River Gee County Senator Comany Wesseh is warning of the danger of illegally impeaching Associate Justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh, saying it has the propensity to throw Liberia into chaos when those expressing disagreement react with “unconstitutional” actions.
“This war in Liberia, if you listened to all the different factions, they said that something was done unconstitutionally. When Mr. Doe made his coup d’etate, he said, they said misuse of power, this that, corruption, and all of that and people were killed,” Sen. Wesseh recalled during a live talk show at OK FM in Monrovia Monday, 5 November.
According to him, when you do things that are wrong, there are other people who express their disagreement by fighting back on it “unconstitutionally.”
Sen. Wesseh recalls that “This was the same advice that we were giving to president [Samuel] Doe … and Doe thought people hated him.”
“When I see something that will lead us into trouble I know it,” he says, adding that the danger in all of this is that when “we” begin [to violate] the Constitution, you don’t know how far it will go.
“It’s not just that it is wrong, you know, it is also that it has the potential to throw our country into chaos, into more confusion,” he emphasizes.
In response to speculations that President George Manneh Weah might be behind Justice Ja’neh’s impeachment, Sen. Wesseh says he does not believe so because he hasn’t heard President Weah demanding Ja’neh’s impeachment.
Instead, Sen. Wesseh challenges lawmakers that are demanding Justice Ja’neh’s impeachment to bear responsibility for their actions.
He says his colleagues should know that the same way this impeachment seeks to hang Justice Ja’neh, it will be the same way that it “will hang the president and it will hang the vice president,” the chief justice, associate justices and judges of lower courts.
Sen. Wesseh says “as we speak,” there is no impeachment procedure set by the Legislature (House of Representatives and Senate combined); and everything that was done in the House of Representatives was not in conformity with the law.
“There is no procedure as we speak. Everything that was done in the lower House was not in conformity with Article 43. So we don’t have a procedure,” Sen Wesseh notes.He warns that “we are on an unconstitutional path,” adding: “that is why it will not work.”
According to Sen. Wesseh, even if all the Senators are voting and one Senator decides that the Supreme Court should give the definition of Legislature, the simple thing is for the Supreme Court to interpret what Article 29 is saying.
In Article 29, the Constitution says the legislative power of the Republic shall be vested in the Legislature of Liberia which shall consist of two separate houses: a Senate and a House of Representatives, both of which must pass on all legislation.
Article 43 of the Constitution partly says “The Legislature shall prescribe the procedure for impeachment proceedings which shall be in conformity with the requirements of due process of law.”
It says the House of Representatives is vested with the power to prepare a bill of impeachment while impeachment power is solely vested in the Senate.
“But that’s the point that I’m making, I’m saying that we are not respecting the Constitution,” Sen. Wesseh says further in response to a question posed by his host on OK FM as to how kind the lawmakers are proceeding when they have no rules for impeachment.
As per Sen. Wesseh’s assessment of the unfolding events here, it seems that some of his colleagues have forgotten that impeachment procedures are not made for individuals.
But Sen. Wesseh believes that those that are seeking Ja’neh’s impeachment will be shocked because they will not get the two – thirds majority they need.
In reaction, ruling party CDC lawmaker and one of the leading masterminds of the Ja’neh impeachment campaign, Rep. Moses Acarus Gray says it’s a sign of defeat if you hear a veteran politician says it will end at the Supreme Court.
In his thought, Sen. Wesseh’s suggestions of seeking Court interpretation means that his fight has already been defeated on legislative floor.
Rep. Gray and another CDC Rep. Thomas Fallah have been leading the campaign to impeach Ja’neh over claims of corruption, proved misconduct and other charges.
The House has drafted, passed and forwarded to the Senate, an impeachment bill against Justice Ja’neh, in defiance to a Supreme Court stay order that followed Ja’neh’s petition for a writ of prohibition.
By Winston W. Parley