Liberia News: Boakai Risks Impeachment

…As Tenure Positions Saga Sparks Outroar

A Liberian legal practitioner, Isaac Jackson has voiced out his anger over President Joseph
Nyuma Boakai’s recent decision to suspend the entire Board of the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA).

In a wellprepared statement, Atty. Jackson said it is regrettable that having lost at the Supreme Court, President Boakai has shamelessly doubled down in his abuse of Presidential power by suspending holders of tenured offices.

He said the conduct of President Boakai to suspend tenure holders amidst the Supreme Court’s ruling that it was unlawful for him to have dismissed tenure-holders is doubly illegal, inelegant and downright shameful.

Isaa Jackson added that President Boakia needs to rescind his decision that flagrantly violates the law or be impeached.

The Liberian lawyer added, “Our case law is unambiguously clear: In the Case, NDPL v. House of Senate decided December 18, 2008, the Supreme Court of Liberia ruled in favor of the Petitioner, Isaac Wehyee Nyenablo, stating that dismissal and suspension have one element in common, which is removal. Hence, tenure-holders cannot be dismissed or suspended without due process of law since suspension is a punitive action.

Jackson said having violated Article 18, which prohibits employment discrimination based on political affiliation as is the case with the dismissal of Israel Akinsanya and others; and Article 89 of the Constitution, which gives birth to the statute law creating tenures at various agencies of the government, the only fate that awaits Boakai is that which happened to President Andrew Johnson of the United States of America.  The thrust of the precedent in focus is that on February 24, 1868, President Andrew Johnson was impeached for violating the Tenure of Office Act when he illegally dismissed Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War.

He noted, “The eloquent argument that prevailed against Pres. Andrew Johnson in the House of Representatives, which remains relevant for present-day democracy the world over, is that the presidential oath requires Presidents to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, not violated.”

In fact, Margaret Thatcher couldn’t have put it any better when in 1975, she said, “The duty of government is to uphold the law. If it should try to weave, and duck around that duty when it’s inconvenient, then so will the governed, and then nothing is safenot home, not liberty, not life itself.” Our leaders, Boakai included, ought to lead by good example, not violate the law at will and pleasure,” Atty. Jackson pointed out.

He went on. “It is obvious that Boakai is doing violence to our laws by undermining the efficacy of the Tenure Law, which was meant to limit the arbitrary interference of executive influence. Paraphrasing Truman Capote, it is unwise to operate outside of the law, and yet expect its protection.  Having done such violence to our laws, the only effective remedy available to the Honorable House of Legislature is to impeach President Boakai.

According to Isaac Jackson, as a tenure-holder himself, if a citizen were to deploy means not provided in the Constitution for the removal of President Boakai from office, said citizen would be charged with treason. Similarly, it is fair game to suggest that the President rescind a constitutional violation as a basis for avoiding the natural consequence of impeachment.

Nonetheless, the President would be acting within the scope and confines of the Law by not reappointing those who have served already in tenured positions for periods of 9 years +, thereby bringing on board new blood. This is fair and simple to all intents and purposes. Casting the net to draw in other qualified Liberians void of employment discrimination on the basis of political affiliation would be highly welcomed and in satisfactory order,” he noted.

Now, if we were to digress and dispense with legal rigidity and evoke public morality; President Boakai’s conduct would still be wantingappointing an adulterous cheat who is a Senegalese as Ambassador-at-large for Youth and Sports flies in the face of public morality. Mind you, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s administration collapsed as a result of appointing Chris Pincher, an alleged sex pest as Deputy Chief Whip. Regrettably, in just three months, Boakai’s missteps are deeply concerning. Hence, we are left to wonder why would a Baptist Deacon appoint an adulterous cheat as an Ambassador-At-Large,” he intimated.

Concluding, Atty. Jackson noted, “It is important to highlight that Liberia is currently closing the door on impunity, with the passage of the resolution by lawmakers aimed at creating a War and Economic Crimes Court for Liberia. Having passed such a resolution, Members of the Legislature cannot grant impunity to any lawbreaker including President Boakai. The current legislature has a duty to protect our democracy by preserving the dignity of its forebears, i.e., those before them who diligently worked to enact the Tenure Law.

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