Just last Thursday, on the heels of our Editorial calling on Liberian churches to undertake the prophetic ministry against the growing, widespread corruption in government, the National Christian Council of Liberia showed up at the House of Representatives to pray for the Speaker and anoint him with holy oil.
First question: how much theology (the Study of God) or church history do these bishops and pastors who showed up at the Capitol know?
Second question: What did the prophet Nathan do when God sent him to confront King David with his sins of murder and adultery – the treachery of having Uriah, one of his elite warriors, killed in battle in order to take the soldier’s wife?
Third question: What did Prophet Elijah do in the face of the wicked King Ahab and his equally wicked wife Jezebel, who served Baal, in violation of the very first commandment? Did Elijah anoint the king and his wife with holy oil, or did he do as God had instructed: confront them with their sins of coveting, murder and idolatry?
The only rebuke (reprimand) we heard from the so-called prophets at the Capitol last week was against the masks displayed on its walls, which the prophets described as “demonic.” What did the prophets prefer to see, works of Picasso, the Spanish painter? Do they realize they were rebuking Liberian art and culture?
No, the so-called prophets had nothing to say against the legislators’ blatant corruption, selfishness and failure to seek the interest of the Liberian people; rather, the “demonic” masks. How hypocritical and cowardly can the so-called Christian Council be?
Did any of them ask any of the legislators to give an account of their stewardship as the people’s representatives? Did the so-called prophets ask the Speaker where he got the money from to build his mansions in Margibi? Did they ask him any questions about his alleged involvement in the Global Witness allegations, or the US$75,000 he allegedly received in bribes to circumvent Liberian law?
No! The “prophets” had no concern about the corruption, misuse and abuse of power and the failure of these so-called “people’s representatives” to truly do the people’s business. Instead, the “prophets” proceeded to anoint the Speaker with holy oil, with absolutely no concern for his misdeeds.
When, on the other hand, the prophet Nathan confronted David, the king immediately confessed his sin and went into sackcloth and ashes as a mark of penitence. How much penance did Speaker Tyler do?
In the Western world, particularly England, where the Magna Carter gave birth to parliamentary democracy, the immediate thing for a public official found in or even suspected of corruption or failure of policy is to resign. That is what British Prime Minister David Cameron did immediately after he lost his referendum on Britain remaining in the European Union recently.
That was the most honorable thing for Speaker Alex Tyler and all the other sitting officials mentioned in the report, including Senator Varney Sherman, to have done immediately after they were indicted following the allegations in the GW report. If not resignation, then at least a temporary leave of absence until their names were cleared of wrongdoing.
Pray tell us, what have these Representatives and Senators done for the Liberian people since 2006 but enrich themselves, many of them building big houses that they had never built before? They did this with money collected from approving agreements, bills and treaties, submitted by an equally corrupt Executive, and other illicit gains.
Our legislators, members of the first branch of government, have totally ignored the sacred principle of separation of powers enshrined in the Liberian Constitution. They have instead entered an unholy alliance with the Executive, doing its bidding at almost every turn in return for financial gain.
Even the Judiciary has to be careful, lest it falls into the claws of the overweening (haughty, presumptuous) Executive. See what happened last week when the Supreme Court remained silent on an Act of Legislature, prompted by the Executive, that the High Court KNOWS to be unconstitutional.
In an earlier Editorial, this newspaper asked whether Chief Justice Francis Korkpor had the courage to stand up to the Executive, as did Chief Justice Louis Arthur Grimes in 1934 in the case Republic of Liberia vs. P.G. Wolo.
It was only two Justices, Phillip Banks and Jamesetta Wolokollie, who issued a profound Dissenting Opinion against the majority, led by the Chief Justice, with his colleagues Kabineh Jan’eh and Sie-A-Nene Youh.
This seemingly audacious attempt by the Executive to control the Legislature AND the Judiciary takes us squarely back to the Tubman days, and True Whig Party (TWP) dictatorship.
Why does Ellen want to leave such a legacy? Has she forgotten Lord Acton’s immortal dictum, that “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely?” Has she also forgotten the lesson the TWP learned the hard way?
Which enlightened leader would want to leave such a legacy? We know of only a few.