Our system puts justice on sale
Presidential hopeful Mr. Alexander B. Cummings has lamented here that the powerful in the Liberian society believe justice ought to be selective and should exclude them from its reach.
Delivering a speech recently, Mr. Cummings claimed that the system continues to put up justice for sale.
“On the other hand, our system continues to put up justice for sale so that only those who can afford it can purchase justice,” he said.
“We can never hope to be a truly free, democratic, prosperous, and united society without the guarantees of justice – one that is blind, fearless, requires no special favors, and is accessible and affordable to all,” he warned.
Mr. Cummings is one of many opposition leaders seeking the presidency.
He heads the opposition bloc Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), as well as the Alternative National Congress (ANC), a CPP constituent party.
He is making his second try for the presidency in 2023 against incumbent President George Manneh Weah and other opposition presidential hopefuls.
Over the years, he said, Liberia’s journey has shown that the achievement of democracy has remained mostly aspirational.
He said the democracy here, while deeply cherished, is fragile.
But Cummings argued that it must be protected and sustained by higher commitments to justice, accountability, and respect for the rule of law.
“Unfortunately, Justice, that important pillar of democracy which ensures equality of all persons, continues to elude our nation,” he lamented.
“Here, therefore, I speak of justice that punishes wrong regardless of who commits it, and sets accused persons free where the evidence so requires,” Cummings said.
He added that he speaks of courts unburdened by political interference and abuse of procedures so that before their bars, all persons can become true subjects of the same law.
“Here, also, I speak of professionals rather than partisans in law enforcement so that investigations protect accusers and accused alike, evidence points the way, and victims are protected rather than overburdened with high costs for investigative attention,” he said.
The CPP leader said he speaks against ‘guilt by association’ or passing judgment on account of prejudice.
As the country heads to elections in 2023, Mr. Cummings predicted that the democracy here will expectedly come under severe pressure, which we must not fail to hold up to.
Recently, he said, a new Chief Justice Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh was inducted.
The ANC political leader indicated that this transition at the top of the judiciary takes place as “we anticipate elections at an inflection point in our nation’s history.”
He said the Judiciary will play important roles, as they should in anchoring the democracy here.
“This is why, while I welcome the preferment and induction of the new Chief Justice, I challenge her administration of the Judiciary to not only resist political interference in the delivery of justice,” he noted.
He challenged Chief Justice Yuoh and her administration to fearlessly guard the courts against being used to achieve unjust ends.
“I acknowledge that the system and administration of justice in our country are in dire need of urgent reforms. But this must not excuse our responsibilities to stand for what is right especially when preferred to do only that which is right for the nation.”
Regardless of the difficulties, he believes that each leader has a sworn duty to do only that which is right. He said for the Judiciary, theirs is a duty to guard society away from that which is illegal, lawless, abusive, unconstitutional, and wrong.