24 June 2019

Liberia: ANC to Judiciary - 'Avoid Political Activities'

Sen. Naatehn: "It is important to state in clear terms that ANC will no longer tolerate the sequential abrogation of our laws and legal processes that should define the judiciary as an independent branch of government."

The opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC) has called on the judiciary system to refrain from all political activities, and save its already damaged image, judging from the impeachment of former Associate Justice Kabinah Ja'neh.

ANC's call comes against the backdrop of controversies surrounding the independent role of the country's justice system, which the party viewed as being selective in favor of the governing party.

The party's concern was contained in a statement it issued on Friday, June 21, 2019 at a press conference in Monrovia, in which it described the court indictment against Montserrado County District #10 Representative Yekeh Y. Kolubah as "bogus."

Monrovia City Court has charged Rep. Kolubah with multiple accounts, which the ANC said was based on "mere allegation."

ANC Chairman, Daniel F. Naatehn, who read the statement on half of the party, said the judiciary is surrendering its independence to "mere political maneuvering with the intent to appease the Executive and give it control over the entire government to include the legislature. "This is not healthy for a democratic state," the statement said.

Naatehn said the ANC will no longer tolerate the sequential abrogation of the country's laws, and legal processes that should define the judiciary as an independent branch of the government.

"As a registered political party, we see it a responsibility to protect our democracy, especially when those in whose hands we entrusted power have proven to be incapable and reckless in their conduct,'" argued.

He added, "Inasmuch as the party appreciate the full exercise of the rule of laws for the purpose of instituting order; they will not dare cower in submission to its unjust intent to witch-hunt those involved with the board exposure of the government's insensitivity and acts of recklessness in addressing the poverty and inequality gap that place the citizens at odds with counterparts in the sub-region.

According to ANC, the pattern of harassment or bogus indictment against Montserrado County District #10 Representative Yekeh Y. Kolubah "is unlawful and that the court needs to withdraw it immediately."

The court has charged Rep. Kolubah with multiple crimes on allegation that he ordered his bodyguards to beat on one Emanuel Freeman.

"The party therefore condemns in unequivocal terms, the reckless act of partially dispensing justice, and that it will not allow Rep. Kolubah, and any other partisans to be subjected to any unjust process by the George Weah-led government," Naatehn said to a round of applause as he read the party's statement.

"The ANC," he said, "recalled that over two instances where officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) conducted themselves outside their professional scope, especially dealing with issues involving Rep. Kolubah."

"It has become a tradition," Sen. Naatehn said "the LNP creates unending harassment for Rep. Kolubah, and usually terrifies his family through their illegal presence at his residence."

Accordingly, the party said it has observed that the LNP is bent on using the laws in ways that only affect those whose politics they disagree with politically.

"Rather than being protective to citizens and using the laws for the good of the society, LNP have now been transformed into instruments that implement the President's political agenda by creating unrest for peaceful citizens, who have decided not to keep silent and watch the country's resources being pillaged to the advantage of a privileged few, and detriment of the mass of our people."

The party noted: "It is a precedent that when a member of the legislature is accused or indicted by the court, said indictment served with a written letter either through the chief clerk of the House of Representatives or the secretary of the senate."

"The case with former Senator of Margibi County, Roland Kaine, is a perfect reliance to this assertion; and similarly with the former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tokpa Mulbah, was also indicted on allegation of ordering his security to beat on a fellow, the court followed the same procedure to have him turned over for investigation. Unfortunately, nowadays the court seems to have developed amnesia, and has forgotten the very precedent it set as a procedure by which a member of the legislature can be turned over to the judiciary for subsequent trial. Yesterday, this was the procedure; today, it has changed," Naathen said.

According to the statement, the ANC sees this political development as 'witch-hunting' and considers it as a deadly attack on the party, as well as all of its partisans for whose well-being Kolubah has stood up to growing dictatorship and rampant corruption within the Weah-led government.

The party then called on the Weah-led government to focus its energy on ensuring that proper monetary and fiscal policies are set into place to reduce inflation, create jobs and rationalize spending with good fiscal discipline, not to engage with things that are meaningless and have macroeconomic impact on the economy.

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