by Counselor Frederick A.B. Jayweh, LL.M (July30th 2005)
"...why aren’t these constitutional scholars packing their bags and flying from their foreign hiding places and back to River Gee, Gbarkpolu, grand Krue, and/or any of these under developed counties of Liberia ? Why aren’t ordinary Liberians flying from Monrovia and back to any of these named and purely under developed rural counties in Liberia ? And why is everyone flying back to Liberia , only by and through the Roberts International Air Port and not into the national air ports of Gbarkpolu, River Gee and/or grand krue counties? ...."
Unfortunately, it remains a stated fact that since Mr. Charles G. Taylor waged his senseless and unprincipled civil war in Liberia on December 24, 1989, the sovereign national right of Liberia to advocate and argue for the pure and strict construction and interpretation of its national Constitution and Statutorily laws consistent with its national sovereignty has always being tempered with and hampered by the so many un-statutory and unconstitutional decisions reached by the international community in the name of sustaining the peace, security and national stability in Liberia. There is no doubt that under these cases, war criminals and murders have been unconstitutionally permitted to administer the day-to-day affairs of Liberia without any challenge.
Moreover under these conditions, Liberia ’s national sovereignty has seriously and always been downcast and affected for the most part from top to bottom. Amongst those demonstrable and vivid cases in point are the many countless unstatutory and unconstitutional transitional governments that were drafted by foreign nationals, in foreign lands, transported by foreign nationals from foreign lands, and unconstitutionally imposed on Liberia and Liberians, since 1989. Under all of these cases, Liberian scholars and our today’s strict constitutional constructionists facilitated the process and benefited immensely from its outcome. Under these unconstitutional and un-statutory conditions, where were those strict constitutional constructionists, and what did they do to save Liberia ’s name and integrity?
Not only were these un-statutory and unconstitutional governments drawn up and micro-managed by foreign nationals, but sadly and unconstitutionally, is the fact that the past and present transitional heads-of-state were unconstitutionally required to report their day-to-day operations and functions to those foreign nationals consistent with the un-statutory and unconstitutional laws and policies crafted by the authorities of the Economic Community of West African States, (ECOWAS), the Organization of African Unity, (the OAU now AU), the United States, the United Nations, as well as contributing members of the international community. What standard was then advocated for and demanded then by our today’s strict and pure constitutional constructionists?
Though blatantly un-statutory and unconstitutional and although the national
Constitution of Liberia provides that any sovereign government sitting in Liberia must be elected by the sovereign people and certainly must consist of a sovereign president, vice president, elected members of the house of representatives and senate, sitting alongside with only constitutionally appointed officials by that constitutional government, the facts and transitional record of Liberia hold that unconstitutionally and un-statutorily, Liberia on countless occasions has been politically managed and administered by unelected leaders - in some cases one chairman and four vice chairmen. Was this not a conscious violation of the highest law of the land? Where then were those constitutional constructionists and those well known Liberian scholars when our Constitution was violated from top to bottom?
This statutory and unconstitutional violation of the Liberian Constitution clearly started from the administration of the Interim government of National Unity and ran up to Mrs. Ruth S. Perry, and now today, the transitional government of Mr. Charles G. Bryant, a leader who is today accused of misappropriating and misapplying about US$9, 000, 000, from the national treasury of the Republic of Liberia. Even today, while this article is under construction, the Bryant-led government was handpicked by war lords and war criminals, supervised by the international community- duly known to some today as bunch of foreign nationals interested in creating trusteeship and what have you in Liberia .
Liberia today not to dare mention, has sitting in Liberia only a house of legislative assembly and not a house of representatives and senate, as provided for and contained under the Statutory laws and the Constitution of Liberia. If this does not represent and constitute an outright and blatant violation of the laws of Liberia from top to bottom, then what really constitutes a violation of the Constitution and Statutory laws of Liberia ? Our educated scholars and strict constitutional constructionists must be dutiful and provide some thorough and well thoughtout answers. This is the primary duty and responsibility that these pure constitutional constructionists owe to Liberia .
