could have called him aside and told him to decline the nomination? What are friends for, if not to warn one another against treading a dangerous path?

Counselor Gibson has shown that South African President Jacob Zuma has far better sense than he (Gibson). You mean a whole lawyer like Charles Gibson has never heard about “the Riot Act”?

Well, Jacob Zuma had. So when a few leading members of the African National Congress (ANC), South Africa’s most powerful political party, called Zuma and told him they would not be able to support him if a vote of No Confidence was brought up against him in Parliament, Zuma quickly met with ANC Party Leader Cyril Ramaphosa, the man poised to succeed him as South African President, and conceded that he (Zuma) had no choice but to step aside immediately.

That was the same thing that happened to President Richard Nixon in August 1974.

As President Nixon became more and more entangled in the Watergate scandal in 1974, a group of Republican Congressional leaders, led by the eminent Senator Barry Goldwater, visited the President at the White House and told him they could not promise their support if an impeachment bill against him came before Congress. Nixon, having heard the “the Riot Act,” very shortly thereafter, on August 9, 1974, resigned as President of the United States!

Too bad Cllr. Charles Gibson seemed to have had no such friends. Or maybe he had, and failed to heed their advice?

Authors

7 COMMENTS

  1. If we question the ethics of cllr. Gibson,thus disqualifying him, why is he then sitting in judgement by other crookes; e.g. Varney Sherman?

  2. All “Daily Observer” readers who want the Weah Administration to be given a fair chance are jubilant that the news outlet, leader of private Liberian journals, is thanking him for a wise decision. Indeed, he showed another characteristic of leadership – Responsiveness to citizens’ concern, or criticisms. This isn’t to suggest that he should enslave himself to public opinion, or media suggestions, but it indicates a willingness to listen. Obviously, the power of the president in a democracy is the ability to persuade; and to successfully persuade, one has to be a good listener.

    We pray that Weah will also show decisive leadership reference compensation packages of officials in Liberia which are higher than their counterparts in America, the richest nation on Planet Earth. Although he kindly volunteered 20% of his own salary, the law that unconscionably hiked those compensations isn’t etched in stone. It can be amended by the Legislature and President Weah. Not to mention that in the midst of widespread life-denying poverty, only heartlessness would tempt elected officials to allocate a third of national budget to themselves and few others.

    Did they ever hesistate to think about the sorry plight of those poor voters who elected them?

    God knows that given the suffering of about 80% of our population, it is unthinkable that few officials are getting from state coffers over $4000 monthly, including mind-boggling allownces for households etc. Anyone who advised the current Man of the People to continue that trend, under a change-centric political atmosphere, doesn’t want him to succeed. Because that type of financial waste is tantamout to economic sabotage, and, left unchanged, could in the long-run set the populace and government on a collision course.

    Perhaps, we forget that economy is the glue to stability in post-war countries, not arrogant indifference and armed units.

    President Weah shouldn’t mind aides who might be thinking only of their own pockets for they will be the first to abandon ship and criticize when “push come to shove”. Liberians have felt the grave consequences of silly self-absorbed advices nonchalantly sold to the powerful. He must make a difference, and help bridge the widening economic, class, and ethnic divides in the country; a fairer distribution of the nation’s wealth is the first step toward achieving them, believe it or not.

  3. Another area of huge financial waste which must be attacked is big bloated bulging government. We all remember during those days of dizzying campaign rallies, presidential candidate Mr. Alexander Cummings repeatedly reminded rapt young audiences of an Einstein quote: “Insanity, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. He is right. Example, for a small poor country, Liberia already had a plethora of agencies, and kept adding more in the last decade.

    If this government saw fit to appoint a well-educated policeman to head PPCC, we might as well merge LACC, DEA, and EPA to it, with a deputy each running the three as divisional heads. Granted that their functions are different, yet they share compliance and enforcement responsibilities.

    Or why continue to maintain an unwielding Ministry of Agriculture, after taking away fishery and forestry bureaus to create two more entities. Wouldn’t a single bureau of “farming, fishing and forestry” carry out the same funcions? Don’t we want to dispense with the hyperbolic sounding ‘Ministry of Agriculture’ which can’t help farmers cultivate sufficient home-grown rice on one of the best arable land in the world? Have we ever imagined why the area was called ‘Grain Coast’ by European traders before the coming of our nation state-founding fathers?

    Of course, other concerned citizens desirous of a small, efficient, manageable, and viable government will have better proposals on this issue.

