Thursday, October 14, 2010

PUL Former Boss Massaley: “Liberian Legislature is Weak and Ineffective”

By: Jeffrey Johnson

Source: The Liberian Journal


Mr. Abraham G. Massaley

Abraham G. Massaley
October 12, 2010: Former Press Union of Liberia (PUL) President, Mr. Abraham G. Massaley has said that the current legislature is weak and ineffective and President Sirleaf has become too powerful. He said the 52nd legislature has turned out to be a rubber stamp, seconding almost everything from President Sirleaf, including contracts for ratification, many of which are not in the long term interest of Liberia but ratified at lightning speed. He said the judiciary too has not demonstrated independence, noting that we still have a judiciary that is not insulated from political control. Mr. Massaley however warned that the more powerful a president becomes, the fewer restraints others can put on him/her, noting that this has shown to be a recipe for build-up of conflict and political turmoil in Liberia.

Mr. Massaley said there is no check and balance in the government headed by President Sirleaf, and accountability is the weakest point of the Sirleaf administration. He said nearly all legislations passed so far by this legislature have come from the Executive, and none has been rejected or significantly altered despite the fact that many needed to. He said all actions of President Sirleaf have gone unchecked by the legislature even including appointments of individuals in elective positions. He said if the United States Embassy had not intervened, the Maritime Bill which is the worst so far from President Sirleaf would have passed exactly as written effectively surrendering the nation’s maritime funds to the President’s loyalists. He said this legislature is the worst in recent memories, saying it appears that the members are self-serving and the national interest is on the back burner. But he warned that weaker democratic institutions such as the legislature and the courts do not guarantee political stability in Liberia.

In the message marking the 46th anniversary of the PUL, the former PUL President warned that if the current political trend continues, and as the United Nations reduces its large presence in Liberia, there is a real fear of a second phase in this campaign, which is human right abuses and muzzling of press freedom, to further consolidate President Sirleaf’s grip on state power as it was the case in the past. He said President Sirleaf is already using “soft weapon” to destroy multi party democracy and political competition in Liberia, pointing out that President Sirleaf has succeeded in silencing some of her loudest opponents with offer of government jobs in a country where unemployment is nearly 90%.

The former PUL President said “our government is still designed to work as it was designed over half a century ago where the President is King, sycophancy is the governing ideology, corruption is the modus operandi, and loyalty to the President is the substitute for nationalism.” He said “administrations after administrations, Liberia continues in the same cycle where the majority live in abject poverty while many who hold top government positions get richer, live in bigger houses, and drive around in luxury cars”. He said “our system of government, with an imperial presidency, weak legislature and weak judiciary does not work, and will not work”, noting that under this system, “there will always be one Liberia for corrupt politicians, their families and friends, and another Liberia that brings miseries and untold human sufferings to the rest of the population.” He said the 1980 bloody military takeover and 14 years of civil war have taught us (Liberians) nothing.

Mr. Massaley said the current leaderships of the senate and house are at the bottom of the performance scale, have no spine and are afraid to see themselves opposing President Sirleaf on national issues even though in many instances such opposition has been necessary to ensure check and balance, and for the good of the nation. He said recent Daily Observer publication of reports that some members of the Legislature, were being allegedly “tantalized with brown envelops or material gifts, including cars to indirectly or directly influence their decisions on matters of national concern”, needed immediate investigation but said the senate and house leaderships failed to take action. He said even the confirmation process has become a “legislative mockery” with the senate in the ugly business of rejecting before confirming nominees. He said the only real power the senate has shown is to cite its critics for contempt.

Mr. Massaley said the continued silence by the Supreme Court in the recent petition for Writ of Prohibition filed against the Threshold Resolution is an indication that the constitution and the rule of law are once again under assault in Liberia. He said the threshold lawsuit was a “test case” to see whether the Supreme Court can be trusted and taking seriously when it comes to “hot button” political issues where President Sirleaf has vested political interest.

He said so far the Johnny Lewis bench has not distinguished itself from the Supreme Court of the one-party-True Whip Party (TWP) era when it comes to the power of the people verses power of the president as it is becoming evident that President Sirleaf will have her way whether constitutional or not. The former PUL President said in practice, Liberia has virtually become once again a one-party state even though the ruling party is in the minority. He warned that this “bad may become worst after the 2011 general elections if President Sirleaf’s Unity Party becomes the majority party in the Legislature”.

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Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah



Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah

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