Instead of complaining and bashing in good faith that the constitutional and statutory laws of Liberia were being set aside and violated by those they called foreign nationals, these constructionists were and are conscious and intentional partakers and beneficiaries of the very un-statutory and unconstitutional acts that they are vehemently complaining about today. What an act of deceit and double standard! Apparently today, while our constitutional scholars are sitting at the door and on the outside of power, they have started to clearly see and determine the unconstitutionality of the same and identical decisions reached by the international community --foreign nationals in the 1990s relative to governance and political administration in Liberia. As the case stands, the only art difference between the facts of today and that of the 1990s, is that some of those who are particularly proclaiming and preaching the sermon of national sovereignty today when it actually comes to who should be designated to collect and control our money today, were the same and very unconstitutional collectors and controllers of our money in the 1990s. Certainly, today since they are not collecting and controlling the money of the Liberian people any longer, they have become so furious and left with nothing, except to cry out loud about the would-be evil that trusteeship brings to Liberia .
Before I forget, ordinary Liberians need to be reminded that some of those who are today publicly preaching and crying national sovereignty, trusteeship, and what have you, are primarily amongst the same conscienceless and insensitive leaders who employed public funds from the treasury of Liberia to buy for themselves and their immediate families expensive dwelling homes in foreign parts. These homes, we understand were bought when ordinary Liberians were being killed, displaced, downcast, disgraced and placed in utterly dehumanizing conditions. Moreover, it must be noted, that while some of these constitutional constructionists and their families slept in peace and dignity in the great United States and other parts of the world, the ordinary Liberian people slept in hell and went particularly homeless in their own towns and villages.
Is this, national sovereignty or national humiliation and suffering? Today some of those who are arguing national sovereignty instead of foreign trusteeship during their administrations, are clearly amongst men and women possessing no clean hands when it comes to what did they do with our money, and for whom did they buy those elegant and stylish homes in foreign parts? Can the Liberia people restart to retrust their lives and future into the hands of our today newly converted constitutional constructionists and sleep safely? The answer to this question can be found in the foregoing essential principle and provision of international law, relative to the duty to protect.
Without any doubt, under international law, where a government fails and neglects to honor its responsibility to protect the national pride and livelihood of its people, national sovereignty must give way to national dignity, and the international community must then have the right to intervene. For all intents and purposes, because some past and present transitional leaders in Liberia have shown to the international community - those they are today calling foreign nationals that they are inherently corrupt, depraved and incurable when it comes to governance and accounting faithfully for our monies, therefore, the economic governance action plan for Liberia has been painfully and shamefully drafted to secure and protect ordinary Liberians. Interestingly, the EGAPL clearly names and designates the NTGL as a party. Under the law of evidence, one cannot admit to the validity of a certain act and at the same time, attempts to set aside his/her own admission. Since theNTGLhas admitted that it is corrupt, deprave and incapabletomanage and administer the affairs of Liberia , it must then be left alone to be bind by the economic governance action plan of Liberia .
In view of the foregoing and counting on the many deceitful and misleading arguments that Liberia has painfully witnessed and sustained at the hands of so many leaders in Liberia , if anything, the so-called national sovereignty argument needs to be overwritten by national dignity. Now, what says the economic governance action plan for Liberia and what is inside for Liberia ?
What Says Economic Action Plan?
As Liberians put on their thinking caps and split their heads to debate this issue, I wonder how many of those who are for or against this economic governance action plan for Liberia concentrating and thoughtfully asking themselves, why has Liberia remained behind in the world when it comes to development? Why, why in fact has no development reached Grand Krue, Grand Cape Mount, grand Gedeh, River Gee, Gbarkpolu , Maryland , Sinoe, Loffa, Nimba, Bong, Grand Bassa, River Cess, Bomi, Mount Gebi , and Montserrado Counties , since Liberia became a sovereign state on July 26, 1847 ? Why in fact has Monrovia been considered to be Liberia , and Liberia , Monrovia ?
Again, I wonder, how many of these constitutional constructionists are asking themselves, why have these counties of Liberia seen and known no farm to market roads, healthcare services, electricity, running water, telephone or sustainable communication system? Or why having decent elementary, junior high, high schools or at least junior colleges been built in these counties? Moreover, I must wonder, who amongst these constitutional scholars and constructionists have asked himself or herself, why are there so many poor people and early deaths in Liberia ? Why are our people so consistently poor and afflicted by curable and incurable defects and deceases?
