Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dictatorship on the Horizon - God IS WITH YOU FRONPAGE AFRICA!

Written by J. Aloysius Toe
Dear Rodney,

While sitting here in the academic sanctuary of the United States, I have been following your saga with the Supreme Court of Liberia.

Chief Justice Johnnie C. Lewis
In the quiet recesses of my heart, I am shocked but not surprised at the actions of Chief Justice Johnnie C. Lewis and his bench! I am Shocked because this action of a supposedly reasonable jurist like Justice Lewis is a poisonous bullet fired in the spinal chord of our emerging democratic tradition of free speech.

I am not surprised because I, too, personally received similar intimidating communication sometimes ago in 2008 (?) when I served as a panelist at the World Press Freedom Day celebrations at the invitation of the Press Union of Liberia during which I criticized the unlawful closure of the Independent Newspaper and cautioned that the Executive should not use the judiciary to muscle the press. In that letter, the Clerk of the Supreme Court wrote: "Dear Mr. Toe: By directive of His Honor, Johnnie C. Lewis, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, you are ordered to produce copy or recordings of your speech and/or all statements delivered at the World Press Freedom Day Celebration in which you reportedly made comments in reference to the courts of Liberia...". In my case, I presented copies of my statement through my lawyer at the time but indicated to Justice Lewis in a written communication that his actions suggested a hovering cloud of intimidation and suppression of basic freedoms reminiscent of the past of Liberia; and that nobody on earth could cow me into submission.

While your case may be a test case to gauge the direction in which Liberia is moving in terms of respect for free speech, it remains a highly deciding moment to pass judgment on the legal and moral rectitude and commitment-to-convictions & principles of Justice Francis Korkpor (former Chairman and lead lawyer of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission - JPC), Justice Jamesetta Wollokollie (relentless advocate of human rights, gender equality and former strong voice in the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia - AFELL), Justice Kabineh J'aneh (who before his rebel association - had exhibited strong commitment as a human rights lawyer defending the poor). All of these justices condemned the Taylor's administration for violation of free speech.

We wait to see what the outcome of their contempt proceedings will be. But whatever be the outcome, I encourage you to accept their verdict gracefully and with peace of mind, remembering the tragedy of Socrates and the saga of Antigone. Whether or not our Justices of the Supreme Court rationally believe that your action to publish the letter contravenes the law and brings the court to public ridicule (untruthfully) or they are simply accomplishing for the executive branch that which the executive branch could not accomplishing for it self for your critical stance on corruption against it, will be a matter for history to judge.

Lastly, brother in the fight, I want to paraphrase and use the words of an old Black American woman, Sister Pollard to the late civil rights leader, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to encourage you: "Know that we are with you. And even if we aren't with you, the Almighty God is with you". God is on your side! I believe the moral weight of the universe is with you because you are on the side of justice.

Remembering Albert Porte: one day we shall win that victory of free speech!

Yours in Solidarity

J. Aloysius Toe

News Headline

Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

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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