By Jerry Wehtee Wion
Washington, DC, USA
Liberia is a funny place: to hear the Chief Justice say he will uphold press freedom in Liberia. Who is he kidding? Where was he when Rodney Sieh was railroaded and dragged to jail over a kangaroo trial that led to the jailing of Sieh first and then the closing down of his FPA newspaper later which was supposed to be the other way around: close business first and then if the damages sought by Chris Toe were not paid, then sell the assets of the business, and then the talk of jailing the officers of the business. Chief Justice Francis Korkpor, I am not a lawyer neither did I go to law school. But this was a CIVIL CASE and NOT a CRIMINAL CASE, hello!!! But then again I know you were put there to do the dirty work for the congua so it didn't matter that this was a no-case to begin with against Rodney Sieh, but rather to teach the country boy a lesson.
Martin Luther King Jr said "if a man has not discovered something worth dying for then he is not fit to live." Who is Francis Korkpor and what does he stand for, a country man placed in such historic position but still he doesn't get? I remember the first time Ellen DISOBEYED the Supreme Court ruling was during the Johnny Lewis Bench, and I pray I am wrong that you were not on the Court. But if you were, why did the Supreme Court let Ellen get way with disobeying the court's ruling that said she needed to deliver her first Annual Message before the sitting Legislature at the Centennial Pavilion where the Speaker (Snowe) and others were meeting rather than at the Unity Conference Center in Virginia when she followed the rebel wing or faction of her Unity Party in the Legislature that gathered in Virginia? Don't tell me you have forgotten about Ellen's bold and unconstitutional defiance or transgression of a Supreme Court important ruling. That was when I knew we were headed for a train wreck as far as upholding the law/constitution in Liberia. And eight-plus years later to hear you talk about upholding press freedom in Liberia. Give me a break, or "weh side" as we say in Liberia.
Since Ellen became president, several newspapers and radio stations went bellyup, journalists beaten, arrested, jailed or either sued by Ellen and others or closed down, including Rodney's FPA. Where were you then? Looking back at the fiasco that characterized the bogus trial of Sieh---and thanks to its international exposure of the rotten judiciary in Liberia--, the case marks the first time I would say a lower court overturned your Supreme Court decision in the case when the final ruling to end that miscarriage of justice was settled back in the lower civil law court. Really? Why then were you barking at Justice Minister Christiana Tah for letting Rodney out of jail "without consulting the Supreme Court" that ordered him jailed? And now you suspended a cabinet of the Executive Branch appointed by the president for doing her job? So would you have cited the president for "contempt" if she had granted Rodney "clemency"? I am just curious. But then it is the case of the blind leading the blind.
If you know the law so much, why were statements by jurors ignored that they were offered bribes by prosecution lawyers to convict Rodney? I am not even going to talk about Associate Supreme Court Justice Philip Banks' conflict of interest saga in the case: his former employer and law firm represented Chris Toe; his sister is the wife of lead prosecuting lawyer Emmanuel James; and why didn't Banks recues himself from the case? And this is what I have been saying that we country people are still bearing the psychological scars of our marginalization by the Americo-Liberians/congua for nearly 200 years that we still continue to feel our own inferiority, to still mentally carry the chamber bucket, or the handbag, bending over for them to ride on our backs, carrying them on our heads in hammocks into the remote parts of the country to collect hut tax from tribal people and a form of taxation without representation, not being allowed to vote, and still answering yes sir and yes ma to them in 2014 even when we wear neck ties as judges on Liberia's SUPREME COURT. I guess my contempt summon should be arriving in the mail soon for my extradition to Liberia to answer and stand before you. I will say the same thing even at the cost of my life. We country people need to wake up. Some of us are still suffering from our less than human treatment from yesteryears by the cougua. The truth hurts but it needs not allies.
Jerry Wehtee Wion, Washington, DC, USA