On a more serious note, why aren’t these constitutional scholars packing their bags and flying from their foreign hiding places and back to River Gee, Gbarkpolu, grand Krue, and/or any of these under developed counties of Liberia ? Why aren’t ordinary Liberians flying from Monrovia and back to any of these named and purely under developed rural counties in Liberia ? And why is everyone flying back to Liberia , only by and through the Roberts International Air Port and not into the national air ports of Gbarkpolu, River Gee and/or grand krue counties? Because, all of counties named hereunder are clearly and patently under developed and lacked these primary and modern facilities. Is this, not so constitutional constructionists?
Worst still, those who dare drive from Monrovia to any of these rural counties, more so between July to Oct in any year, might be driving between 4 to 6 weeks to and from these counties; that is if there are any roads available to be used.
So then, what is actually inside the economic governance action plan for Liberia ?
What is inside this Plan for Liberia ?
There is no doubt that the economic governance action plan will take into consideration and establish in Liberia :
- The lost international respect and dignity of Liberia since 1847.
- The structural development that Liberia has never seen since 1847.
- The confidence and economic life that Liberia so desperately needs.
- Equal power and equal participation in the day-to-day affairs of Liberia .
-Good governance and better decentralized economic sharing in Liberia .
-Good governance and decentralized equal political participation in Liberia .
-The construction of better farm-to-market roads in Liberia and in our counties. - Basic Social Services and healthcare centers in Liberia and our rural counties.
- Better Junior high and high schools in Liberia and in our forgotten counties.
-Bridging the horrific and terrible economic gab that exists between the minority rich and majority poor in Liberia .
- Return power and control to Liberia and to the ordinary people in Liberia .
- Strengthen and sustain civil society development and empowerment in Liberia .
-Self-empowerment and self-dignity in Liberia and particularly in our counties.
-Transparency and accountability in Liberia and in our undeveloped counties.
As I conclude this article, I need to state that although the economic governance action plan for Liberia to some seems politically uncomfortable and very hash to live with, nevertheless, I submit that with all sincerity, the developmental good in this plan certainly overrides the egative impressions that seem to be overtaking our airwaves. Moreover, this plan brings to light the fact that Liberia has lacked:
- Credible and honest leaders in our Legislative branch of government.
- Credible and honest leaders in our Judicial branch of government.
- Credible and honest leaders in our Executive branch of government.
- Credible and honest leaders in our revenue generating institutions.
- Credible and honest leaders who have perpetuated and perpetrated the horrible economic gap between the majority poor and minority reach in Liberia .
Therefore, with the necessary amendments enacted relative to the judicial power of Liberia and relative to what constitutes admissible and inadmissible evidence in our courts, I carefully stand by this plan. This plan, certainly if modified and clearly presented to the ordinary people of Liberia , I have no doubt that they will overwhelmingly vote to sustain it because it protects and safeguards their future and interest.
By the way, a Liberian Law Professor visiting the U.S., and particularly visiting with the Liberian Community in the State of Colorado, on July 23, 2005, stated that Liberia, just within a week, has realized a total of US$6, 000, 000 from the Free Port of Monrovia alone after the Bryant-led government acceded to allowing this Port to be temporarily managed by some of our foreign partners- those some Liberians are today calling foreign nationals. Only God one knows, what more benefits might be coming from out of this economic governance action plan for Liberia, if the other major economic generating institutions were to be allowed to be managed and/or administered with similar intent.
Liberians, let’s remain strong and stand together and up against those whose primary interest and commitment is to always actively strive to mislead and lead a misleading campaign designed to always disrespect the developmental interest of the majority poor in Liberia. Certainly, let’s stand together and stand up against any attempt to misinterpret the Constitution and Statutory Laws of Liberia. Happy, happy July 26 th 2005 , celebration to all Liberians
About the Author
Counselor Frederick A.B. Jayweh holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA degree in Biblical Studies) from African Bible College, Bachelor of Laws, (LL.B degree in general lawfrom the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, University of Liberia, and Master of Laws (LL.M degree in American And Comparative Law) from the University of Denver College of Law, Denver, Colorado.
Also, Counselor Jayweh is a member of the Grand Bassa County and the Supreme Courts Bars, Republic of Liberia, a registered member of the Liberian National Bar Association, and former Executive Director of the Civil Rights Association of Liberian Lawyers, Inc. Presently, Counselor ayweh lives in Denver, Colorado, and can be reached at; 303-884-2652, or email@example.com.