The Euphoria Of Independence Day Celebrations

By Bai M. Gbala, Sr.
Contributing Writer

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
July 31, 2017



On yesterday, Wednesday, July 26, 2017, we, Liberians, celebrated the 170th Birth Anniversary of the Liberian Political State, with the usual, historical pomp and pageantry. The back-slapping, family gatherings, gifts-giving and merry-making festivities of self-praise, feel-good and self-glorification now leading to another political hoopla for vote-rigging planned for the forthcoming general and Presidential Elections, scheduled for October, 2017.

This planned, hopeful hoopla of the continuous, continuing “you chop, they chop and I chop” is made possible through history of deceit, treachery, lies, thievery, public dishonesty, graft & greed and the “over-night, rags-to-riches” system by the nation’s political rulers/managers, while the critical needs of nation and its citizens have sunk, are sinking deeper and deeper to the great beyond of abject poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, etc.

No one, not even the wealthy political ruler/manager, can get into his/her late model, top-of-the-line, expensive SUV and drive to the scenic, seaside city of Robertsport, Capital of Cape Mount County and the potential tourist attraction of the breath-taking, scenic beauty of Lake Piso, both just about an hour’s drive from Monrovia, because of an ancient, pot-holed, quarter-mile laterite road from the paved Liberia/Sierra Leon highway to the city of Robertsport, home of several, leading political bigwigs who own and live in mansions on Monrovia’s Tubman Boulevard.

The only paved, 4-Lane thoroughfare in Liberia, the pride of the citizens, is the approximate ten-mile Tubman Boulevard that commences from the junction of Capitol Bye-Pass/Camp Johnson Road on Capitol Hill to ELWA Junction in Paynesville. Traffic jams are Monrovia’s 24/7  nightmares, because, apparently, all vehicles imported to Liberia are concentrated, crammed in the Monrovia area, but no roads to ply, also, because there are no safe, efficient highways in rural Liberia.

And, most importantly, because the primary, “major” and “secondary” streets/roads in the capital city, paved/unpaved, designed and built some 50-60 years ago, are now decayed and dilapidated with deep pot-holes and dust during the dry seasons and hills of mud during the rainy seasons. These roads/streets are now incapable to facilitate, safely and smoothly, the massively increased volume of vehicular/pedestrian traffic in the capital city.

Moreover, the capital City of Monrovia is a tiny peninsula with “suburbs” or enclaves, over-populated and congested, by rural-to-urban migrants and their born-here voting-age (18 years and over) children now the majority of nation’s population teeming in the enclaves.  The socio-economic and political condition of the hundreds of thousands of these young people, unemployed, hungry, angry and often sick but without healthcare delivery service; street-smart, un-educated and ignored, but the convenient source of recruitment for drug-dealing with introduction to substance abuse, prostitution and high crime as well as an “attractive” opportunity for illegal income leading, eventually, to the nightmare of Slum Democracy compounds, economically, and renders city governance inefficient and ineffective.

Emergence of the “Code of Conduct” Scandal
Now, barely a day or two after the euphoria of Independence Day celebrations, there is ferocious attack against Law - of law-making (National Legislature); observance & obedience (all citizens, including the law-makers); enforcement (the Executive Government); and interpretation (trial & punishment by the Courts, headed by the Supreme Court) - by a prominent member of the National Legislature, the Upper House, in the person of the Honorable Senator Dan Morais (NPP, Maryland County), that the Republic of Liberia is “ a Lawless Nation” (New Democratnews, July 28, 2017),growing from, apparent contradictory decisions by the Supreme Court of Liberia, as we shall see later.

First, the Case against Cllr. Korkoya
In an Article entitled  The Power of the President of Liberia (Analyst Liberia, March 3, 2013), we held that “The National Elections Commission (NEC), the Nation’s Referee and lawful manager of the Electoral Process that determines the most powerful chief executive in the land, is seen by the Liberian People as being manipulated and controlled by ruling political parties and that the NEC’s lawful responsibilities of (1), registration and management of political parties; (2), over-sight of parties’ financing; registration of voters, control of political campaigns and management of the Electoral Process; (3), tabulation and announcement of results; and (4), adjudication of complaints have not been free, fair, transparent, democratic and legal, as we have seen and experienced”.

Elsewhere recently, we reported that Cllr. Jerome Korkoya, current Chairman of the National Elections Commissions (NEC), was taken before the Supreme Court (Associate Justice Philip A. Z. Banks, III, in Chambers) on charges that he (Cllr. Korkoya) is citizen of a foreign country (USA) in violation of Liberian Elections Laws, including laws against dual citizenship and that he lied under oath during confirmation hearings. In asking the High Court for a Writ of Prohibition against the Counselor, the accusers submitted overwhelming, validated evidence, including the number of Cllr. Korkoya’s US Passport, date and place of US naturalization.  

Based on the strength – veracity – of the evidence submitted, conclusion of a guilty verdict, issuance of the requested Writ of Prohibition and possible removal of Cllr. Korkoya as Chairman of NEC are inevitable. Moreover, Cllr Korkoya, who did not, does not, deny the charges against him, told the High Court that “those making the claim (charges against him) areopening a Pandora Box’ . . . why come after me . . . take the issue up with the Executive government (represented by the President) that appointed me (Front Page Africa, June 20, 2017)”. 

