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That caused the Daily Observer to revisit the story and demand editorially that Charles Gibson’s name be withdrawn from that appointment because he was not fit to be Attorney General and Justice Minister.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?