Written by Vallai M. Dorley
The Re-emergence of the Past
Dear Hon. Lewis:
Chief Justice of Liberia
I write to express my disenchantment on how we were humiliated and flogged by your Court Security Officers in the yield of the Temple of Justice on Tuesday, November 9, 2010.
Your order given them to flog and step us out of the compound of the Temple of Justice contravenes articles 15 and 17 of the Magna Carta of Liberia. Article 15 provides “Every person shall have the right to freedom of expression, being fully responsible for the abuse thereof.
This right shall not be curtailed, restricted or enjoined by government save during an emergency declared in accordance with this Constitution”.
Also, article 17 explains “All persons, at all times, in an orderly and peaceable manner, shall have the right to assemble and consult upon the common good, to instruct their representatives, to petition the Government or other functionaries for the redress of grievances and to associate fully with others or refuse to associate in political parties, trade unions and other organizations”
Our institution under the umbrella, Consortium of Civic Society Youth Movement; a conglomerate of more than 15 youth organizations took all of these clauses of our constitution into consideration and peacefully assembled at the compound of the Temple of Justice with our placards to give our grievances and candid opinion on the ongoing case between a member of the Supreme Court Bench, Cllr. Glady Johnson and the Managing Editor of the Front Page Africa, Mr. Rodney Sieh. All we wanted was to read our placards and see our concerns as all of the Associate Justices and other Court Officials did. Up to now, our overall concern is to see a fair trial in this case; either with Mr. Sieh or Cllr. Johnson.
Hon. Chief Justice, even refereeing to us as “Bush and Native Boys” on that day shows some level of disconnectivity between the so called “Congos” and Natives. I strongly think that Liberia is longer moving on such divisive path; because these statements have the proclivity to undermine the cohesiveness and tranquility we are now enjoying in Liberia.
Your Honor, the order given by you to your Court Marshall General to kick and step student and youth leaders out of the court yard reminds me of the old orders of the 60s, 70s, 80, and 90s when SATU, ATU, RRU ,and other related Para-military officials were treating our people like animals. But as a Retire Student Leader and an active youth advocate, we are not going to see the reminisce of the past! We are going to be robust and professional in making sure that the rule of law will continue to be on the right trajectory.
Hon. Lewis, if you have a fundamental problem with the natives please make it known to us. The last time I read some pages of our own history, I was made to understand that because your father, John Lewis did not emerge as president while serving as Speaker of Parliament during the resignation of Charles D.B. King and his Vice President. Based on this factor, you have decided to fundamentally go against the Natives or what you (Hon. Johnny Lewis) personally called “Bush People”.
Finally Hon. Chief Justice, is there any legal justification that forbids anyone to peacefully assemble in the court yard of the Temple of Justice? Do you know that you abrogated Articles 15 and 17 of the constitution of Liberia? How can you distinguish the legal system of the old orders from today? Do you also know that you are not above the law?
After leaving my sick bed, I am going to write you another letter outlining many disappointments in you and the judiciary system of Liberia.
The last time I was beaten and thrown out of the Supreme Court of Liberia through your order, I still manage to real the wall of the Temple of Justice and it was still written “LET JUSTICE BE DONE TO ALL”. But remember, you will not remain Chief Justice for ever in Liberia; see what is happening now to Cllr. Jenkins Scott. The evil that man does live after him!!
Vallai M. Dorley