    The embassies are also a source of finanacial waste. They might have been necessary in the 1960’s and 1970’s, but now a huge burden in the century of Internet and instant communication. We just can’t afford to run all. No wonder, then, that according to reliable diplomats all the embassies are broke. This isn’t surprising, because the government is “broke”. So why not close the least relevant, or least important, and have fewer ambassadors handling diplomatic and consular duties?

    It is strange a country in need of skilled workforce in lieu of infrastructural development, which described its public school education system as “mess”, has no public library, yet keeps diplomats in the four corners of the globe. Diplomats, by the way, who are compelled to skimp for basic necessities in order to live and carry out their functions. And some of whom in temperate countries lack heat in their homes. Allegedly, as for salaries they receive them whenever available; in Liberian vernacular, our people may ask, “Nar plaba”?

    In conclusion, none can honestly blame any particular political leadership for a governmental system that is too big, too costly, too irrational, and too inefficient. All are guilty of silence when these layers of useless fat kept adding thereby clogging the arteries of each administration. So President Weah has inherited all the heart conditions. He needs political courage to recognize Liberia can’t continue on this bad cholesterol – weighted path. This means the layers of fat should be peeled off, otherwise a fatal heart attack of the nation will result.

    Sometime ago, one witty Facebook commenter was laconic about the incorrigible waste in government with the following: “Cut coat according to your size, and save money for rent and the children’s upkeep”. That’s a great advice for our political leadership. Once again, those with access to diagnostic tools and equipment must carry out comprehensive diagnoses and prescribe better medicine or treatment; the sooner, the better, though, for Liberia’s economic health and safety.

    • Mr. Moses, you couldn’t have articulated this any better. The GOL bureaucracy is heavily bloated and cannot be sustained when the economy is in such dire straits. Furthermore, the current bureaucratic model is not service-oriented and not designed to be responsive to the needs of the people: The heavy Fat that sits at the top of the bureaucracy makes it irresponsive and counterproductive. For example, I have commented in other posts that it absolutely makes no sense for one government ministry to have 7 or more Deputy Ministers and a corresponding 7 Assistant Ministers where many of the functions and responsibilities overlap each other. The country cannot carry on in this fashion, and a real rethinking is needed to reinvent government!

  4. President George Weah, when addressing the French President and France, he admitted
    that Liberia is broke. That is the way to put it, even at home. Since the Liberian people
    are told in black and white that they and their country are broke, what is the next necessary
    step to take? Salary deduction, of course! But the deduction has to be bracketed or categorized

    First of all, we must realize why President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf unconsciously paid certain levels
    in Government such a high salaries when she brought destruction upon the country just ended?
    She did so, especially the Legislators cashing unearned 100% their salaries, that she internationally
    silenced those Lawmakers whenever, where’ver she broke the Laws of Liberia. Because they
    are the only ones to hold her accountable and removal from office. In other words, as long as
    Legislators are cashing their astronomical salaries, she can do whatever she wanted. Amnd
    she did indeed! How so?

    How so? for example, she stole the money from NOCAL and set it bankrupt! The Legislators
    should have questioned her why she took the money from the public corporation and set it
    to bankrupt. No, not one Legislator ever asked her why? Another example is why she spent
    as she said almost US$59 million dollars or more of the Liberian Maritime money saying for
    public relation? Are all the money she spent really for public relation? I don’t think so. Only a
    little amount and the rest ended into her foreign Bank accounts! Because, really Liberia does
    need to spend money she does not have or have but for development to the Americans at all.
    If she can give free money to the American Lobbyists, why she could not give free money
    to Liberians who need it. The another example is her policy of bribing the Legislators for them
    to do their work; pass and ratifying bills for which they are being paid such a huge salaries.
    If President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf administration is efficiently and professionally audited,
    Liberians and partners will see how corrupt that woman was.

    Wherefore and in view of the fact that Liberia is broke, the next necessary thing the George
    Manneh Weah Administration must do is to declare an austerity. That would mean that
    people earning from high salaries down to $3,000.00 must undergo salary deduction. From
    $2,999.00 should be exempted. Now to do it under the austerity?

    President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 6,500.00 a month, no more.
    Vice President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 5,000.00 ” ” ” ”
    Chief Justice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5,000.00 ” ” ” ”
    Senators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4,500.00 ” ” ” ”
    Representatives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,000.00 ” ” ” ”
    Ministers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4,500.00 ” ” ” ”
    Managing Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4,000.00 ” ” ” ”
    Deputy Managing Directors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 3,500.00

    For goodness sake, any one who is making the above salary a month can not live a good life,
    for heaven sake, they do not need to work when you compare them with those living in the
    village who receive not a penny per month.

    I can assure you that when Liberia undergo such austerity, it will have enough on the home front!

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