Friday, September 16, 2011

Liberia: Elections Hurdles Imminent

Daily Observer:  Elections Hurdles Imminent As Court Hears Residency Clause Case
By: Keith Morris

The opposition Movement for Progressive Change (MPC) and a group of Liberians under the banner Concerned Citizens of Liberia, yesterday filed a peremptory writ of prohibition at the Supreme Court challenging recent decision taken by the Elections Commission to certified all of the sixteen presidential candidates for the electoral process.

The groups, in their petition to Justice in Chambers Jameselta Wolokollie in special session yesterday, highlighted that the Elections Commission illegally and unconstitutionally qualified and certified Ellen Johnson of the Unity Party (UP), Winston Tubman of Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), Dew Tuan Wleh Mayson of National Democratic Coalition (NDC) and Rev. Kennedy Sandy of Liberia Transformation Party (LTP).

Some of the political names protested by the groups include but are not limited to, Prince Y. Johnson of National Union for Democratic Progress (NUDP), Cecelia Ndebe of Liberia Reconstruction Party and Charles Walker Brumskine of Liberty Party (LP).

The petitioners also filed a lawsuit against the National Elections Commission for an act the groups claimed is illegal and counterproductive to democracy.

Under the MPC claims as filed, the political institution explained that in keeping with the statutory and constitutional powers of the Elections Commission as a sole electoral body under the 1986 Constitution, and MPC being a legal institution, it is under obligation to compel the Commission and other political institutions to respect and honor every statutory law governing elections, including but not limited to Article 52(c) of the Constitution.

In her writ, the MPC legal team, headed by Cllr. John D. Barlone, noted that consistent with its statutory responsibilities as provided for under Section 2.9(n) of the New Elections Law, NEC is mandated “to vet and scrutinize all candidates for elective public officers and accredit their candidacy, and /or reject the candidacy of any, who has not met up with or is not qualified.”
The group maintained that section 15.2 of the New Electoral Laws, relating to registration of candidates was not followed by the Commission during the registration process for which NEC must account.

“Section 2.9(a) of the New Elections Law also requires NEC to administer and enforce all laws relative to the conduct of elections in Liberia, especially the 1986 Constitution.

“As the Constitution expressly states ‘No person shall be eligible to hold the office of president or vice president unless that person is a resident in the Republic ten years prior to his election…” The word “resident,” as used in Article 52(c), refers to a person, who shall be eligible to hold the office of president or vice president only if he or she resides in the Republic ten years prior to his election.
“The word Resident as used in the article is synonymous to domicile which is unchanging, stationary and comes from the Latin word “Domus” which means a dwelling house or home; it also refers to place where an individual has a true, fixed and permanent home to which he/she intends to return whenever he/she is absent.

“The Republic in which a person is to hold the office of president or vice president shall reside or be a resident for ten years prior to his election is unmovable, fixed and will continue to exist as long Liberia remains a statehood in the comity of nations and therefore, is inarguably synonymous to a domicile,” MPC defense team asserted.

Concerned Citizens of Liberia who also filed petitions to the high court include Abraham G. Massaley and Sayku Kromah, among others.

NEC is to appear before the court on Friday September 16, 2011 with her legal team, including its Chairman James Fromayan and all Commissioners while the Ministry of Justice will be represented by Cllr. Christiana Tah, Minister of Justice and all her deputies and assistants, including Solicitor General and all attorneys of the Ministry. They are all expected to be in court.

According to documents received from the court, Unity Party is to be represented by its Chairman, standard bearer and legal team in court, including all other political parties involved with the legal issues.

NEC on last week, released a list of 16 candidates for the presidency in the ensuing elections; something that has caused serious mixed reactions among the public as to who is qualified to contest and not.

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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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