After some twelve years of one of the most hateful ethnic/tribal bigotry; destructive, massive displacement of people as refugees; mind-boggling human suffering and passionate killings of a civil war nightmare in our country, there is, now, a mosaic or collection the so-called new breed of political animals – “politicians” – with, hopefully, liberal progressive ideas/ideologies;but are they, in real terms, the emerged/emerging,political class or the old-line, “back-to-business-as-usuals?”
Back in 2005 during the first general and presidential elections held after the civil war and Mr. Taylor’s “jungle-justice” administration, the organizations – Progressive Action for Change (PAC), Brains of Liberia (BOL) and Coalition of Political Parties Youth (CPPY) – submitted complaints against Mr. Nathaniel Barnes, Cllr. Charles Brumskine, Mr. John Morlu, Cllr. Varney Sherman,Senator George Weahand others, with request to deny them acceptance as Candidates for President of Liberia and members of the National Legislature because, the organizations claimed, that these individuals are citizens of foreign countries.
The Daily Observer of Tuesday, July 19, 2005, quoted Mr. George Weah of haven admitted naturalized citizenship of the Republic of France and that he has renounced that citizenship. But Mr. Weah did not show whether he has completed re-application in accordance with constitutional and Immigration & Naturalization laws.
There is no recordedresponse from Mr. Barnes, Cllr. Brumskine, Cllr. Sherman and others; only the statement of the Chairlady of the National Elections Commission (NEC), then Cllr. Frances Morris Johnson, which was sufficient to conclude that the ruling was in favor of all the defendants on the grounds of “short-term peace, unity and security”.Mr. John Morlu admitted US citizenship recently.
Regarding this complaint/request made to the NEC, we wrote (datelined Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA, August 2005)and observed as follows:
“Thatthe allegations of complaint/request seek to bar the prominent, ‘high-power’ candidates for the Presidency and Legislature from standing for office on the allegation that they are guilty of acts of political infidelity(to the Republic) by allegedly denouncing andrenouncing their “Liberian citizenship and taking on citizenships of foreign countries . . . It is argued, as we shall see later, that the Constitution of Liberia provides, in unequivocal language, that only Liberian citizens shall have the right not only to stand for office, but also to register and vote. Others are charged with treasonable acts for their involvement in the 1989-1997, military-type, illegal invasionof Liberia”.
“Recalling our past and the turbulent history of politics and political leadership deeply rooted in ‘self-interest’ and ‘get-grab-and go’ (GGG), those historic conditions that, among others, led to our recent, national tragedy, such that young and older Liberians of today place critical premium not only on commitment to democratic, political pluralism, modern management with trained/experienced political leadership qualities, but also on character (honesty) and patriotism or love of and dedication to country, with demonstrated or demonstrable evidence of progressive, responsible involvement”.
“That this requirement is a critical necessity is self-evident; in that, members of the national Legislature make the laws and policies that define, guide, regulate and protect not only the interactions of, by, between and among citizens, but also the neighborly nations of the world, including the “vital interests” of these nations – social, economic, political, and the national security. Moreover, it is the responsibility of a president of the nation to implement or execute fully these laws and policies. It is in this respect that citizenship plays a crucial role as the most important requirement, in standing for and holding the positions of president and vice president and other members of the Legislature of Liberia. Accordingly, our nation’s Constitution provides (Article 52) that ‘No one shall be eligible to hold the office of president or vice president unless that person is a natural, born Liberian citizen . . .’For members of the national Legislature, the Constitution provides (Article 30) that only ‘Citizens of Liberia . . . are eligible to become members of the Legislature’”.
“However, for quite a long time that there had been and are some ‘Liberian’ aliens who participated and continue to participate in the making/implementing of important national decisions in our country, but no one dared or had the ‘guts’ to ‘rock the boat’ by questioning or challenging the ‘pillars’ of Liberian society for fear of being judged ‘trouble-maker’ and ostracized socially and politically. Not today; for, the socio-political fallout from the courageous action of PAC, BOL andCPPY will reverberate for all time on the Liberian political landscape, such that it will never be the same henceforth. Those Liberians, who covet, prefer and/or have obtained foreign citizenship for economic reasons or social class and prestige symbols will now have to think very seriously about the consequences of such decisions”.
