- Published on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 08:08
- Written by The News
Human Rights Lawyer Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe has raised serious constitutional issues surrounding the Presidency in which he claimed that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has breached the Constitution of Liberia. The long-time human rights campaigner made specific reference to Article 5(c). Cllr. Gongloe in a speech delivered at the 42nd anniversary of the Student Unification Party of the University of Liberia last week indicated that President Sirleaf violated the Constitution by appointing her sons to positions in government.
Cllr. Gongloe Further told his audience mostly university students that the appointment of President Sirleaf's sons is a violation of her oath of office as President of Liberia. He said the violation of the Constitution of Liberia is an impeachable offence for which the House of Representatives must act if President Sirleaf fails to resign.
Article 5(c) Of the Liberian Constitution stipulates that the Republic shall “take steps, by appropriate legislation and executive orders, to eliminate sectionalism and tribalism, and such abuses of power as the misuse of government resources, nepotism and all other corrupt practices”.
In View Of the above comments by Cllr. Gongloe supported by constitutional provision, we think that Cllr Gongloe is stabbing the legal profession in the back. As a lawyer, it is important to do away with politics especially when legal issues are involved.
In The Instant case where the constitution is beached, the route to follow is to take flight to the Supreme Court which is the arbiter for constitutional matters. As a citizen of Liberia, the erudite lawyer also has the right under Article 17 of the Liberian Constitution to petition his representatives or functionaries for the redress of grievances.
We Believe That all of the issues raised by Cllr. Gongloe are ingredients for a legal process rather than mixing his argument with politics. We are sure that the lawyer is not afraid to go to court when legal issues at stake are germane and need to be tested. What baffles us most is that Cllr. Gongloe remains mute during his tenure as Solicitor General and Labor Minister when these issues he's arguing against existed but failed to comment or quit the government at the time.
Is It important for Cllr. Gongloe to take note of Article 18 of the very constitution he is relying on today that “All Liberian citizens shall have equity for work and employment regardless of sex, creed, religion, ethnic background, place of origin or political affiliation, and all shall be entitled to equal pay for equal work”.
Without Doubts, Cllr. Gongloe has a point but he should take advantage of the due process of law and not to be political. Mixing politics with legal issues as a lawyer, for us, is unacceptable and undermines the legal system of Liberia. Cllr. Gongloe should go to court and defend his argument that President Sirleaf is taking her family members above the state instead of making the public to believe something that is yet to be proven in a court of law.
Indeed, President Sirleaf has her children and family members in positions and is even prepared to appoint more. We believe some of our laws are not only old-fashioned but the interpretation is confusing and do not reflect current realities.
We Urge The learned lawyer not to be political about constitutional or legal issues. Let him take the bull by the horn.