Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Political Expediency, or the Law?

Ibrahim Al-bakri Nyei

Societies every where establish standards to avoid ruthless conflicts among its elements for gains, safety, and glory by setting out laws and a body to effectuate their existence. This can only succeed at the acquiescence of every member. One constellation with distinct titles such as ‘Honorable’, ‘Lord’ or ‘Congressman; makes the laws, and for this, they are the decisive axle and first branch of every democratic society. The second is a body of cabinet headed by a Commander-in-chief for the enforcement of such laws, and the third is a class of refined and brilliant men who interpret the laws at bar. These three branches are by themselves independent but coordinating bodies.

A specter of civil uprisings haunted Liberia in the 1970s and 1980s, and later degenerated into a horrible and bloody internecine disparity in the 1990s the causes of which were corroborated under a blanket of ‘freedom and democracy for the people’. But the effects are scars that can not be eroded from the minds of the survivors; neither can they write historical pages without special emphases on it. This carnage portrayed spineless and callous characters in a theatre struggling for power with no base or standardized procedures in such pursuit. The remissness of their drama never only saw the strength of power at work, but the grotesque suppression of our constitution and codes of law to mere paper document- toothless enough to chew its violators. The result of a society created by such a system only justifies the maxim of a jungle-style life-‘the strongest survives’. And for the strongest to survive the weak must surrender or be eliminated. We experienced this jungle-style life for more than a decade. We saw the involuntary displacement of hundreds of thousands of citizens some of whom are still wallowing in refugee camps in hopelessness; the amputation and slipshod murdering of hundreds of thousands of countrymen, and the robbing of our economy , erosion of our traditional values and the collapsed of our social systems thereby rendering our state a ‘failed state’.

In 2005 a comprehensive peace agreement was signed by the rebels, the GOL, and Civil Society Organizations and Political Parties not only as a document to end the war, but also a testament emphasizing the weariness of the Liberian people in civil conflict and their alacrity for the return to constitutional democracy. But to the dismay of the masses, a people healing wounds of trauma and awakening to a new consciousness, some members of the legislature had reintroduced the use of power against the laws of the state, thereby, radiating hypocrisy, sycophancy and gross betrayal in the service of the people.

Some commentators argued in defense of the anti-Snowe Speakership camp by the mere absurdity of ‘majority decision’. Some argue that Snowe ignored political expediency for legality to secure his regality, and for this he proved to be ‘weak’ politically. To argue this way is to express forgetfulness about the memories of the civil war, because political expediency is guided by the rule of law. A true politician is not the one who plays a charade or chicanery to succeed, but he who pursues success by moral and ethical standards within the circumference of the law. Let us not forget that it was because of misguided political expediency that our nineteenth President was murder in a cold blood. Thirteen of our statesmen were also executed and others followed subsequently, since the then regime saw their existence as threats and for expediency they must be eliminated at all costs. The commanding General also saw it politically expedient to change the despotic regime out of the rule of law, and we saw the theatre of murder and attempted genocide that followed in reaction. Some compatriots also saw it politically expedient in 1989 to return from exile by dethroning the then government through arm invasion. They saw the use of power as the only way out, not the laws of the land. They brutally advanced on the state and the innocent peasants thereby leading this country into a fray of social decadence and fratricidal war that lasted for nearly one and a half decade characterized by ethnic and sectional violence, a change of regimes of all types- irresponsive to their responsibilities, the lost of meritocracy, and extreme poverty in the lives of the people.

If we continue to solve disparities by violence terming it ‘politically expedient’, though injurious to our laws, then we will not be forgiven by the spirit of our innocent countrymen who fell during our days of anarchy. We emphasize these for no other reasons, but to demonstrate our own resilience and resolve against those things that have once bred chaos in our country. The unconstitutional removal of our speaker does not in anyway demonstrate patriotic consciousness, and a sense of civil responsibility in the Virginia Lawmakers, but rather a blatant disregard of the plight, and sufferings of the people. Thanks to the Supreme Court for the enlightenment that the strongest force in every land is the law.

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