By Sayma Syrenius Cephus
I have been somewhat unable to understand what has been the source of parochialism in the psyche of most Liberians who preferred to be called “educated” but in truth are victims of their own limitations. Even in the practice of law, I am yet to see a Liberian lawyer who has transcended the boundary of our country to practice anywhere in the world, until few years ago, when I made the ultimate sacrifice to market my name, competence and professional qualification as a courtroom lawyer with a number of international bodies.
Thank God Almighty, that Professor Mr. Justice Philip A.Z. Banks, the III has been in the forefront of my efforts, and today, as an international lawyer, my views on issues affecting my country and its progressive development have significantly changed for the better far beyond what a purported ‘educated’ Liberian thinks.
I am constrained to make this analysis not necessarily as a response to what a certain Myers May Roberts writes or says about the alleged support of the ticket of Jewel-Weah by President Sirleaf but to do a little more workshop which I think will perhaps help Roberts to understand or appreciate the role of President. I am not an apologist of Ellen, and I wish she was never president of our country in the first place for what she has done to me personally as a lawyer in Liberia. What my clients and I have suffered personally in the hands of President Sirleaf and cronies both in and out of courts in Liberia will be discussed at another time.
That said, it would seem Roberts is living in a dreamland and does not know that the removal of Charles Taylor for war crimes committed in Sierra Leone was meant to set into motion an opportunity for the peoples of the two countries to begin the process of reconciliation. The Taylor apparition has since dissipated with time and cannot be reinvented by mere assertion unless there are strong indicators that Taylor himself is on the verge of walking out of prison, something which is absolutely impossible for now.
Impact of a Weah Presidency: Ellen knows the International Community (America, UK, etc.), has problem with the Weah-Jewel ticket. She is aware of America’s resentment against the Weah-Jewel ticket. The resolution America signed warning against Charles Taylor’s interference in the Liberian elections was in directly response to the Weah-Jewel ticket. She knows even if Weah wins, they will not work with him. Aid to Liberia will be cut completely; the global community will turn their back on Liberia because of the Taylor horrific experience.
ECOWAS and MRU are fatigued and troubled about the implication of a Weah Presidency in the Sub-region. Liberia in effect will be doomed for six years, which means the little gains under her leadership will be reversed.
Internally, the current economic condition is not favorable. Liberia suffers from low and slow economic growth due to many exogenous factors plus the too much reliant on the extractive industry. Ellen knows Weah does not have the experience and knowledge to navigate this country through such a complicated economic conundrum. Essentially, Liberians back home and abroad will be weary of a Weah presidency even before his six years term elapse. May Roberts Myers email@example.com GA, USA!
What Roberts needs to know is that Taylor’s detention has never sparked any controversy amongst those he hurt, and those he led with “iron fisted” hands; instead, it has been a relief and a complete victory for international justice in the eyes of those who approved his arrest and detention. Based on this, Taylor is held under stringent conditions that restrict his activities and actions, and therefore he is like a dexterous lion caged in a habitat that has been approved by his captors. For someone like Roberts who does not know or understand the harrowing conditions under which Taylor is held, it is big news to write craps for political purposes and try to sing the same political mantra. What Roberts does not understand is that America does not have a political candidate vying for the presidency in Liberia and does not favor one particular candidate.
Moreover, America’s special relation with the people of Liberia and not a particular candidate or government. This special relation became an open secret in the 1990s during the reign of the Interim Government of National Unity (IGNU) when the US Government opened and maintained offices both in Monrovia where IGNU was based and in Gbarnga where Charles Taylor had his headquarters. That policy of constructive engagement with the people of Liberia has been progressively elevated to new heights where the current focus is shifted to a policy of ensuring that Liberia does not slide back into the abysmal path of insanity, and for this reason, anyone vying for leadership in Liberia is being carefully and consistently monitored and warned to keep the peace.
It is but a complete shame that a Roberts who does not understand geopolitics and its ramifications to assert that America resent Weah-Jewel ticket. Moreover, US economic aids to most Third World countries is always tied around the issues of human rights rule of law, accountability and transparency. The US does not promise economic aid to a nonexistence regime. It is a disgrace that Roberts is suggesting that a possible Weah-Jewel leadership in Liberia will not attract win US economic aid.
This cliché of “Liberians back home and abroad” seems a sort of status symbol that is used to make unsuspecting people believe that the likes of Roberts are experts on Liberia. What a disgrace! It is not a surprise that the likes of Roberts with little or no sufficient training to understand both the legal and political condition under which Taylor is held are spreading fear and misinformation about what a Weah-Jewel Presidency will look like. For them is the best ‘education!’
The truth is Roberts and others are very ignorant of the issues back home, and we should pity them for being nothing but wanderers who are looking for relevance. Perhaps Roberts believes that by saying “abroad” inarguably makes him a scholar or an expert, and so he is at liberty to write nonsense. Be that as it may, it is any wonder that Globe Afrique, reputable online news has chosen to give someone of such little wits, like Roberts the platform to propagate his smear campaign against Ambassador Weah and Senator Taylor. Finally, the Weah-Jewel ticket has nothing to do with Charles Taylor and there is no way that Taylor can influence the Liberian elections.
Sayma Syrenius Cephus
Counsellor Cephus is a recognized and popular Liberian trial and human rights lawyer, and the only Liberian jurist admitted to the International Criminal Court to practice law. He is the current director of the Justice and Public Interest Consortium (JUPITA) in Monrovia, Liberia. A former state prosecutor at the Liberian Ministry of Justice, Counsellor Cephus is an accredited Counsel at the ICC in The Hague, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Arusha, Tanzania, and is a member of International Law Association (ILA) and the AEA International Lawyers Association (Europe)