By J K K Peah
The Chairman of Good Governance Commission of Liberia, Dr Amos Sawyer, regarded as the trust of Liberia’s modern constitution of 1986 whose draft he served as Chairman in 1984, is drawing fiercest criticism across the country and Liberian social media platforms recommending that the country’s election commission suspends portion of the “Code of Conduct” which require public officials who want to run for public office to resign their position two years prior to election and three years for tenure appointees respectively.
Dr Sawyer’s recommendation for the National Election to suspend the Code of Conduct in wake of the Supreme Court ruling of March 23rd upholding the consistency of the Code of Conduct with the constitution after a suit filed before the Supreme Court provisional leader from Bong County, Selena Forh-Mappeh who wanted to contest the October election but is prevented by the Code of Conduct because she is the sitting Superintendent of Bong County.
Dr Sawyer’s Good Governance Commission basis for his recommendation insist that the Code of Conduct be suspended just as the 10-year clause of the constitution was suspended by the Supreme Court during the 2011 election to allow Presidential Aspirants who are affected by the it to be given the opportunity to contest the October elections.
On the contrary, Dr Sawyer’s recommendation is a disservice to the country and a burning torch being thrown at a drum filled with gasoline and complete three-hundred and sixty degree u-turn of his previous position on the “Code of Conduct” which he praised during its signing on May 12, 2014 at the Executive Mansion, commenting during the occasion as, “the Code of Conduct is indeed a legacy. “For you, Madam President, the Senate and distinguished Members of the House of Representatives who have seen this through, this is an enormous historic credit, “the way in which it has evolved and come through our legislative process is a credit to all of us”.
The Good Governance Commission Chairman latest change of heart on law that was developed by his Commission which he headed and submitted to the President for submission to the Legislature for passage into law and became law in 2014 after languishing in the Legislature for five years is hypocrisy and flip-flopping of the praises he lavished on the relevance and need for the Code of Conduct and the pride in took in the good work his Commission and those who made it possible for it to become law.
What is worrisome and regrettably being peddled by some media institutions is the false narrative from Dr Sawyer that the Code of Conduct should be suspended by the National Election Commission. What legal authority and basis does an agency of government or the government has to unilaterally suspend a law and ignore the ruling of the Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of the Code of Conduct.
The Supreme Court is the highest court of the land and final arbiter of justice in the country and when it rule on a matter it is final and becomes the law of the land in cases where it performed its constitutional powers by interpreting a law a plaintiff carried before it perceived as needed clarity and interpretation.
The Code of Conduct is settled law of Liberia and the Supreme Court’s ruling cannot be circumvented, challenged or ignored and it is no longer a debate or an issue that requires dialogue as some are suggesting- it is final, case closed unless it is repealed by the Legislature which cannot happen this election circle because it is late and the law cannot be change in the middle of election which would meet the analogy as “changing the goal post in the middle of the game”.
The National Election Commission has no legal authority to suspend any law promulgated by legislation and ignore the ruling of the Supreme Court of the country because it is the “Final Arbiter” of justice in the country.
If Liberia must change, Liberians have to make hard choices and tough decisions putting their country first above individuals who see themselves as above the law and are not to obey the law because of their wealth, power or popularity.
Liberia is bigger than any one Liberian or group and no one is above the law, “the law is the law” regardless of who the Code of Conduct and Constitution finds ineligible, the law must prevail not an individual or group, for doing so giving platitude to law breakers and those Aspirants who played the Liberian people and country deceiving the country and concealing their foreign citizenship and those who wanted it both ways, not wanting to reign their positions though the hard the opportunity to do so and refused but want the country violate its laws to accommodate their greed.
Liberia is worth fighting for and all true Liberians should rise to the call of national consciousness for once, for 2017 election is the cradle of a new Liberia where people don’t buy or talk their way out in breaking the law and get their selfish desire at the detriment of the country.
Dr Sawyer’s progressive generation is the counter-equivalent of America’s greatest as the the American legendary television news anchor, Tom Brokaw writes in his book about his country’s generation to fought World War II and freed the world, for they are “Liberia’s destructive generation”, destroying the country into oblivion and when given state power after destroying every government before them arguing they could do better, they have failed and ruined the country.
Liberians should not allow Dr Sawyer and his “destructive generation”plunge the country into chaos but stand up for the rule of law regardless who the law affects or who they are, after all, Liberia is bigger than anyone person or group and the country is quietly going through a quiet Arab Spring, very soon Liberia will hit the wire of all international media and the world focus on the country and will be stunt how Liberians stood up for their own destiny and dispense the law regardless of the profile of the ineligible aspirants.