Liberia: Justice-In-Chamber ‘Allows’ COP to Go Ahead; Mandates Justice Minister to Identify Protesters’ Gather Point
Monrovia – Justice-In-Chamber Cllr. Joseph Nagbe has mandated the Minister of Justice, Cllr. Frank Musah Dean, to identify the venue where organizers of the much publicized June 7 protest will gather to petition the government.
Report by Kennedy L. Yangian [email protected]
Supreme Court’s Associate Justice Nagbe’s mandate comes after a closed door conference with Minister of Justice and ‘Citizens United to Sustain Peace and Democracy’, which last week filed a petition for a Writ of Mandamus with the Justice-In-Chamber to compel the Justice Minister to identify the “venue” for the June 7 protest. Members of the Council of Patriots, also attended the closed door meeting.
In the petition, the group added that Cllr. Dean had issued a permit to the organizers of the protest without showing them any venue, where they will gather to present the concerns to the government.
The petitioners contend that without showing a particular place for the protesters to gather will infringe on the free movement of non-protesters on that day and it would be a violation of the rights of the people under the Constitution.
Justice Minister Dean will have to report back to the Justice-In-Chamber Nagbe by Wednesday, June 5, 2019 to give the exact area where the protesters will gather on June 7.
Briefing reporters outside of the court Monday, June 3, the Chairman of the Citizens United to Sustain Peace and Democracy, Patrick Pokar Weah, indicated that the association’s position is that there should be a venue for the protest.
He stated that organizers of the protest told the Justice-In-Chamber that their event is no more a protest rather a peaceful assembly of the people to petition the government of their demands.
“The organizers of the June 7 event have assured the Associate Justice that the event is no longer a protest but rather a peaceful assembly of the people to petition the government of their demand and the assembly will last for a day,” said Weah.
Weah’s assertion that the assembly of the people will last for a day runs contrary to report coming from the Council of Patriots, who have maintained that they will remain in the streets for a week until the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Government of President George Manneh Weah can act on their demands and for how long it takes for the President to act, that is how long they intend to remain in the street.
However, popular talk-show host, Henry Pedro Costa, one of the main organizers of the June 7 protest, who attended the conference, briefly told reporters that the Associate Justice stated that he could not stop the June 7 protest because it was the right of the people under Article 17 of the 1986 Constitution to peacefully assemble and petition their representatives.
Costa further stated that the protesters will be meeting on the Capitol Hill on June 7 with their petition, which will center around three basic demands. According to Costa, they will, among other things, be demanding that the President fires the Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah and Central Bank Governor Nathaniel R. Patray, III; and for the President to declare his assets.