Monday, 11 April 2011

‘Comedian President’

In ‘April Fool Talk’, Aspirant Mayson Describes Sirleaf As Comic Leader

Nat Bayjay, nat. (231-77-402737)

Ambassador Duw Mayson, wanting to become the country’s next president, thinks the President’s treatment of ‘important state matters as a joke’ makes her more of a comedian.
Mayson’s description of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as a comic leader is his way of assessing her recent arrest-turned April Fool of Simeon Freeman’s intent to mastermind a national demonstration against corruption.
Says Mayson: ““I didn’t realize that our President was a comedian to engage in such jokes. When the President of our country makes a statement, it is something is taken seriously by all citizens. Therefore, any statement by our President is one that I consider on the face value and don’t consider it a joke.”
On her recent tour of the Southeast, Sirleaf ordered the arrest of Freeman, leader of the Movement for Progressive Change (MPC), whenever he attempted to carry-out his planned demonstration. Her pronouncement was however equated to an April Fool few days later by both her Press Secretary, Cyrus Badio and Information Minister Cletus Sieh-something that has since sparked serious argument over the true intent of the ‘arrest-converted-fools talk.’
Both Badio and Sieh maintained that the statement was made on April 1 which is considered an All Fools Day in the country, implying it to be the President’s truth intention of the statement.
Having gone bitter with her since her presidency and hoping to replace President Sirleaf after the October presidential election, Mayson said matters of national concerns “are just too strong for us to ascribe any form of comic relief to them.”
 Mayson made the assertion recently when he addressed journalists following his return from the capital from Sinoe County.
“I can’t believe that the President will attempt to arrest Mr. Simeon Freeman and I think that such a serious matter should not be termed a joke”, the man who once campaigned for the President’s campaign five years ago added.
He continued: “And I will hope that utterances particularly coming from our national leadership will be guided. The word from a leader can be respected and can be trusted.”
The proposed National Democratic Coalition (NDC) head said it is the right of all Liberians to demonstrate, adding, “Protest must be guided jealously by all Liberians. I myself, have been a victim of abuse by government.”
Reflecting on the President’s personal experience of imprisonment, Mayson said: “I also believe that President Sirleaf herself was a one-time victim of government’s hard-handiness to planned demonstrations and protests. It is the right of every Liberian to engage in peaceful protests. That is why Mr Simeon Freeman and others like him have the right to demonstrate within the confines of the law. Any attempt to arrest him for attempting to demonstrate is illegal.”
Following her reversed decision of a single-term promise which is Mayson says is his main reason of deserting her, he now wonders if everything the President says is an April Fool: “She said she was going for one term. Or is that an April Fool joke also? She said that corruption was going to be public enemy number one. Is that an April fool joke also perhaps so since a general in the army to fight that corruption has now been fired? And we were also assured that civil liberties were going to be guided. Now, we had that bloody Tuesday in which students were being brutalized. Or was it an April fool joke too?”
Describing his Sinoe trip as a more reason to contest the presidency, Mayson who hails from that part of the country said: “Now that my house is selling me, I want the streets to buy me.”


Supreme Court Hears Argument in Landmark Citizenship Case

Clayton, Delaware.

In what is one of the most closely watched cases on its docket, the Supreme Court of Liberia will on Monday, April 11, 2011, hear oral argument in the automatic loss of citizenship case.

In July 2010, our friend and brother, Counselor Alvin Teage Jalloh filed suit with the High Court, challenging as unconstitutional the automatic loss of citizenship provisions of the Aliens and Nationality Law of Liberia.

The challenged provisions call for automatic loss of Liberian citizenship from the moment a Liberian becomes a naturalized citizen of a foreign country, votes in a foreign election, or serves in a foreign military without approval from the president.

This is by far the largest group-focused case of our time. The constitutional, social, political, and economic stakes are high. How the justices resolve the case will have significant impact not only on the 600,000 plus Liberians in the Diaspora, but also on high-ranking officials of the Liberian government who hold foreign passports.

The many years of arm violence and unrealistic prosecution in Liberia forced more than 900,000 Liberians to flee home in search of security in other countries. As time passed, a sizable number of these exiled Liberians got marry to citizens of other countries, gave birth to thousands of children in their host countries, and became naturalized citizens in their host countries.

Today, some of the very people who coerced thousands of Liberians into refugee camps and other countries around the world are the very people questioning the patriotism of those Liberians challenging the unconstitutionality of the automatic lost of citizenship law, currently before the Supreme Court.

