Expulsion, Suspension of Lawmakers Will Pose Threats To Liberia’s Democratic Process – Rev. Kortu K. Brown
Monrovia – The President of the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC), Rev. Kortu K. Brown, has called on members of Legislature to desist from burning their energies on investigating a colleague for making alleged disparaging comments against Legislature.
Rev. Brown said citizens, particularly lawmakers, should refrain from acts that have the proclivity to paint Liberia’s fledgling democracy ugly to rest of the world and focus on finding solutions and approaches to defeat the Coronavirus pandemic instead of going after few of their colleagues for exercising their constitutional rights.
He made these assertions in a recent interview with FrontPageAfrica at his offices in Brewerville city.
He maintained that freedom of speech and expression is guarantee under the Liberian laws, and as such, citizens should not be penalized based upon their expressed opinions or statements that do not suit a group of people.
“This country will have to brace itself for diversity of views or opinions. Somebody may say something, and you may not like the way they say it. But it does not mean we should be intolerant. We should do the best we can to ensure that we excuse ourselves from attitudes that will suggest to the world that we are running an intolerant democracy in Liberia”.
He continued: “It will not serve us well when we try to encourage attitude of intolerance in our governance process. We should allow people to speak their minds. If they say things that we don’t like all of the time, we should remind them that, they didn’t speak well; but we should not stop them from speaking or penalize them just because they said something that we didn’t like”.
Bishop Brown warned that Liberia would experience growing wave of intolerance that could threaten its democratic process if “grave actions” including suspension and expulsion, are taken against legislators for their feelings or thoughts expressed.
“Who hasn’t cussed in this country (Liberia) before? People always cussing. This is a country where people always cuss. Is it right? No. But we have to temper that with the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech and expression and the need for tolerance within a democratic society like ours”.
The LCC’s President comments come in the wake of an ongoing investigation initiated by the leadership of the Liberian Senate against Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon.
Senator Dillon is the Vice Chairman for Political Affairs of the Liberty Party (LP), one of the opposition parties that make up the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP).
“This country will have to brace itself for the diversity of views or opinions. Somebody may say something, and you may not like the way they say it. But it does not mean we should be intolerant. We should do the best we can to ensure that we excuse ourselves from attitudes that will suggest to the world that we are running an intolerant democracy in Liberia”.– Rev. Korto Brown, President, Liberia Council of Churches
The investigation of the Montserrado County Senator stemmed from a communication addressed to the Senate by Lofa County Senator George Tengbeh, accusing Senator Dillon of publicly ridiculing his colleagues by using harsh words including “rotten, spineless and useless”.
Though the Senate leadership, through Senate Pro-Tempore Albert Chie, has clarified that the body does not intend to suspend or expel Senate Dillon, an Ad-hoc committee has been setup to investigate the complaint filed against the Liberty Party lawmaker.
But Bishop Brown indicated that the current situation at the Liberian Senate is a complete deviation from the fight against the pandemic.
He urged lawmakers to redirect their energies and focus on the eradication of the virus from the country.
“We have a major health crisis on our heads and people are trying to get at one another; this is a politics of acrimony intended to make noise. It deviates from the fight against the Coronavirus. This fight is not for only the Ministry of Health, or the National Public Health Institute (NPHIL). Lawmakers should join the fight”.