STELLAR: For Once, Gongloe Should Have Bitten His Tongue

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Cllr. Jonathan Massaquoi disagrees with Cllr. Bank's 'expert witness' testimony.

…letting the chips fall wherever they may!

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(“2018 IN REVIEW” CONTINUES)

By Keith N. Best

A brief intro to STELLAR (©2017 KNAB)

IF STELLAR IS BLAZING A NEW TRAIL, that is what our readers get as this legal issues column, (earlier entitled: “SIMPLE Logic and the Law,”) transitions, (changes over) and makes its debut today, February 19, 2019.

Stellar’s informed-outlook is the result of a spectacular new, improved name that the Daily Observer Newspaper has reformatted. STELLAR, as stated above, leaves nothing to chance, thanks to our formal recognition of this paper’s long-established religious convictions — that have informed and continue to strengthen our analyses and our predictions. Need we say anything about our corporate commitment to Standard English — a hallmark of our professional pursuits, also added? We leave that to our readers! THANKS.

Chief Justice Francis Korkpor

C.J. Korkpor bites the bullet

A week or so ago, the impeachment trial of Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh was announced by a number of newspapers. Rather than just the event, the more important point of interest, a Journalism 101 class at B. W. Harris, was told, was whether or not Chief Justice Francis Korkpor would allow himself to be deterred from doing his duty by presiding over those proceedings as mandated (ordered) by the Liberian Constitution.

As was expected by most — citizens and foreigners included — the Chief Justice was on hand on Thursday, February 14, 2019, to carry out his duties as the Daily Observer knew he would. On Monday, February 18, the case resumed, as scheduled, though the CJ saved his ruling on the recusal for today.

Needless to say, a number of individuals had hoped that the situation would have turned out otherwise. Several who felt hopeful, had gone as far as saying that a problem could result from the Chief Justice’s decision to perform as ordered.  One of those, unfortunately, had been the incoming president of the Liberian National Bar Association, Counselor Tiawan Gongloe, who believed and argued that a constitutional crisis loomed, (was hanging over the country) and could erupt if this Chief Justice remained involved.

GONGLOE GETS IT WRONG

But Gongloe had it all wrong: the Chief Justice would have generated more problems by not doing his duty, instead of the other way around!

No, that was not going to happen, and this paper went out of its way to suggest to our friend and brother, Gongloe, that he should have been reading up and following the discussions related to the impeachment morass, (mess) and where it was certain to be headed when the process got underway.

“Gongloe should have listened up… for once”

Is how we earlier began this article; of course, caught up in plans and activities of his own, Counselor Gongloe had missed out on some of the discussions and developments, it occurred to us. We met at one point and suggested that “he should have been listening up for once, letting the Chief Justice find his own way out of the mess he and others found themselves submerged in.”

That would have left uncomplicated, some of the issues that underlay the piece of “nyenebee,” (one of Donald Trump’s favorite words) (that this judiciary had flirted with, only to find itself falling headlong into some messy pit.

The Chief Justice, we felt, had more than enough on his plate to deal with, at that point in time. Gongloe’s suggestion that Chief Justice Korkpor had the luxury to simply stonewall, (refuse to serve, “just say no”) was naïve, to say the least.

To repeat, had Brother Gongloe passed up suggesting that the CJ simplistically, (crudely) stonewalled, (refused to do as asked or do as expected); that would have been a rejection of a constitutionally- assigned, ‘call-to-impeachment-duty,’ that he could not afford to fumble, (drop)!’

Would Chief Justice Francis Korkpor have disregarded the stark, (bare, severe) realities on the ground at that point in time, as last year’s festive season moved into overdrive? We did not think so.

Kabineh M. Ja’neh

The CJ Needs to Do What He Must

We did not see the CJ pretending that walking away from his responsibility was the way to avoid what was being exaggerated, (blown up) as ‘a national-crisis-in-the-making’!

No, he would not have submitted to that, as we tried to explain earlier. Too much was riding on the CJ conducting himself skillfully — this time around — rather than subscribe, (consent, agree) to some of the goings-on — a few of which had boomeranged!

The case resumed on Monday, March 18, with a commentator, Counselor Jonathan Massaquoi, beginning the day with an article in the Daily Observer, reiterating, (repeating) that problems could be created if the Chief Justice declined to conduct the preceding as the Constitution commands.

Mr. Massaquoi pointed out that the Chief Justice would be in complete violation of Article 43 of the Constitution had he agreed to step away from the impeachment proceedings.

Needless to say, it gets worse when people cry “prejudice,” or “bias,” but remain unable to say why — thus taking their claim or argument to its logical conclusion, by proving or showing facts that support their demand or appeal!

Albert Porte redux

Take this very case of Chief Justice Francis Korkpor being asked to keep himself out of the impeachment proceedings, precisely because those calling for his withdrawal want to make it seem that the Chief Justice might show some prejudice or bias.

Do those making that call have the gall to look back over the facts recorded from one of the very impeachment-related cases in point — that involves Associate Justice Ja’neh and The Widow, Annie Yancy Constance — and name for this readership, who benefitted from these litigations. Was it Annie Constance of Justice Ja’neh?

Do they have the gall, in yet another related case: the EcoBank case — also at Bar — that accorded those leading the impeachment, levels another count against Associate Justice Ja’neh as an impeachable offense? Was it Eco-Bank that prevailed in that case, according to the impeachment count listing? Or was it Justice Ja’neh?

Based on the above, the relevant question — ceases to be whether the Chief Justice might behave as he did in the past; that question is moot. The test that Chief Justice Korkpor faces, is this: what do these facts — and, perhaps, facts from other litigations — instruct, that make it plain that the law is not stupid, and neither are the Liberian people.

As the venerable pamphleteer said to his friend and brother, President William V. S. Tubman again and again: “a thing cannot both be and not be — certainly, not at the same time!”

The game is up

The Chief Justice realized some time ago that some things have run their course, and it is time to do what is right; something we all must do — at one point or the other — as “we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, (Allah).”

He had done everything he could — even bending over backward — trying to shore the system up. But today, there is nowhere left to turn — and it has become clear that it was all in vain, and he has to begin doing what is right. There is nowhere else to go.

1 COMMENT

  1. What a masterpiece of an insightful commentary! Thanks so much, K. Neville for bringing down an otherwise complicated juridical construct to our layman’s level and understanding. Great job indeed.

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