Opposition Liberty Party (LP) former Standard Bearer Cllr. Charles Brumskine says Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor’s role of presiding over the impeachment trial of Associate Justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh is illegal.
“Liberia and the world watch in dismay, as the Chief Justice of the Republic descends the high bench of the Constitutional Court, and runs into the darkness of our time, to preside over an unconstitutional impeachment trial at the Senate,” Brumskine claims.
Speaking recently, the veteran Liberian lawyer lamented that Chief Justice Korkpor’s role of presiding over the impeachment proceeding lacks legal basis.
The ongoing impeachment trial at the Senate leaves Cllr. Brumskine to draw a conclusion in Monrovia that the governance challenges facing the country is not only the presidency, but it also includes leaders of the other branches of government.
“The rules that would make the trial constitutional have yet to be agreed upon by both houses of the Legislature, but the trial goes on,” Cllr. Brumskine laments.
One of the cases which triggered Associate Justice Ja’neh’s impeachment trial relates to a land dispute involving the embattled justice and a private citizen, one Madam Annie Yancy Constance.
Associate Justice Ja’neh has been accused by lawmakers for abuse of power, using his influence as Associate Justice to secure a ruling in his favor at the Supreme Court to take possession of the land.
But Ja’neh’s lawyers have repeatedly maintained that the claim that their client allegedly manipulated the Supreme Court to rule in his favor in the property case questions the credibility of Chief Justice Korkpor who serves as the head of the Supreme Court and also signed the ruling that is one of the counts against Ja’neh.
There was a motion for the Chief Justice to rescue himself from presiding over the impeachment trial of Justice Ja’neh because he too was allegedly conflicted by signing the judgment in Madam Constance’s case which favored Justice Ja’neh.
But the Chief Justice rejected the motion filed to recuse himself, arguing that Article 43 of the Constitution gives him the right to preside over impeachment proceedings when the president, vice president or associate justice are to be tried.
According to him, there is no part of the constitution that says someone can preside in the absence of the Chief Justice.
But the opposition LP’s three -time defeated presidential candidate Cllr. Brumskine intimates that some people have said that Liberia will never change in recent time, so they proceed to make the situation worse by becoming part of the corrupt system.
To move the country forward, Cllr. Brumskine suggests that the national vehicle (government) must include the old and the young, the weak and feeble, female and male, the literate and the illiterate, the rich and the poor.
“But this is just the first step in a long journey. We seek not the establishment of yet another political class to the exclusion of the full participation of the Liberian people,” Cllr. Brumskine says.
Politics must be about fulfilling the aspiration of the people, he adds, and warns that it should not be about the realization of the dreams of grandeur of individual politicians.
Cllr. Brumskine challenges citizens to begin working together now to make a difference because Liberia needs help.
“Our task will be not only to criticize, but also to engage all three branches of government. Yes, engaging will be difficult, because it is not part of our political culture,” he concludes.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor –Edited by Winston W. Parley