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THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER

RULE OF LAW IN GOOD GOVERNANCE

 

 

Today, The Truth of the Matter (TTM) has observed that some Liberian Government supporters are now condemning the Ellen news_img_1510.jpgJohnson Sirleaf administration for the release of Mr. Acarious Gray from prison. Even her main detractors are confused over why he was release from prison so early.

 Their lack of knowledge on the due process of law has kept them quiet (without further criticisms on the president on this matter). I almost became a part of that bandwagon, but was quickly reminded of the doctrine and principles of TTM ("The truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God"). My temperament and emotion then became subdued after reflecting that indeed a civilized society upholds what is referred to as the "Rule of Law in Good Governance". So my friends, unlike others, my posture changed regarding the release of Brother Gray from prison for allegedly violating state laws.

Guidance of the Lesson of Civics:

During our school days, civics was taught from primary to secondary school levels. It is the study of government (its structures and functions); and citizens' duties to their government and society. TTM researched and realized that in a democratic representative form of government like ours, there are three distinct chambers -the Legislative, Executive and Judiciary. Each having its separate functions and responsibilities that are not to be overlapped or interfered with by any of the others.

The Legislature (House of Representatives and Senate respectively) reviews our laws and amend any act if need be; promulgate new laws and major national policies; confirms all major nominees before being appointed by the president to state positions; and remove from office elected individuals (including the president), justices of the Supreme Court and judges (for abrogation of the constitution) through impeachment proceedings. In essence and reality, the Legislature is the actual appointer of state officials since indeed the presidents' appointing authority depends on the approval of the Legislature. TTM would like to refer you to the case of Interim President Amos Sawyer vs the Interim Legislative Assembly (ILA) over the renomination of Dr. Baron Tarr as Finance Minister. But the ILA rejected twice the president's nominee. Sawyer had no option but to withdraw Tarr's nomination and replaced him with Francis Karpeh. This scenario is just one of those shining examples of good governance.

The Executive Branch is the coordinating, executing and enforcement authority (not power though) of government with less interference into legislative and judicial matters. This branch headed by the president, signs bills convinced to be in the interest of the state and citizens into laws; approves the national budget; and serves as Commander in Chief (CIC) of the army and all paramilitary forces. The president has that statutory dispensation to grant clemency based on strong and prudent discretion with the highest benefit of the country and people taken into consideration. The president's authority extends to appointment of non-elected officers of government. Importantly though, he or she is limited when it comes to the removal of members of the Supreme Court and other judges. He can only petition the Legislature for the impeachment of any member for cause (reference the case of the Liberian Government vs Chea Cheapo). The Executive Chamber of government has a huge conglomeration of state responsibilities.

The Judiciary Branch interprets the laws through our court system. The Supreme Court and all other forms of courts within the territorial limits of Liberia fall under the Judicial Branch. The Supreme Court is the highest and final arbitrator of the land. It is headed by the Chief Justice. It adjudicates cases and renders judgments in accordance with the constitution (its extended elements and other state ordinances), or precedence where necessary and applicable. The Supreme Court reviews the laws of the republic and advises the House for corrective amendments where it is convinced and deems that such provision(s) is in contrast or repugnant to other statutes of the country or international organizations (United Nations, African Union, ECOWAS, Mano River Union, etc.) to which Liberia subscribes.

Old Traditions Vs the Rule of Law in Good Governance

Now that it has availed the premises for its argument, TTM would like to draw the attention of those pundits of the Liberian government on a number of developments in our country with specific reference to the incarceration of Mr. Acarious Gray and his subsequent release from prison.. Two of those myths hunting critics of the Liberian Government are old political culture (tradition), and the general perception that the government is the president.

The truth of the matter is that a good percentage of our Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate Degree holders hanging around here (USA) have yet to comprehend that the president is not the government nor the government, the president. This is so true because a lot of them did not do the foundational program of civics either at home or here in the USA. Worst of all, they are not even prepared to learn (Who the cap fits, let them wear it). In our representative democratic settling, the government is an institution duly elected by the people (authority from the people); for the people (representing the peoples' interest); and of the people (emerging from within the citizens). So who is the government then? Is it a handful of people sitting on an island, or rather, does the government include all of us citizens (farmers, carpenters, students, electricians, yannaboys, police, market women, judges, poor people, wealthy people, teachers, doctors, nurses, etc.)? TTM would like to know (simple civics).

The truth is that some of them had least managed or supervised any business or institution with a minimum of ten persons. TTM then wonders how these detractors could understand the complex nature and business of government in a society emerging from fourteen years of bitter conflict that devastated almost all the major infrastructures and cultural fabric of their nation.

TTM is of the belief that no president under a constitutional democracy ought to issue a writ of arrest for any citizen in a normal circumstance for allegedly violating the laws of the land; nor would the president issue a release from prison of such a criminal. So my people, let's re-balance our emotion and attitude towards the Liberian government; and maintain a positive posture and confidence in the president, cause she knows far better when it comes to the rule of law in good governance. After all, this government has a judicial system that accords alleged law-breakers the due process of the law. If this were not so, our prisons would have been jammed packed by now with individuals for acts of economic, social and political criminal mischief. This was the order of the day of past Liberian governments since the birth of our beloved republic. And because we have become so chronic to this sort of political tradition of the pats, we do not want to change our frame of mind.

TTM would like to therefore remind us all that gone are those days, and that a new order of the rule of law is now dawning. No matter the volume of charges or gravity of Mr. Gray's offenses against the Liberian people, it is the Justice Ministry's prerogative (without being told by any one) to prosecute him; and the jurisdiction of the court to vindicate and exempt him from those charges. And that is the "Truth of the Matter" in the exercise of the "Rule of Law in Good Governance".

 

About the Author: J. Sackie Kennedy: BSc Ed., University of Liberia; Former History Teacher, W. V. S. Tubman High and Seven Day Adventist High School; Former Secretary General (CEO), Liberia Football Association; Former Secretary General, Bong Kwatekeh MN Chapter; Former Board Member, OLM; Former Board Chairman, PRO USA, Inc; Former President, William V. S. Tubman High School Alumni Association in The Americas

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