Lawyer representing petitioners of the 10-year resident clause lawsuit before the Supreme Court, Cllr. Cyrenius Cephas today filed an amendment, a day
before that West African nation highest court was expected to render judgement on the 10-year resident clause lawsuit brought on behalf of his clients Abraham Massaley and others, asking the court to amend its previous lawsuit from article 52(c) which is seeking to prevent candidates from contesting for President and Vice president respectively to resident in the country 10 years prior to elections in keeping with the constitution, amending their case to article 76 (a) 1 through 5, asking the court to prevent President Sirleaf, Prince Johnson, and all others who participated in the Liberian civil war from contesting in the October elections because they committed treason against the republic base on article 76(a) 1 through 5 of the Liberian constitution.
In a twist today, Cllr. Cyrenius Cephas filed on behalf of his clients in the resident clause lawsuit an amendment asking the Supreme Court to bar President Ellen Johnson, Senator Prince Y Johnson (PYJ) and others who waged war against the republic and undermine the constitution of Liberia. The amendment notes, in keeping with article 76 (a) 1, 2, 3, and 5, President Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf, Senator Prince Y. Johnson and others are disqualified from contesting in the elections for committing treason against the Republic of Liberia by waging war, overthrowing a constitutional government , undermining, and abrogating the constitution.
a. Treason against the Republic shall consist of:
(1) levying war against the Republic;
(2) aligning oneself with or aiding and abetting another nation or people with whom Liberia is at war state of war;
(3) acts of espionage for an enemy state;
(4) attempting by overt act to overthrow the Government, rebellion against the Republic, insurrection mutiny; and
(5) abrogating or attempting to abrogate, subverting or attempting or conspiring to subvert the Constitution
by use of force or show of force or any other means which attempt to undermine this constitution.
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf admitted to giving US$10,000.00 to rebel leader Charles Taylor of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) when he was prosecuting the civil war which killed President Samuel K. Doe and overthrew his constitutional government and killed about 350, 000 Liberians while Senator Prince Y. Johnson, also the leader of the rebel group, the Independent National Patriotic
Front of Liberia (INPFL), a break away group of the of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia. President Sirleaf, besides giving money to rebel leader Charles Taylor to support the war, is also on record as she also called on rebel leader Charles Taylor to “burn down the Executive Mansion, we will rebuild it”, a statement she made on international radio during the prosecution of the 14 year civil war.
The Executive Mansion is the official home and office of the Liberian Presidency.
The latest amendment filed by petitioners of the resident clause lawsuit, is an inevitable legal development which has brought out the elephant in the room, the Supreme Court and President Sirleaf cannot legally maneuver this latest case because it is clear to the letter, to the extend that every ordinary Liberian understands and can interpret it well except the Executive Mansion and the Supreme Court choose to apply a “don’t care approach” and put their ego above the country or trample upon the constitution and laws of the country just to allow the President and others to contest the elections who are by all true interpretation and spirit of the constitution, indeed committed treason against the republic based on their involvement in the civil war.
Leaks from the Supreme Court of Liberia indicate the court will rule that “10years prior to in the resident Clause, means “consecutive” meaning, candidates should have resident in Liberia 10 years consecutively, immediately and not cumulatively; but according to the leaks the high court it is expected to rule to allow article 52 (c) to defer to 2017 elections.
If the the Supreme Court comes out with this decision, the question the Liberian people will ask, is, where does the Supreme Court get its power and authority from to defer the enforcement and implementation of a provision of the constitution? Where in the constitution the Supreme Court derives its power and authority to enforce laws?
Another constitution crisis will ensue and the integrity and competence of the Supreme Court will be questioned if the court indeed rules to defer provision of the constitution because the constitution in no way gives the judiciary branch the power or authority to enforce laws or defer a clause of the constitution that is already been in effect since 1986.
If the Supreme court rules, as it is expected according to the leaks, that the 10 -year residents clause means consecutively and not cumulatively, but orders it be deferred to 2017 elections, a constitution crisis will evolve, questioning the legitimacy and constitutional authority of any government that will emerge out of the elections if one of such candidates involve in the resident clause lawsuit emerges as winner of the Presidency because the Judicial branch of government has no constitutional authority to defer or suspend a constitutional provision.
The best way out and for the Supreme court to go for a much clear interpretation of article 52 (c) is to rule the clause means cumulative, which means any 10 years of ones lifespan in Liberia before the elections; ruling this way will save the country further hassle. Ruling this way have strong justifications, among many wil be, the constitution came into being in 1986 and the next election after its inauguration was six years after, 1992, which would had made President Samuel Doe re-election, the constitution won’t had been 10 years old by then and as such, it is not practical the intent of article 52(c) meant consecutive but cumulative because if it meant consecutive, by 1992 the constitution won’t had been 10 years old and no Liberian citizen would had resident and live in Liberia 10 years under the 1986 constitution.