Prior to the ascension of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in 2006, Liberian politics had been protractedly characterized by a disproportionately strong presidency, which had all the dreadful trappings of tyranny.
The most notorious of those autocratic years was from 1944 to 1971 when the tyrant from Cape Palmas single-handedly subjected Liberia to his whims, and 1980--1990 when a young man from Tuzon, glaringly under-prepared, ill-prepared and grossly deficient in whatever administrative orientation, ruled the country with an iron fist.
Even the Tolbert years, which many pundits consider as a relatively liberal respite, also witnessed a complete dominance by a de facto one party system, thus stymieing his marginal reform efforts.
The horrific culmination of those epic misrules was the 14 years of mayhem, carnage and colossal destruction which completely wrecked our country and unfortunately sent 250,000 of our compatriots to their early graves.
Because of such gloomy experience, when the new democratic dispensation was ushered in on January 16, 2006, the Liberian people and the world at large anticipated a radical break with the dismal past.
That is, we envisaged an assertive Legislature independently optimizing its constitutionally-mandated deliberative, legislating role in the paramount interest of our country.
Unfortunately, what's trending on Capitol Hill is extremely troublesome and worrisome, to say the least. Liberia and the world at large continue to witness recurrent humiliation of leading technocrats, government officials and law-abiding citizens by the Legislature, sometimes for frivolous reasons.
For example, the Senate abruptly cancelled a budget hearing for the Health Ministry last year apparently because some of the Senators did not like the facial outlook of Dr. Bernice Dahn, the Deputy Minister of Health.
Another episode of what appears to be a pattern of repulsive legislative antics occurred a few days ago when the Superintendent of Montserrado County, Mrs. Grace Kpaan, who had been summoned by the House of Representatives for a hearing, was ordered confined in a common prison.
It's worth noting that Rev. Kpaan was not indicted by the grand jury, neither was she tried by a court of competent jurisdiction and adjudged "guilty" by a jury of her peers, in keeping with the due process provision of our organic law. Instead, the House of Representatives served as the complainant, the jury and the judge.
The independence and assertiveness that Liberians expect their lawmakers to exercise must be done in consonance with the intent and spirit of our Constitution. Espousing exemplary statecraft and pursuing national cohesion must be the hallmark of our eminent legislators' deliberations, instead of seizing every triviality to humiliate and disgrace well-meaning compatriots.
We just don't think that the Liberian people have any intention of swapping executive dictatorship with legislative despotism.
Moreover, when the lawmakers over-stepped their constitutional bounds, we expected the Attorney-General of the Republic, as the Dean of the Supreme Court, to mount her robe of erudite jurisprudence, immediately proceed to the Temple of Justice and urgently seek a legal remedy from the nation's highest court.
However, it appears that the Attorney-General and Honorable Minister of Justice timidly abdicated the scene and scurried into a corner, thus resulting into unnecessary disturbances in which some of our compatriots were reportedly attacked.
We strongly believe that whether it is the first, second or third branch of government, no particular branch of the Liberian Government is more indispensable than all the other branches; all three branches must congenially work in tandem as separate but coordinate branches for the common good of the nation, rather than members of certain branches trying to outmaneuver, humiliate and disgrace members of other branches.
In other to better nurture our democracy--which came to fruition at the expense of 250,000 precious lives--for the serenity and stability of our commonwealth, all of our government officials ought to cultivate the tenets of tolerance and statesmanship.