Any law that treats a Liberian or group of Liberian as non-citizen or second class citizen is a violation of our constitution and the system of social equality as advocated by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The problem of a law that condemns without due process was recently addressed in the honorable Supreme Court’s decision about the TRC recommendations, where the Court ruled that the 30-year ban recommendation was in violation of due process of law. 

Liberians in the Diaspora have and continue to make substantial contribution to the reconstruction and development of Liberia. Last year, the World Bank report showed that Liberians in the Diaspora remitted more than hundred million dollars to Liberia. How can anyone, group, or institution try to ignore such immense contribution?

The citizenship retention lawsuit is designed to protect all Liberians against involuntary losses of their natural-born Liberian Citizenship. It further addresses the concern that Liberians should not be punished for being forced into refugee camps and other places they would have never gone under normal circumstances. 

By Sam K. Zinnah
Chairman, Non-Resident Liberians



FOR MONTHS now allegations have been flying in the corridors of the national legislature of Liberia, alleging that lawmakers in both the lower house and the upper house have been involved in corruption.
THE REPORTS have ranged from allegations of envelopes changing hands to lawmakers using their offices to blackmail passages of crucial bills and legislations intended to impact the lives of the Liberian people.
NOW FOR THE first time,  a lawmaker has spilled the beans and is throwing light on a practice many believe has been the norm in the national legislature, that lawmakers were rampantly practicing ‘cold water’ or receiving envelopments in exchange for favors.
MONTSERRADO COUNTY Senior Senator Joyce Musu Freeman-Sumo of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change, during a heated-debate last Thursday, April 7, 2011, in the plenary session of the Senate,  boldly declared that Senators take ‘bribes in envelopes’ to compromise national interest.
SENATOR FREEMAN-SUMO went on to say that the envelopes are given ‘under the table’ to quell genuine and critical opposing comments of Senators on crucial issues of national concerns.  
SAID THE LAWMAKER: “You think that the one we here for. Sooner people talk, when they [Senate leaders] do wrong, you talk about it, they call you and give you ‘envelope behind the table’. I don’t want no envelope from nobody. I don’t want sh*t. Nothing I don’t want from nobody. Nothing I don’t want. I don’t want nothing from nobody”.
Bribery under Liberian law is a crime- punishable by at least two years imprisonment.
THIS IS NOT the first time that allegations of bribery has dogged the legislature. In 2010, the Ministry of Justice kept a close tab on allegations of bribery in the national legislature. At the time, Solicitor General Tiawon Gonglo said under Article forty-two of the Liberian Constitution a Legislator can be arrested for bribery, which is a felony.  The minister said when the investigation finds credible evidence, lawmakers involved in the bribery scandal would be brought to book. 
BRIBERY WAS  focal point of U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech on his first visit on the African continent as president. In a speech in Ghana, Obama said: “No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves ... or if police – if people can be bought off by drug traffickers. No business wants invest in a place where the government is corrupt. No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery. That is not democracy that is tyrannical, even if occasionally you sprinkle an election in there. And now is the time for that style of governance to end”.
WE URGE the President Pro Tempore of the Senate to give this matter urgent attention to ensure that the reputation of the Senate is not further dampened or stained amid allegations of bribery and envelopes.


‘We Are Ready’

South African Ambassador Assures Liberia

The newly accredited South African Ambassador to Liberia, His Excellency Mr. Masilo Esau Mabeta says his country will explore economic opportunities that exist in Liberia and South Africa to empower young people of both countries.
Ambassador Mabeta says his country is a huge economy that can positively contribute to Liberia’s development.
He asserted that his country will explore investment opportunities in the areas of mining, logging, education and the arts.
He noted that since his arrival in the country, he has seen more young people involved in making arts and craft materials on street corners, something he said will be introduced in his country.
“If we establish partnerships that are geared towards developing the country, developing the economy that will absorb more and more people into proper empowerment structures, it can create self employment for themselves and others,” he said.
Mr. Mabeta says Liberia is strategically situated, which makes it an important tourist attraction.
“We believe you have wonderful tourism opportunities here… the beaches are wonderful and we think we have the skills, the resources, with proper partnerships with people from Liberia’s businesses, the communities around those areas where one establishes hotels can be empowered to benefit,” he said.
The South African Diplomat noted that investment into the tourism sector will bring long term economic benefits for people who live along the nation’s beaches and waterways.
On the issue of food security he said his country hopes to work with local people in Liberia through the Liberian Government in order to see canned food items produced in Liberia.