Accordingly, indications which follow, reasonably, from the evidence provided are that a direct, inevitable guilty verdict against Cllr. Korkoya implicates the President of Liberia as an accessory and, therefore, she should and must be prosecuted for the offense,becauseshe appointed, knowingly, Cllr. Korkoya who is legally-incompetent to hold such position but, thereby, aided/abetted Cllr. Korkoya in the commission of the offense. If she pleads lack of fore-knowledge, she is still liable for “not knowing” that which she should have known, as President of the nation.

Now, Associate Justice Philip A. Z. Banks, III, who, himself, is likely to be US citizen, dodged the inevitable decision of a guilty verdict against Cllr. Korkoya and issuance of the requested Writ of Prohibition by recommending that “Petitioner (accuser/prosecution) takes advantage of the statue by filing a petition for Declaratory Judgment at the Civil Law Court”, a lower court.

This suggestion appears to be the Liberian, traditional “legal gymnastics” designed to baffle, delay and, eventually, deny justice, because sending the case to the lower court, the provenden or storehouse of Liberian “legal gymnastics” of  jury-tempering and cash payments; judges’ decisions in favor of the highest bidder; massive public dishonesty and corrupt practices. The suggestion is tantamount to sending a hungry cat to a house of mice or a hungry lion to a den of antelopes. So, political Liberian observers and analysts conclude, reasonably, “leave Korkoya alone and in place”; protect the President from political shame and disgrace!!

The Code of Conduct
Now comes the proverbial load – the Code of Conduct – that broke the Camel’s back. Crafted by the (Dr. Amos) Sawyer-led “Book Doctor’s Club”, the powerful public policy theorist/counsel, the Governance Commission, the Code was designed, apparently, to disable formidable, political opponents. But the Code boomeranged, also, into the proverbial “town trap that is not for rat alone”, being an element of human desires in a rapidly changing choices of political alliance. The Governance Commission, even, tried to undo applicable sections of the law, but the dee-dee-bahs/mango-mangos were too obvious for comfort.

The Code of Conduct was part of the Executive Branch of Government’s Legislative program submitted to the Legislature, supported and guided through debate, analysis & passage. It (the Code) was signed into law by the President and published in handbills in June, 2014. Later, in March, 2017, the Supreme Court, by its constitutional authority, vetted and ruled the Code Constitutional and, therefore, binding law of the land.

Quite recently, in the case of young Abu Kamara Versus NEC, the Supreme Court held that Mr. Kamara could not contest for a seat as Representative because he was found in violation and gave a stern, legal warning lecture on recognition, respect, observation of and obedience to law, delivered by none other than His Honor, the Chief Justice, himself, of the Supreme Court.

The 360-degree Turn-around
But the same Supreme Court and same Judges/Justices delivered the ruling in the most recent case of Liberty (political Party) versus the NEC, involving Mr. Harrison Kanwea with extension to Messrs. Mills Jones of MOVEE and Sulunteh of ANC that stunned the Nation, Liberian political observers and analysts because it is a complete 360-degree turn-around, an apparent contradiction of their earlier rulings. The critical language translated, is that, though Messrs. Kanwea, Jones and Sulunteh are in violation of the Code, but they must be permitted to stand and contest.

Indeed, this Ruling has been, and is, the “talk” of the town, Monrovia, in posh restaurants, barbershops, salons, Fufu & Soup Cook-shops, residential dinner tables, side-walk intellectual encounters and the Monrovia grapevine, rumor mill because, the ruling raises fundamental questions regarding the historical problems that impact the lives of all Liberians, including, particularly, the majority – disadvantaged, poor and uneducated:

  1.  Of indigenous/country-, Americo- and congo-Liberian Divides; and
  2.  The problem of political control/manipulation of the judiciary and law enforcement.


The issue of the Divide (item 1 above) came into focus recently from the reported massive political/economic support of Cllr. Charles Bumskine - leader of the opposition Liberty Party who is African-American (therefore Americo-Liberian True Whig Party) political class that ruled Liberia for more than a century and continuing - by Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Flag Bearer of the ruling Unity Party, ineligible to stand for a third term who, according to education, life-style, attire (until lately, after the April, 1980 Event), mannerism, deportment and body language convey the reality that she (Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf) was, and also is, socio-culturally African-American and natural heritage of European-German descent, while she claims to be bio-physically indigenous, Liberian-African.

Furthermore, her rise to political power and careerbegan as Ideological foot-solder of the African-American (Americo-Liberian True Whig Party) of Liberia and, eventually, became the nation’s Minister of Finance.

Hence, Liberian political observers and analysts believe the motivation for continuation of the Divide in favor of the African-Americans of which Mrs. Ellen John-Sirleaf is member and to which she reportedly gave support to fellow member, Americo-Liberian, Cllr. Brumskine, although leader of the opposition political party to her ruling Unity Party, now headed by Vice President Boakai of Indigenous “Country” origin.

And finally, regarding item 2 above - the problem of political control and manipulation of the Judiciary and Law Enforcement – the causes are poverty and ignorance characterized by the American expression of “Catch-22”.


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