Liberia: A vote of Cowardice Cast Dark Clouds Over Impeachment of Supreme Court Justice
SENATOR SANDO B. JOHNSON (NPP, BOMI) threw out an open challenge Tuesday, urging his peer, Senator Prince Y. Johnson (NUDP, Nimba) to make public his ballot cast in last week’s impeachment of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, Kabineh Ja’neh. “I challenge Prince Johnson now, let him demand his ballot paper – he and Senator Thomas Grupee and make it public so that the entire nation can know how he really voted, the Bomi Senator said Tuesday during an appearance on The Costa Show.
THE CHALLENGE comes less than 48 hours after Senator Prince Johnson declared that he and fellow Nimba County Senator, Grupee voted against Justice Ja’neh’s impeachment.
SAID SENATOR JOHNSON: “Tom Grupee and I whose citizen was in trouble definitely could not be the ones to vote against, nobody saw my vote. So, how in the world somebody will come and say to me and Tom Grupee voted against Kabineh Ja’neh?”
SENATOR PRINCE JOHNSON’S claim that he voted against Justice Ja’neh’s impeachment is raising a lot of eyebrows with Senator Sando Johnson making it emphatically clear that if the two Nimba County Senators – Johnson and Grupee had indeed cast a vote against Justice Ja’neh, the justice would have not been impeached.
THIS IS THE VERY reason why many were concerned when Senate Pro Temp Albert Chie decided on his own to change the rules of the voting in the eleventh hour, going as far as refusing to count the ballots in the presence of his peers and even taking the box home when he should have displayed more transparency and accountability in such a sensitive matter.
SENATOR SANDO JOHNSON lamented Tuesday that Senators failed the Liberian people by ignoring the constitution of the land. “The constitution was grossly violated by us. These Senators who did this to us, who grossly violated our constitution for whatever reason I don’t know but the people in their counties must send them a message. If I was running, I would tell my people in Bomi not to vote for me. Because anybody who grossly violate the constitution should not hold any elected or appointed position in our country because it is an organic law that guarantees the safety of all and guarantees the survival of our country.”
THE SENATOR RAISED a good point. “If we are now violating it, who will want to put money in Liberia? which the investor would want to come here when Liberia is become a lawless place? So, we have to stand up. That’s what I said to the Pro Temp that was the last time he ever insulted me like that in the form and manner. The next time he repeats that, I will do it the same way – because there is no more law in Liberia.”
SENATOR SANDO JOHNSON’s argument is that, if Senator Prince Johnson could go public to state that he went to Justice Ja’neh’s house because the regime does not want him to be Associate Justice, then the entire impeachment saga was politically motivated. So, who is the head of the regime? The President.”
THE CLOUD OF SECRECY under which Justice Ja’neh’s impeachment was undertaken spells danger for Liberia’s bourgeoning democracy.
WHEN LAWMAKERS elected by the people to serve and protect the constitution, breach those laws in broad-day light – and under the clout of darkness, it shows that those in positions of authority are nothing short of cowards.
GAIUS JULIUS CAESAR known by his nomen and cognomen as Julius Caesar, a Roman politician, military general, and historian who played a critical role in the rise of the Roman empire once said: “Cowards die many times before their deaths, the valiant never taste of death but once.”
IN ESSENCE, a person “dies” a little inside each time he or she chickens out, meaning that he or she loses a little strength of character each time he or she refuses to face a challenge of life.
SUCH IS THE CASE of the bunch of Senators who voted to impeach Justice Ja’neh.
OUR POSITION IS not one in support or against Justice Ja’neh but in defense of the constitution of the Republic. If we as a nation allow sitting elected officials to openly impeach a member of the judicial or any branch without a fair and transparent due process, we are doom for failure and have simply learned nothing from our history – sadly, after 171 years of existence as an independent nation.
OUR FAILURE AS A NATION to put our leaders in check when such open display of disregard of the laws are being flouted is a recipe for disaster and a disservice to those who entrusted our leaders with the power to govern. THE LEADERS OF the Executive, Judiciary and Legislative branches of government Must take note and work toward maintaining our post-war peace and mustering the courage to right the wrongs of the past that led us down a spiral slope of violence and chaos, no one wants to revisit.