Will Expediency and Political Maturity Prevail
or Cynical Posturing as Usual?
By Sunny G. Nyemah, CIA, CISSP, CIPM
This statement seems to hold a true meaning of what is brewing in Liberia with regards to the Snowe removal saga. We must take corrective actions now with political maturity, and expediency. Prior to the inauguration of the government we indicated our doubts about the caliber of members that were elected to the House of Representatives. We indicated in an article on the Perspective; Harnessing our Expectation Part I, that credibility, and cooperation from the house would have been a challenge because of the characters in the house whose priority would be self aggrandizement, rather than what is in the best interest of Liberia, and Liberians. At that time, I faulted myself for being general in my characterization of the house, because truly, there are some honorable members of the house who have exemplified such. The house of representative is singularly the most important branch of government that manifest the aspirations, and inklings of the masses, not themselves. Consequentially, it is important that the house of representative be very careful on how it handles its affairs. This has not been the case for the “Removal of Snowe ”
Article 49 of the Liberian constitution states that “The House of Representative shall elect once every six years a Speaker who shall be the presiding officer of that body, a Deputy Speaker, and such other officers as shall ensure the proper functioning of the House. The speaker, the Deputy Speaker and other officers so elected may be removed from office for cause by resolution of a two-thirds majority of the members of the House’
Article 38 of the Liberian constitution supports article 49, and states that “Each House shall adopt its own rules of procedure, enforce order and with the concurrence of two-thirds of the entire membership, may expel a member for cause. Each House shall establish its own committees and sub-committees; provided, however, that the committees on revenues and appropriations shall consist of one member from each County. All rules adopted by the Legislature shall conform to the requirements of due process of law laid down in this Constitution”
Yes, there are no published rules, processes, procedures, and standards, which are within the public domain that support or that should guide members on how to remove an elected officer of the house. The only publicly known measure for removing an officer of the house is the “two-thirds majority” rule. The house might have written rules, which specify exactly how an officer could be removed. It is also no secret that Honorable Edwin Snowe is on the UN travel restriction list, and there are allegations surrounding his behavior as Speaker of the house that are in complete contravention of the Liberian constitution. All of these, have some how stigmatized his reputation, and have cause some serious embarrassment to the legislative branch of government both locally, and internationally – Which are enough grounds for his removal. However, if he must be removed using the “two-thirds majority” rule as indicated in the highlighted section of article 49, political maturity, and expediency must prevail; Political maturity, and expediency calls for the due process, and common sense such as:
? A full house must convene with the speaker in session
at the appropriate venue – Centennial Pavilion
? Ask for a motion to have the speaker step aside from chairing the session involving his removal
? Have his deputy preside
? Present the case, and evidence that supports his removal for deliberations
? Have a vote for his removal based on the “Two-thirds majority’ rule along with a executed resolution including the signatures of the two-thirds majority
? Call a press conference to fully informed the public (Liberians) about the due process
Any process void, or that appears to be void of the due process is shortsighted, foolhardy, and cowardly an inconvenient truth. I cannot understand the so-called majority confused and cynical posturing of this issue. Why are the house-members who are in the majority cannot engage Snowe at the pavilion, and repeat the process? You have a unique case, and evidence for Snowe removal. Why are you acting as if the removal is dubious? Why do you want to complicate this issue, and make it confrontational? Why is the majority giving Snowe leverage?
The refusal of the majority to right this process, will buy Snowe support, and credibility. Furthermore, it will make it very difficult for the Liberian masses to side with majority. If the majority is not careful, Snowe ineptitudes or wrongdoings will pale in comparison to the immaturity of the majority in handling this issue.
Assuming, there was a conspiracy (that does not include illegal activities or briberies) to have the speaker removed for the good of the country; it must be done appropriately, not hastily, and foolhardily. It defeats the purpose (the good of the country) if the so-called majority stubbornly denied the obvious, which is the silent practice of shameful and embarrassing cowardice disguised as the championing arrogance of blind loyalty. Why is the so-called majority of the house so insensitive to the plights of the Liberian people? Do we want to give thugs an opportunity or justification to jump into the streets under the disguise of peaceful demonstration with the intent of looting, and causing havoc in Monrovia? What can’t we heel the call of the International Contact Group on Liberia (ICGL)? Are we insinuating that we are incapable of governing ourselves?
Liberia is gradually emerging from anarchy to normalcy. It is indeed a young democracy that must be protected. Let us not degenerate into the past, or digress to the old Liberian adage of blind loyalty, and sycophancy. Blind loyalty destroys the tenets of good governance, and corrupts the masses, which blindly follow their corrupt and deceitful leaders either because the state propaganda machines have impacted them, or because a complacent press has failed to perform as the fourth estate with balance reporting. This issue is playing badly in the international press, and might have a negative impact on Liberia’s ability to attract needed assistance, and galvanize investors’ confidence.
Let me leave us with this insight from Peter F. Drucker “If the institutions of our pluralist society do not perform in responsible autonomy, we will not have individualism and society in which there is a chance for people to fulfill themselves. We will, instead, impose on ourselves complete regimentation in which no one will be allowed autonomy. We will have Stalinism rather than participatory democracy, let alone the joyful spontaneity of doing one’s own thing. In summary, the alternative to autonomous institutions that function and perform is not freedom. It is totalitarian tyranny”