President George Manneh Weah has nominated Sinoe County Senator Cllr. Joseph Nagbe as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia to fill a vacant seat left following 70 year – old Associate Justice Phillip A.Z. Banks’ retirement on Tuesday, 7 August.
Mr. Weah’s decision to pick Sen. Nagbe as Cllr. Banks’ replacement on the high court bench is however obligating the broke economy to further financial burdens of sourcing funding to conduct more by – elections here.
A representative by – election is already due here in Montserrado County District #13 after Mr. Weah’s ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC’s) Rep. Saah Joseph won a 31 July senatorial by – election to replace the president in the Senate.
This means, the government in less than a year is expected to conduct two additional separate by – elections in Montserrado and Sinoe counties following Sen. Nagbe’s nomination to occupy a seat on the Supreme Court bench, though numerous jobless loyalists, partisans and supporters of the ruling CDC could get there without a cost against taxpayers’ money.
The CDC government initially failed to provide funding in time for the conduct of the first two by – elections intended to fill vacant seats left by President Weah and his Vice President Jewel Howard – Taylor following their victories in the December 2017 elections.
Finance Minister Samuel Tweah cited financial constraints as reason for government failure to the meet constitutional time frame, saying he rather spend on development initiatives than to conduct a by-election. Well, the by – elections were later conducted on 31 July instead of May.
The ruling party sought to win both the Montserrado and Bong Counties Senatorial seats by fielding two sitting representatives, but voters in Bong disagreed with the government and elected independent candidate Dr. Henrique Tokpa to prevent another by – election, unlike in Montserrado.
In line with Article 72 (b) of the Constitution here requiring the retirement of the Chief Justice, Associate Justices and judges of courts or records at age 70, Associate Justice Banks was retired on Tuesday following eight years on the bench.
Justice Banks was the fourth of the five persons on the Supreme Court Bench in terms of their time of entry there, but he is the first to leave his colleagues including those he met there due to age factor.
The age of Mr. Weah’s nominee Cllr. Nagbe is not known to this paper, but his physical appearance appears to suggest that if he is not the oldest, he might not be any younger to stay even longer on the bench than some of those he is meeting there too.
His nomination to the Supreme Court is subject to confirmation by Liberian Senate.
Following Sen. Nagbe’s nomination, he told the media on Wednesday that he will interpret the law in context because he is no longer a private lawyer, but a lawyer for the entire country.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah