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While Liberians, and our nation is under threat from a deadly killer Ebola virus, our noble political party, the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) continue to embarrass and disgrace all CDCians, in an unnecessary and silly leadership crisis. Instead of joining forces with other well-meaning Liberia to help kick Ebola out of Liberia; in the CDC, gangster leadership is romancing with due process and serving jungle justice. Let me express humble apologies, to all Liberians, for such a distraction and insensitivity from the main opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC).
In CDC Grievance and Ethics ruling, not once did Justice Samuel Tweah mention the name-Robert Sirleaf. Why did Justice Tweah so cleverly neglect to mention Robert Sirleaf: when this whole CDC leadership dispute is supposed to be about National Chairman George Solo selling a CDC seat to Robert Sirleaf?
In the CDC, a Grievance and Ethics Committee (GEC) serves as the judiciary; it was established to operate in a similar fashion as a court would do, in the Judicial Branch of government. Therefore, the critical function of the CDC Grievance and Ethics Committee (GEC), just like a court, is to resolve internal administrative and operational disputes. A GEC dispute resolution must offer dispassionate neutrality in deciding cases, so that aggrieve partisans do not employee private remedies, including violence, to preserve their welfares. In its neutrality, the GEC must assign blame for organizational misconduct, in keeping with the Constitution and By Laws of the CDC, consistent with the National Laws of Liberia, and offer judgment to repair the CDC democratic and good governance credibility.
By its nature, the court, like the GEC, is not consider by many expert as the best place to resolve political questions, which borders on pure power struggle, as in the case of the ongoing leadership crisis in the CDC: where a few executive committee members are claiming to dispossessed National Chairman George Solo, of the right, to run the day to day activities of the CDC, like calling of executive committee meetings. In such situation, even the American court has apply what is generally consider as judicial restraint, to save the court from dispensing bias and prejudicial judgment, and from becoming an unnecessary and inappropriate accomplice in a political power struggle. The court has left such decision to the people, in the CDC case, the few EC members should have submitted an appeal to the CDC National Congress, not to hijack political power in a gangster fashion, and declared the National Chairman removed and later suspended- without due process. The primary reason for judicial restraint, by the court, regarding political power play, is to preserve the combative nature of, particularly the separation of powers inherent in a democratic and constitutional form of governance i.e. the authority of the CDC National Chairman vs the authority of some EC members. This is what this whole leadership crisis in the CDC is about: a power struggle.
One can hasten to conclude, the type of judgment emanating from the CDC's Grievance and Ethics Committee, to order suspension of National Chairman Solo for two years, exceeds their fundamental constitutional function and the implications of such judgment can only be characterize as jungle justice advocacy.
It is too easy to reach such a conclusion, given the general claim of CDC Justice Samuel Tweah, which is pillar on prejudice and parochial interest. What is the essence of a two years suspension, which goes beyond the end of the National Chairman tenure in 2016? When properly examined, the two years suspension is a chameleon version of the initial illegal removal resolution, which Justice Tweah celebrated as the finest day in the CDC. From the very beginning of the CDC leadership crisis, upon the issuance of the illegal removal resolution by some EC members, Justice Samuel Tweah, without examining subject matter facts, rendered a bias and prejudicial view against National Chairman Solo by declaring: "First time CDC executives took a decision against the chairman uninfluenced by Weah, with no input from others is the finest day in the CDC.
The majority made a consensus and independent decision. We need to move in the direction where the emphasis is moved from Chairman to the Executive Committee." Tweah had already declared his support for the initial illegal removal resolution; how then can he claim to act as an impartial and unbiased judge? Such bias act by Justice Tweah undermined the credibility and integrity of the Grievance Committee, for failing to follow ethical procedure in keeping with judicial fairness. Following rejection from the National Election Commission, of their illegal removal resolution, the same EC members- upon their jungle authority- reversed themselves and further declared National Chairman Solo suspended and ordered the National Chairman to submit to an already prejudicial and bias Judge Samuel Tweah.
Tweah would proceed to initiate a jungle grievance process, without consent from the National Chairman, although he is an appointee of the National Chairman. The only witness who claimed to have a conversation with Chairman Solo during Tweah jungle hearing was Witness Mulbah Morlu. “Asked during the hearing whether these conversations [about Chairman Solo selling CDC seat to Robert Sirleaf] were ever brought to the attention of the NEC, Mr. Morlu answered to the contrary (GEC ruling, p8).” "Asked whether similar offers or promises were made to other members of the NEC, Mr. Morlu responded that such promises could not be made since the National Chairman wanted to proceed secretly (GEC ruling, p10).”
