A Patriot’s Diary with Ekena Wesley
The success of any leader is characterized by the configuration of the leadership built around him or her. But when absolute power leads to corruption absolutely, the ramifications become untenable. Liberia’s latest controversial Chief Justice, it would seem, is set to make unprecedented history. On the heels of an unpopular overturn of the Bar’s Judiciary Grievances & Ethics Committee’s decision, which was unanimously backed by the full Bench of the Honorable Supreme Court led by retired Chief Justice, Francis Korkpor, we are being greeted by yet another grotesque judicial development. Certainly, leaders have a way of making history. Sometimes, they do so from an ill-informed or draconian perspective.
In this day and age when the CDC-led government has taken five years to pass MCC’s scorecard, it is simply unheard of that the judiciary would be engaging in an act of recklessness only based on some parochial interest. No one needs to embark on any special schooling that the regime is seriously challenged. In most instances, enablers of a clueless administration would seek to bamboozle the masses with inept phraseology – often citing irrational global economic variables as it were.
We are talking about one government – that includes the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary. The judiciary cannot be seen as advocating for itself when our teachers and nurses are struggling with months of unpaid arrears. It would be foolhardy for anyone to contrive that the Minister of Finance and Development Planning would deliberately opt to stifle or stall the work of the Judiciary Branch of Government, especially at a time when the MCC’s benchmarks were being scrupulously peer-reviewed under the watch of President George Weah’s government.
The Supreme Court’s categorical decision to order the arrest of Finance Minister, Samuel Tweah is arbitrary and without justification. Perhaps since the Supreme Court is at the center of the rule of law, it would make sense to shed notes on which provision of our laws has been flagrantly violated by the Finance and Development Planning Minister. What does the Public Financial Management Law (PFML) say? Could someone at the Temple of Justice illuminate Liberians where the Finance Minister has gone wrong?
What we see here today is simply a repeat or redux of a debacle that involved the National Legislature versus former Finance and Development Planning Minister, Amara M. Konneh. The 53rd Legislature had cited contempt as the basis for the arrest and imprisonment of Amara Konneh at the time. The unfortunate incident was purported to flex muscles – an iron fist in content that mellowed down against the preconceived interest of lawmakers who wanted to settle personal scores with Amara Konneh. Sometimes it is just inconceivable how proponents in the legislature use contempt powers at their whims and caprices.
Why would Minister Samuel Tweah opt for whatever reason to deliberately stall the functions of a critical arm of the government after all? Tweah is at the center of a strategic process as conditioned by the Millennium Challenge Account scorecard review. He is aware of the rule of law as a cardinal indicator in the entire exercise. So why would he intentionally and willfully decide to stall the functions of the judiciary? Granted Tweah were to harbor any such intention, what purpose would it serve or seek to achieve as it were?
Leaders anywhere in the world cannot trumpet selfish interests, especially when we are talking about one government with three branches that are operating independently and in a coordinated manner. The Full Bench of the Honorable Supreme Court erred in its unqualified support for an erroneous decision ordering the arrest of the Finance and Development Planning Minister, Sam Tweah. The Minister could be carrying a burden of political sins but the Supreme Court did not get this one right.
The Chief Justice or any of the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court did not have to threaten the Tweah with arrest in order to force the Finance and Development Planning Minister into submission. Why should Minister Tweah be treated as a common criminal? What happens if the Finance Minister is arrested, shamed, and paraded before the courtyard of the Temple of as per the dictates of the Full Bench of the Supreme Court, only to realize that the existing national envelope cannot act with immediacy? It would have been a complete waste of time and energy to invoke a draconian-styled power play.
A single CDC-governed regime cannot operate as we had in the days of splintered rebel groups across the country jostling for territory and supremacy in a belligerent act of recklessness to loot, maim, pillage, and destroy the country. An invitation to the Minister of Finance would have made sense and informed logic. A show of strength with such bravado just to prove a point is simply not worth it. There are many major legal tussles that would require the timely intervention of the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court cannot become a satirical crybaby before the public glare. A judicious interpretation of the law without fear of favor based on merits is what the good people of Liberia desire and nothing less. As leaders in our country, a second thought from the Supreme Court that our teachers and nurses be prioritized should have been the foremost reckoning if you may. True leaders don’t put themselves first, they make and ensure the ordinary people are first. That’s leadership!