When the judiciary which is the bastion of democracy crumbles and dances at the tone of dictator; the entire Nation is doomed – When the proctor of the law bares freedom of speech and expression, the hope of the peasants is flushed to the toilet and the courtroom then become a theater of drama where the voices of integrity are painful in the ears of judicial crooks – this is exactly the case of Chief Justice Francis Saye Korkpor.
The nation is rotten. From the Executive to the Judiciary there is an outflow of systemic mess – from president to the Speaker; from the Speaker to the Chief Justice we see nothing but the outburst of the rotten system. The High Priest of the Supreme Court is now wearing a political pamper and passing out stools of intolerance and a mass inconsumable product of Justice. Indeed the nation is entrapped.
Comrades, I don’t need to tell you much about the dramatic scene that was created by the Chief Justice at the Supreme Court few days ago. The Chief Justice shockingly muscled the President of Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA), Cllr. Tiawon Gonlow after the later fearlessly criticized the entire bench of the High Court for lacking the moral courage to stand up to the Executive and the Legislative branches of government. Cllr. Gonglow has repeatedly stated that the removal of Kabnah Jan’neh was unconstitutional and he again reechoed it when he mounted the podium to give a statement on behalf of the Bar at Justice Kaba’s seating on the Supreme Court Bench. In his speech which was immaturely interrupted by Chief Justice Francis Korkpor, the President of the Bar reiterated that the removal of Jan;neh was illegal and called on the superior court to stand up against illegal action from the Executive or the Legislature. This angered Justice Korkpor and banged his gavel mandating Cllr. Gonglow to immediately take his seat. This action is a mind-boggling and a national judicial calamity that needs to be seriously considered as an attack on freedom of expression.
In case the Chief is comfortable in the bed of the Executive and the Legislature to an extend that he has swallowed simple elementary legal principle, this must serve as a reminder to him that restricting people’s right to free expression is a violation of Article 15 of the 1986 Constitution of the Republic of Liberia - He also needs to recollect that the rights to freedom of opinion and expression has been protected in all of the relevant international human rights treaties including Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Those rights cannot be negotiated especially in the highest sacred hall of justice in the land; this must claim the attentions of patriots especially advocates of social justice and freedom.
Chief Justice has violated the fundamental right of Cllr. Gonglow; a confirmation of our argument that the entire Justice System of the land is rotten to its core. Judges including the Chief Justice are serving at the will and pleasure of the Executive. They police are extremely corrupt, the Immigration officers are slave to Indians and Lebanese traders, the Drug Enforcement Officers are partners of Drug-lord, for the Judges – they dispense justice NOT on the basic of justice but based on the strength of your pocket , the higher bidder is always the winner – like the judges, the Justices of the bench are pocketed puppet of the Executive and the Legislature. Indeed the nation is crumbling from all angles!
Comrades, to the beneficiaries of the spoiled system, the action of the Chief Justice is nothing to warrant citizen’s action but to us, it is a judicial disaster of the first order. For the Chief arbiter of justice in the motherland to openly present himself as a dictator, we considered this as an aggressive attack not only on Cllr. Tiawon Gonglow but the over 4.5 million people of the state. The action is disgraceful to our nation; the Chief Justice who should be the main protector of the right to speak freely is now a dictator and is barring freedom of speech and expression – indeed Liberia is at the cross road and drifting into an abyss of political tragedy. In this generation of ours, it will take not the silence of the spineless opportunist and bootlickers to save the state but the collective resilience of young patriots. Undeniably, the nation is rotten – the Chief Justice has just pulled out judicial garbage clamping down free speech which is an embodiment of true justice.
The action of the Chief Justice against the President of the Liberia National Bar Association is nothing but a reckless display of highest intolerance in judicial history; it is a paradox of justice, and a spiteful outburst of a rotten Judicial System managed by group of political puppets who lack the independence and the high moral ground to dispense justice with objectivism. Now we know that gavel in the hands of a spineless bigot is threat to the existence of the defenselessly mass of our people. Yes, Cllr. Korpor is a political Chief Justice who works at the will and pleasure of the Executive and the Legislature in gross disregard to the separation of power, a doctrine of constitutional law under which the three branches of government are kept separate to maintain checks and balances. By action, the Chief Justice has flushed Article 3 of the 1986 Constitution of the Republic of Liberia to the lavatory – this provision of our organic law which speaks of three separate coordinate branches of government in respect to checks and balances is now in the septic tank.
Perhaps, the Chief justice has forgotten that the courts are not sacrosanct. Citizens discussions of courts can’t be questioned neither can’t it be a punishable offense when the issues are not pending before the court. Judicial decisions can be scrutinized by the public including the Bar – that is a friend of the court. For terming as illegal the removal of one of the Justices of the Supreme Court Bench –Cllr. Gonglow has done no wrong and must not be stripped off his right to freedom of expression. As President Weah butchers our democracy, the Chief Justice has therefore become a brazen emblem of dictatorship and trumpeter of bad governance. He is now the key element in the Judiciary promoting Weah’s authoritarianism, autocracy fascism. Indeed, this is an epitome of judicial misery.
Comrades, in the judicial system where judges are stooges of major political actors, justice will be served at the will of major political actors. No doubt, the public is now suspicious of the working of the highest court, the Supreme Court. Constitutionally clothed with the power as the final arbiter of justice and the only interpreter of the Constitution, the court has lost its true independence under the stewardship of Cllr. Korkpor.
Justice Korkpor’s display of intolerance to freedom of expression and his unorthodox opinion clearly undermine his already questionable independent nature as the Chief Priest of Justice of the motherland. He cannot in anyway be seen as a neutral arbiter of unadulterated justice. This action signals that dark days are ahead and the freedom we fought for as a nation is not guaranteed. Considering what the nation witnessed at the unconstitutional unseating of Justice Ja’neh, it is now palpable that a change in the leadership and make-up of the Supreme Court current bench is a wholesome composition of consummate opportunist and wealth seekers.
The free speech that we enjoy today did not come at the benevolence of any one individual. It was fought for - men lost their lives in defense of this worthy cause yesterday, let no man abuse it now especially those who have the gavel of judicial authority. Justice Korkpor owes Cllr. Gonglow and the Liberian people an apology. By his displayed of intolerance and bigotry, he has offended the Liberia national bar Association as well as the entire citizenry of the Republic who by his action, he abused their acumen. The right to freedom of expression is not a tradable commodity for capital exchange – every Liberian has this right and must be respected.
You have indeed brought disgrace to the nation – you must apologize to the Liberian people.
With resilience, we are under obligation to this not out of malice but conviction. The people, and the people – nobody else!
About the Author
Ephraim T. Nyumah is a student of the
University of Liberia, reading Economics &
Demography. Currently serving as the Secretary
General of the Student Unification Party (SUP)
He can be reached at : 0770255670 or alternatively -
Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."