It happened ever since September 12, 2013 when Police Inspector General Chris Massaquoi deployed over 200 police on the grounds ofvthe Capitol Building while the Liberian Senate was deliberating in formal session. The very next day, September 13, the Senate wrote to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf a letter calling on her “to deal with said mutiny by the LNP, against a democratically elected Legislature.” The Senate asked that Director Massaquoi be immediately disrobed and forwarded to the Ministry of Justice.”
The Senate’s swift reaction and communication with to President underscored the seriousness with which the Senators took Commissioner Massaquoi’s act, which was clearly in violation of the constitutional separation of powers enshrined in the Liberian Constitution.
We are not privy to any communication, whether written or verbal, between the President and the Liberian Senate in the intervening weeks since its September 13, 2013 letter.
Now, as she is about to appear before the joint Session of the Legislature on Monday, January 27 to deliver her ninth Annual Message, the President has written a letter to that august body dated January 20, 2014 indicating that she had “reprimanded” her Police Commisioner and suspended him for two days and ordered him “to write a letter of apology for personal presentation at a plenary sitting of the Senate.”
It is hard to understand why the President took the matter so lightly and took several weeks, on the eve of her Annual Message, to respond and to act.
Her letter immediately sent the Senate into what our Senate Correspondent, Burgess Carter called “one of their longest executive sessions.”
We trust that by now Commissioner Massaquoi has apologized to the Senate, even in this belated hour.
This newspaper wrote an editorial immediately following the incident warning the Police Commissioner of the unconstitutional nature of his action. It is difficult to understand why he had to wait until the President asked him several weeks later to do what he knew he had to do.
The President’s lieutenants must realize that they are not above the law. We in this country need to take the Americans seriously when they refer to the USA as “a country of laws, not of men.”