22 August 2017

Liberia: Boakai, Ellen 'Differ'

It appears that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and her Vice President Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai are not speaking with one voice regarding the ongoing impeachment saga of three Associate Justices of the Supreme Court.

Barely a day after members of the House of Representatives 'defied' the Supreme Court's order to stay the impeachment proceeding against three of its Justices, President Johnson-Sirleaf, who was visiting South Africa at the time, criticized the House for attempting to impeach Associate Justices Philip A. Z. Banks, Kabinah Ja'nah and Jamesetta Wolokollie.

The Liberian leader said the action of the House of Representatives was unconstitutional and will not be supported by her.

But during the recent presidential debate, when asked about his opinion on the House's decision to begin impeachment proceeding against the three Justices, Vice President Boakai said he was awaiting the outcome of the process before taking a stand.

The Vice President admitting that he is not a lawyer said "the courts are protected by law, so are the legislators themselves. We have to know why they did what they did. Could it have been a pre-emptive strike?

Continuing, Ambassador Boakai said "I don't know. I cannot render judgment but I know we have to abide by the laws of our country. For me, I await for the outcome. I cannot interfere in the branch of others. For me, wherever the outcome is, the law is the law. The house - I can make no judgment."

Though the Vice President said he cannot interfere in other branches of government, but his boss did not hide her opposition to the House's action to begin impeachment proceeding against the Justices.

The President in her statement contended that the House's action is clearly in violation of Article 73 of the Constitution of Liberia.

The Liberian leader went further by saying "in our system of Government, the Legislature is empowered to enact laws and the Supreme Court is mandated and authorized to interpret the laws. "

The Vice President said he will not take any definitive position until there is an outcome.


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