28 November 2012

Liberia: Impeachment or Fiasco? - the Culture of Peace Pipe - Who Were the Smokers, Who Provided the Pipe?


Since the over publicized bad blood between the Legislature and the Executive gushed out so profusely, the nation in a somber and near confused state wondered whether this growing democracy was soon to be confronted with its early mid-term through which it would preside over the most crucial impeachment exercise in the political life of Africa's first female President. However, due to behind the scene filibustering and incredible lobbying the entire impeachment scheme has become a fiasco thereby becoming business as usual. But there is a silent culture in this nation that no matter how grave a situation, be it political, social or malpractice especially when it stands to hurt the prestige and dignity of high profile or well-placed- individuals in the society, despite the early terrific rage and bubbling, that whole episode will in the shortest time just die down as though it never existed in the first place; now The New Republic upon learning about the demise of the alleged impeachment scheme against President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is curious to know amidst previous tough talks and the costly price reportedly enshrined therein, how did it end with the culture of peace pipe; who were the smokers and who provided the pipe?

If the pillars upon which this country's democracy are expected to be erected and withstand the vicissitudes of governance and life in its totality, all the nation's institutions including the three branches must operate in a manner and fashion that will add credible and respectable values to the way they promulgate government's policies as well as how they portray, accept and treat each others both at home and abroad.

For some times running now, relationship between the first branch of government and the Executive has been far from cordial with the Executive most often being on the defensive for what the first branch referred to as unacceptable utterances made against its members mainly by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The latest which spent a great deal of time in the media with displeasure expressed was attributed to President Sirleaf which was based on a reply she provided after being asked a question while addressing the Council on Foreign Relations in the United States of America.

During that occasion, President Sirleaf on the issues of Liberia's revenue generation as well as reports about Representatives and Senators rewarding themselves with a huge allocation of the 2012/2013 budget as emoluments reportedly said, "We did not give it to them, they took it. We have a legislature that is aggressive in terms of their own interest."

Following that statement, the members of the first branch were no longer at ease most especially that the President would elect to make such testimonial remarks abroad and at once requested President Sirleaf to immediately apologize. Couple of the lawmakers became so angry that they vowed to institute impeachment proceedings against the President.

As a result of the saga, one lawmaker who has been in the vanguard of openly stating that he would lobby with his colleagues to have President Sirleaf impeached is Representative Bhofal Chambers, and when that statement attributed to the President was made, Lawmaker Chambers realized that an additional "ammunition" has been attached to his arsenal in his quest to have the President impeached.

Thereafter it was reported that the President was allegedly crafting a scheme to ensure that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, J. Alex Tyler be removed as Speaker. It was also alleged that the President has placed a US$5 million on the head of the Speaker to see him unseated.

But as the hints and allegations paraded the newspapers about the removal of the Speaker with counter allegation of plan to impeach the President, the Presidential Press Secretary took to the airwave to clarify that at no time did President Sirleaf ever plan to remove Speaker Tyler and rubbished such as totally untrue.

At the same time while the pressure mounted for the President to retract her statement which did not go down well with the lawmakers and requested an immediate apology, the Executive has been involved with shuttling between it and the Legislature in an apparent drive to soften the growing tempo coming out of the statement she made in the United States.

However, amidst the wide speculations that that President was working her way to defuse to tension brewing between the Executive and the Legislature, the President finally made her first breakthrough when she met with the Senate in camera, but when quizzed later after the meeting as to what was discussed, all sides remained tightlipped.

Again it was later reported in the news that President Sirleaf and Speaker Tyler have resolved the rift that existed between them. According to the report, Speaker Tyler also described President Sirleaf as his mother and that both of them have smoked the peace pipe.

In an effort to find out what has happened to the alleged plan to impeach the President by some lawmakers and whether the threat of impeachment was serious or just a fiasco, the Spokesman of the House of Representatives, Mr. Isaac Redd expressed grave dismay that the media could ask him such a question about something that has never been.

Mr. Redd noted that even if one or five lawmakers (he did not name them) did say anything about impeachment, as far as he is concerned, the House of Representatives has not attempted trekking down that route

In a related development, political pundits are curious to know why the peace pipe was taken to Bomi to be smoked, and who all participated as smokers and who provided the pipe, adding that the statement made by President Sirleaf was not pleasing to all the members of the first branch, and despite demanding an apology from the President, no one is in the position up to present to say whether the President extended her apology when they met behind closed door including the President herself.

The pundits also stressed that they want to sound a caveat that issues which claimed national attention as well as raising public's concern and embarrassment must be handled democratically and intelligently so that the people can know where lies the trouble and that reconciliation was reached through the medium of mutual respect for each other as well as the guilty party expressing its regret over the matter that has affected the other party and not on the cover of what seems to be a "Zoe-bush affair".

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