Was Justice Minister Musa Dean’s diktat to NEC to refrain from certificating Brownie Samukai as winner of the Lofa County Senatorial elections within the pale of the law?
This is the haunting question that is weighing heavily on the minds of the public. The National Elections Commission as an independent and autonomous body does not and is not to take instructions from the Justice Minister, according to most lawyers this newspaper has spoken to.
As a lawyer, the Justice Minister ought to know that there are bounds beyond which he cannot overstep. And those bounds are the independence of the electoral body as a national integrity institution.
More besides, it appears that the Justice Minister is selectively applying the law to suit whatever purposes.
The zest which he has displayed in this dogged attempt to bring down Brownie Samukai has left the public wondering why he did not shake a finger against CDC representative Abu Bana Kamara.
Abu Kamara was investigated and criminally charged for a host of offenses bordering on fraud. This was during the run-up period to the District 17 elections that saw him pitted against Telia Urey. His victory against Urey was greeted with skepticism.
This was because a NEC official in charge of the data center, Floyd Sayor, a former card-carrying member of the CDC, now a Commissioner, was investigated for fraudulently manipulating the vote count in favor of Kamara, also a CDC candidate.
To recall, some of the very issues now being raised against Samukai were also raised against Abu Kamara. But Kamara was allowed to participate in the elections even though he had admitted guilt and promised to repay the amount involved.
Interestingly, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission(LACC) has joined the fray by declaring Abu Bana Kamara absolved of the criminal charges against him because according to the LACC, Kamara has made full restitution of public money he criminally converted to this personal use.
For Heavens sake, where is the Justice Minister in all this? Since when has the LACC been clothed with judicial powers such that they can now determine guilt and declare an accused absolved of charges.
This belated action of the LACC howbeit illegal is being perceived as an attempt to provide justification for another of Justice Minister Musa Dean’shitshows, which means that the law is not the law in the case of Representative Abu Bana Kamara, but is the law in the case of Brownie Samukai.
And there is no justification whatever can Justice Minister Musa Dean provide for his attempts to disrespect the rule of law.
Having failed to prove allegations of fraud in the Lofa County senatorial elections, it appears that no stone is being left unturned to ensure that Samukai is not certified and seated.
On sober reflection, all such maneuverings by officials of this government simply convey an impression of desperation and deep-seated fear of Samukai for whatever reasons.
And from all indications, rather than vilifying him in the eyes of his people, they are instead lionizing him and needlessly so.
Justice Minister Dean is strongly urged to reflect and ponder the implications of his actions now and in the future. As principal legal advisor to the President of Liberia, he should always muster the strength of character and the guts to tell the President the truth.
Accordingly, he has the charge, responsibility and duty to advise the President correctly and not leave him exposed to ridicule because the law is the law.
And above all, the law is no respecter of persons and this Justice Minister Musa Dean should know all too well, for Liberia should be “a country of laws and not of men”.