13 April 2017

Liberia: A Litmus Test for the Judiciary


Liberians are at the brink of another presidential and legislative election this year, the third successive elections which ended in 2003. Since then, the country has not degenerated into any kind of lawlessness reminiscent of the past although there have been some domestic issues such as rising infliction, but Liberians consider them as trifling so to speak, since the elections in October 2017 takes precedence over everything else for now.

This Year Is considered perhaps the most crucial era in the history of Liberia following more than a century and half of independence. The election is crucial because too much time, energy and resources have been spent on Liberia by the international community and it would be a total disappointment if the country were to regress in a state of chaos on account of fraud in the electoral process.

While we are not suggesting that there will be malpractices during the electoral process, but Liberians expect that the National Elections Commission (NEC), the institution responsible to conduct these elections to demonstrate the highest degree of integrity to ensure that the process is free of confusion or violence. Liberians have had enough trouble in this country, and they are not willing to replay the past; therefore, NEC and the Judiciary must make decisions that are unprejudiced and independent. The judiciary is the last hope of the people, especially when they are satisfied with the decision of NEC concerning irregularities. It is the judiciary that must take a decision that would avert chaos.

This is why we believe that the Sable Mining case is a litmus test for the Judiciary Branch of government. We have been informed that Justice in Chambers, Philip A. Z. Banks, III, has issued a stay order on the ongoing Sable Mining bribery trial based on a petition for a Writ of Certiorari by the prosecutors. A Writ of Certiorari is an order a higher court issues in order to review the decision and proceedings in a lower court and determine whether there were any irregularities.

State Lawyers Had filed a writ of Certiorari on grounds that the judge hearing the case, Yamie Gbeisay refused to rescind several rulings which the prosecutors believe was erroneous.

Since Nobody Can go into the nitty-gritty of the Sable Mining case, we want to advise the judiciary that this is a serious case and it is the responsibility of the high court to dispense justice impartially just as they would do when a case or multiple litigations that could arise from the elections are brought before the full bench for determination.

Considering The Fact that there have been a number of challenges regarding the Code of Conduct and the unenthusiastic responses from political parties, we presume that the judiciary could be the last battle ground to determine the outcome of these elections.

Some Liberians Might not believe in the justice system apparently due to past lessons that justice is only for the rich and the poor are marginalized. This perspective is not the popular believe of our people, however, we are convinced that the judiciary has got the integrity, experience and competence to handle matters that may arise from the October 2017 elections.

It Is Our expectation that the Judiciary will properly and professionally review the Sable Mining case so all parties will be satisfied with the ruling.

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