Without independent corroboration of Witness Mulbah Morlu testimony, Judge Samuel Tweah declared National Chairman Solo guilty for solicitation. Tweah writes in his judgment, "The Vice Chairman for Operations argued before the GEC that the primary responsibility of any National Chairman of the CDC is to uphold and protect the interests of partisans of the CDC. He stated that on numerous occasions, the National Chairman, George Solo, had engaged him in discussions about trading CDC’s senatorial bid in Monserrado County in exchange for finances to support the CDC." Additionally, Justice Tweah deepens the jungle of gangster justice and "bleached" himself of all integrity to render any ethical decision in the CDC- by admitting into evidence an illegal voice recording.
By what legal authority did Tweah relied upon, to admit a private sound recording purporting to be statements from National Chairman Solo, in conversation with Witness Mulbah Morlu? How Tweah did reached such a conclusion that it was National Chairman Solo's voice? Liberia's criminal laws are very clear that any illegal recording, without consent from the recorded person, is fruit of the poisonous tree and inadmissible in any competent judicial process. Conversely, it was the same Justice Tweah that influenced the CDC to condemn recordings by Ellen Corkurm, as illegal and inadmissible evidence, regarding the RIA airport saga. Thus, Tweah admission of similar kinds of illegal recordings exposes his prejudice towards National Chairman Solo, and further confirms his public statement to "destroy the CDC."
Judge Tweah’s findings are rather contradictory and humorous, it shows the only witness, Mulbah Morlu testified that National Chairman Solo wanted to trade the "CDC’s senatorial bid in Monserrado County in exchange for finances to support the CDC." Interestingly, Judge Tweah agrees that it is not a crime to trade a CDC seat "in exchange for finances to support the CDC." Judge Tweah writes, "It may be an objective of the CDC not to field a particular candidate in a coalition arrangement. In exchange, the coalition may reward the CDC in any shape or manner which may include finances. Section 108 of Article 20 regards such a quid pro quo as a ‘common objective’ and a National Chairman in pursuit of any such common objective is not in violation of the CDC constitution."
The issue arises, if Judge Tweah admits that National Chairman Solo is not guilty for holding discussion with Robert Sirleaf, for a "coalition arrangement,” towards a ‘common objective,’ to “reward the CDC in any shape or manner which may include finances;" then how is the National Chairman guilty for soliciting Mulbah Morlu to support a legal and valid "coalition arrangement,” towards a ‘common objective?’ If an individual is not guilty for a specific action, how is that same person guilty for soliciting support for the exact action, which is not a crime? How would National Chairman Solo gained support from the CDC executive committee for such a "coalition arrangement,” towards a ‘common objective,’ to “reward the CDC in any shape or manner which may include finances" if Chairman Solo does not consult with other executive committee members? Did Tweah expect for Chairman Solo to single handedly commit the CDC to such a "coalition arrangement," towards a ‘common objective,’ for "finances" without approval from the executive committee? Tweah ruling leaves good governance, the core of constitutional democracy, venerable and crushed under an undemocratic militant and EC majority impulse of tyranny.
Mature and reasonable members, in any organization, would celebrate and embrace the fact- their National Chairman respects the views of other leaders, and desire their input in national decision making. It appears, Justice Tweah rejects the exercise of such good governance by National Chairman Solo. Instead, Jungle Justice Tweah serves jungle justice from the hostel of jungle damsels, calling it a CDC EC majority decision. Alexander Hamilton, one of America's greatest founding father argues, the purpose of the judiciary "is equally requisite to guard the Constitution and the rights of individuals from the effects of those ill humors which the arts of designing men, or the influence of particular conjunctures, sometimes disseminate among the people themselves, and which, though they speedily give place to better information, and more deliberate reflection, have a tendency, in the meantime, to occasion dangerous innovations in the government, and serious oppressions of the minor party in the community. "
In his concurring opinion of Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494, 525 (1951), Justice Frankfurter asserts, "History teaches that the independence of the judiciary is jeopardized when [CDC Grievance Committee] become embroiled in the passions of the day and assume primary responsibility in choosing between competing political, economic and social pressures." The result is jungle justice, nurtured by undemocratic militancy, and enforced by gangster leadership. Thus, James Madison asserts: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” And so Madison insists, “ambition must be made to counteracted ambition." Therefore, the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) march towards 2017, an opportunity to clinch state power, cannot continue to tolerate jungle justice, in which the struggle for political leadership is simply a matter of displaying undemocratic militancy, and gangsterism leadership. Liberia has suffered too long from misanthropic antidemocratic behavior, therefore, I call upon all well-meaning CDCians, to join the battle for due process, not jungle justice; constitutional democracy, not undemocratic militancy; good governance, not gangsterism leadership.
Watch out for Part II......................
Chorphie Charlie is a social and political commentator who resides in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at email@example.com