Liberia News: OPPOSITION SPEAKS OUT ON LTA SAGA

…Describes Boakai’s Action As Gangster-Style Maneuvers

Monrovia-May-3-2024-TNR:The opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC) of Alexander B. Cummings and the Movement for Progressive Change (MPC) of businessman Simeon Freeman, have collectively slammed President Joseph N. Boakai’s recent suspension of tenured government officials.

The political parties said the President’s action contravenes best governance practices, and have therefore called upon him to adhere to the recent Supreme Court’s directive, instructing the Executive Mansion not to temper with tenured positions.

The Supreme Court had ruled that President Boakai violated the Liberia 1986 Constitution by making new nominations before the tenure of officials appointed by his predecessor had ended, denying them due process.

In response to the Supreme Court ruling, President Boakai suspended Edwina C. Zackpah, Israel Akinsanya, Zotawon D. Titus, James Gbarwea, and Osborne K. Diggs, Chairperson and Commissioners of the LTA, citing allegations of questionable financial transactions and malpractices.

According to a release from the Executive Mansion, the President called for a comprehensive audit of the LTA by the General Auditing Commission (GAC) to investigate these claims and urged the suspended officials to cooperate with the investigation.

However, the ANC and MPC have called on President Boakai to adhere to the Supreme Court’s directives, to immediately retract unwarranted actions against the tenured officials, and to ensure that any changes in government positions are conducted within the legal framework.

Reading a statement on behalf of the two parties, MPC Political Leader Simeon Freeman said failure to do so not only disrespect the judicial branch of the government but also signals a dangerous departure from democratic norms.

Freeman expressed disappointment over the administration’s actions, highlighting that such maneuvers resemble gangster-style tactics and go against the principles of Liberia’s democratic society.

“This action of the President, executed with a disregard reminiscent of gangster-style maneuvers, comes merely two days after the Supreme Court explicitly directed a cessation of such practices. This brazen defiance not only undermines the judiciary’s authority but also threatens the very fabric of our governance,” Freeman said.

He emphasized the importance of upholding the rule of law and respecting the judiciary’s authority, especially in light of recent Supreme Court directives.

Freeman asserted that as opposition, while it is their role to provide constructive criticism and work collaboratively for the betterment of the country, they cannot and will not stand idly by as the constitution- the cornerstone of Liberia democracy is flouted.

“Our commitment to democracy demands that we hold those in power accountable, ensuring that the rule of law is not only respected but upheld,” he said. “We hereby call upon President Boakai to adhere to the Supreme Court’s directives, to immediately retract these unwarranted actions, and to ensure that any changes in government positions are conducted within the legal framework that governs us all. Failure to do so not only disrespects the judicial branch of our government but also signals a dangerous departure from democratic norms.”

The ANC and MPC stressed their commitment to challenging such actions, legally and politically, to safeguard democracy and justice.

Meanwhile, Freeman condemned the excessive use of force by the police in Kinjor, Cape Mount County, resulting in the loss of innocent lives. He called for justice and accountability, urging international support to address government excesses and uphold the rule of law.

The opposition parties stand united in their dedication to fairness, legality, and democratic governance, urging the President to act in the best interests of all citizens to maintain a strong and unassailable democracy.

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