Other Candidates & Charges
“The other charges, significant in our national history and relevant to the forthcoming, October
“2005, general elections are concerned with war crimes and crimes against humanity.The defendants in this category are those Liberian men and women who allegedly organized and/orcontributed to the organization, participated in the policy formulation/development and the management of the operations of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia and its derivatives. This category includes Mr. Charles Taylor, his so-called cabinet ministers and military forces – from the generals to lieutenants – and those Liberians who contributed funds and/or procured military hardware while stationed in strategic locations in foreign countries”.
“Charges or allegations against these Liberians are that they committed acts of treason against their country and fellow Liberians in violation of Article 76 [(a)1-5] of the Liberian Constitutionand,therefore, ineligible to stand for and hold public office. They must also be made to pay for the heinous acts of wanton destruction, unimaginable brutality, human suffering and death, committed against innocent citizens, by the full force and weight of the law”.
“Open and fair trial of the Liberians in this category is a necessary and very important, national, public policy action to stand as a lesson of the facts of history, in order to convey the message, loud and clear, to all Liberians, young and old and the generations yet unborn, that violence does not, will not and has never, throughout human history, resolved conflicts or disagreements, political orotherwise. Indeed, it was one of the modern world’s great or the greatest revolutionaries, Chairman Mao of the People’s Republic of China, who said that ‘nothing comes from the muzzle of a gun(whether M-16 or AK-47) but death and destruction’. There are Liberians who argue against open, free and trial and punishment of those found guilty of these crimes in the interest of national reconciliation, peace and unity. But History teaches that the contrary is true”.
NEC Ruling on the complaints/Request
As indicated earlier, “the NEC, a quasi-judicial body, has given its ruling in all of the most important challenges in favor of the defendants, primarily based ‘on technical, legal arguments for ‘short-term peace, unity and security’, seemingly not to ‘rock the boat’”.
“The rest is now left in the fragile hands of the Liberian Voters, an overwhelming majority of whom is poor, hungry, relatively uninformed and lack the ability to reflect, analyze and interpret the critical issues of these general elections, with particular respect to the requisite qualities desirable for political leadership, the social, economic and political impact of their votes in these crucial elections. The Voters will now be asked to select/elect leader(s) from a mosaic of Liberian ‘politicians’: some come from the traditional, conservative school of Liberian politics “who refuse to ‘rock the boat’ but ‘stay the course’, whatever that may portend, while oppressive, dishonest and corrupt; others are ‘progressives’ who crossed carpet to become ‘traditional, carpet-baggers’, hypocrites to their principles; still some are ‘utopian, socialist activists’with a tinge of Karl Marx and authoritarianism;while there are others who are purely democratic, political theorists but with tyrannical tendencies; and others who are ethnic/ tribal patriots, who refuse or reject the inclusion of other ethnic/tribal groups, particularly, the so-called Congo- and Americo-Liberians in national, political affairs”.
“In all of this state of our political affairs, it is important to recall the saying, that, ‘apeople get the government that they deserve’. At this cross roads of Liberian political history, what is the sort of government that we deserve”?
Today, Mr. Nathaniel Barnes, Cllr. Charles Brumskine and Senator George Weah are presidential candidates, while Mr. John Morlu, Senator Armah Jallah, Senator Jewel Taylor Representative/Speaker Tyler and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ngafuan, are mentioned as possible Vice Presidential Running Mates to Senator Weah, andCllr. Varney Sherman is Senator.Indeed, it is very important– a matter of Law – that these prominent Liberian Citizens(?) tell the Liberian Nation where lies their loyalty, patriotism. Mr. John Morlu has, already, told the people that he is an American citizen.
Brumskine Weah Urey
Cllr. Varney Sherman