The National Chairman of the opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC) Mr. Orashall Gould has termed as “gangsterism, a move by lawmakers here to snub a constitutional court order against that body to proceed with an impeachment process against Associate Justice Kabinah Ja’neh.
Members of the House of Representatives Tuesday August 28, 2018 defied a Supreme Court stay order and proceeded with an impeachment bill against Justice Ja’neh, a move many has described as a show of disrespect against the constitutional court.
“The only thing we have to govern our country is rule of law; anything else is gangsterism,” Mr. Gould said Tuesday August 28.
He argues further that “we cannot resort to gangsterism in this country; once you have a prohibition in place, it’s an injunction that has been placed on the other.”
He notes that such prohibition is not final, it simply says stop where you are, come let’s hear a complaint against you.
Given the lawmakers’ defiance, Mr. Gould is suggesting that the Court should continue with the case, get a judgment while the lawmakers conduct its impeachment trial.
Mr. Gould’s comments came during a live radio talk show in which Justice Ja’neh’s lawyer, Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson appeared repeating a warning that whatever the lawmakers did on Capitol Hill was “unconstitutional.”
Cllr. Johnson warns that what the lawmakers have done is a “stabbed and struck” in the back” of the democracy of Liberia, accusing them of conferring onto themselves what the law did not give them.
He claims that the fact that the lawmakers would tell the Supreme Court that they would not honor its call and appear before it, they were interpreting the law.
The House’s decision to pass an impeachment bill and submit it to the Liberian Senate to try Justice Ja’neh comes after two ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Representatives Acarous Gray and Thomas Fallah accused him of alleged proved misconduct, corruption and abuse of power.
The lawmakers refused to attend court hearings in defiance to a stay order issued by the Supreme Court as a result of Justice Ja’neh’s request for a prohibition against his impeachment process.
But Cllr. Johnson warned Tuesday that these were the same mistakes made in the past that resulted to the country’s 14 years of civil war when some of those that are making “reckless statements” today were juvenile.
“We are on the side of the law and that is [what] we depend on because when the rule of law is broken, we will be affected in this country. And I can only survive when we have the rule of law,” he says.
Cllr. Johnson says he is not on the side of any political institution, but for the rule of law because he feels affected when the rule of law is disrespected.
He recalls how in the past he represented and defended some of those that are disrespecting the Court today, including Representative Acarous Gray, when they were arrested by the Liberia National Police officers and being investigated in the past.
“This morning I listened to Honorable Acarous Gray. There was a time when Acarous Gray was brutalized. Cllr. Swahilo Sesay and I went there. His mouth was swollen up, we made representation for him there,” he notes.
At the end, he says decisions from the two branches of government should be presented to Liberians and the international community to see which of the judgments will be respected.
Another caller who says he is a criminal justice student, Gbeally, believes that the lawmakers are proceeding “very wrongly” by all indication.
“They are raising issues of jurisdiction, so where are they going to raise that issue legally?” he queried.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah