Mrs. Sirleaf’s Presidency Ends January 15, 2018

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Mrs. Sirleaf’s Presidency Ends January 15, 2018

Mrs. Sirleaf’s Presidency Ends January 15, 2018
A
Reply to Counselor-At-Law, Sayma Syrenius Cephus

By Counselor-At-Law, Frederick A.B. Jayweh, Esq, B.A., LL.B., LL.M.
January 8, 2018
First and foremost, Counselor Sayma Syrenius Cephus, is a member of the executive committee of Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), and so any legal paper or analysis written and published by him for all intents and purposes, should and must be carefully reviewed and critically considered by the people of Liberia and all those that have any political, social and economic interest (s) in the peace, security and stability of Liberia and the entire ECOWAS Region. This is so because factually and contextually, such constitutional papers are legally suspect and must be ardently scrutinized for want of proper legal construction, interpretation and equitable application of the law. In short, Cllr. Cephus’s paper and constitutional analysis on what the Constitution of Liberia directs and commands, particularly, what issues Articles 85, 86, 50, 51 and 64 of the Constitution of Liberia, solicit, speak to and address when it comes to when may the President of Liberia declare a state of emergency in Liberia or not, is and remains totally suspect, opinionative and politically motivated and legally overburdened.

In Liberia, what laws permit President Sirleaf to continue to hold onto power and the presidency of Liberia beyond January 15, 2018, if the runoff election for the presidency of Liberia were not conducted prior to January 15, 2018? What factually and legally constitutes declaration of the state of emergency or the power of the president of Liberia to summon the authority to invoke and declare a state of emergency under the laws of Liberia as proposed by Cllr. Cephus, legally is and remains, for all intents and purposes, totally speculative, opinionative, and suspect when contrasted against Articles 85, 86, 50, 51, 64 and Article 87, letters (a) and (b) of the Constitution of Liberia. In Liberia, the elements that constitutionally and contextually constitute the need to declare a state of emergency are carefully evaluated and measured. To suspend certain provisions of the Constitution of Liberia and declare a state of emergency must never be experimental or treated prematurely. A premature and irresponsible declaration of state of emergency in Liberia could plunge Liberia into unwarranted conflict.

Taking the pain and courage to thoroughly read through the article, “why Ellen’s presidency may likely continue beyond January 15, 2018 written and published by Cllr Sayma Syrenius Cephus, we astonishingly and disappointingly discovered that Cllr. Cephus, the executive member of CDC, in passing, cleverly chose to exclude stating the provisions of Chapter 9, Articles 85 and 86 of the Constitution of Liberia to properly inform his reading public and the world to make their own judgment as to whether the president of Liberia has the power to declare a state of emergency, when and why. But to the contrary, Cllr. Cephus being solely opinionative and speculative, word-for-word, exclusively cited and published Articles 50, 51, and 64 of the Constitution of Liberia to purport and sustain why he envisions, thinks, believes and concludes that Articles 50, 51, and 64 of the Constitution of Liberia, support and sustain the authority of the president of Liberia to declare a state of emergency with the power to suspend freedoms and rights in Liberia. In other words, do Articles 85, 86, 50, 51, and 64 of the Constitution of Liberia, give Mrs. Sirleaf the right to continue to hold onto power and the presidency of Liberia beyond January 15, 2018? We submit and hold that the 1986 Constitution doesn’t lend such authority and legally unsupervised power to President Sirleaf.

In the minds of the framers of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, what are the elements that mainly and by law and fact constitute a threat to the peace, security and stability of Liberia, and what are evidence of the factual and legal elements of such threat to Liberia’s peace and security to enable Mrs. Sirleaf to forthwith declare a state of emergency in Liberia to continue to hold onto power and the presidency of Liberia beyond Monday, January 15, 2018? We, submit none.
Chapter 9: Article 85 of the Constitution of Liberia
The President, as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, may order any portion of the Armed Forces into a state of combat readiness in defense of the Republic, before or after the declaration of a state of emergency, as may be warranted by the situation. All military power or authority shall at all times, however, be held in subordination to the civil authority and the Constitution. Article 85, doesn’t lend such reckless and irresponsible power to Mrs. Sirleaf.

Chapter 9: Article 86 of the Constitution of Liberia
a) The President may, in consultation with the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, proclaim and declare the existence of a state of emergency in the Republic or any part thereof. Acting pursuant thereto, the President may suspend or affect certain rights, freedoms and guarantees contained in this Constitution and exercise such other emergency powers as may be necessary and appropriate to take care of the emergency, subject, however, to the limitations contained in this Chapter.
b) A state of emergency may be declared only where there is a threat or outbreak of war or where there is civil unrest affecting the existence, security or well-being of the Republic amounting to a clear and present danger. Litigating before the courts threatens not Liberia’s peace, security and stability.

Does the complaint of fraud and irregularity filed by the Liberty Party (LP) and intervened by the Unity Party (UP), constitute a declaration of war or civil unrest affecting the existence, security or well-being of the Republic of Liberia to amount to clear and present danger to Liberia and its people? What laws, empower President Sirleaf to invoke and declare a state of emergency in Liberia and hold onto power and continue her presidency beyond Monday, January 15, 2018? The answer to this question is a clear, unequivocal and emphatic none. In Liberia, when a litigant is dissatisfied and aggrieved by the action of an administrative agency or a court, the proper and legitimate thing to do is to proceed and file a complaint. Litigating before the courts of Liberia or any of her administrative agencies, doesn’t constitute war or amount to a civil unrest affecting the existence, security and well-being of the Liberia and its people.

Under the Constitution of Liberia, a state of emergency may only be declared, where there is a threat or outbreak of war or where there is civil unrest affecting the existence, security or well-being of the Republic and amounting to clear and present danger to Liberia and its people. So, for any Liberian or legal mind to think, believe and conclude that Mrs. Sirleaf may hold onto power and continue her presidency beyond the constitutional limitation imposed which is leave power, Monday, January 15, 2018, because Liberty Party (LP) and Unity Party (UP) have yet their irregularity and fraud complaint pending before the National Elections Commission and/or the Supreme Court of Liberia and so Articles 85 and 86 of the Constitution of Liberia maybe invoked and relied on to declare a state of emergency in Liberia, simply amounts to a grave violation of the laws of Liberia and perhaps constitutes a crime of treason against the Republic and its people. Litigating before the courts of Liberia is an obvious normal process in Liberia and invokes not the declaration of the state of emergency.

Restrictions to Emergency Powers
Chapter 9: Article 87 of the Constitution of Liberia
a) Emergency powers do not include the power to suspend or abrogate the Constitution, dissolve the Legislature, or suspend or dismiss the Judiciary; and no constitutional amendments shall be promulgated during a state of emergency. Where the Legislature is not in session, it must be convened immediately in special session and remain in session during the entire period of the state of emergency. Nothing in this Article, gives Mrs. Sirleaf any power to declare a state of emergency, if the runoff election in Liberia is not held prior to January 15, 2018.
b) The writ of habeas corpus shall remain available and exercisable at all times and shall not be suspended on account of any state of emergency. It shall be enjoyed in the most free, easy, inexpensive, expeditious and ample manner. Any person who suffers from a violation of his right may challenge such violation in a court of competent jurisdiction.
Precisely under Article 85 of the Constitution of Liberia, the President as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia, where there is war or threat of war, may order any portion of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), into a state of combat readiness in defense of Liberia and its people, before or after a state of emergency is declared to protect Liberia. As a matter of law and tradition, Mrs. Sirleaf, may only declare a state of emergency, hold onto power and continue to be the President of Liberia beyond Monday, January 15, 2018, if there are facts and laws to warrant and support such unconstitutional arrest and takeover of power. The Republic of Liberia has no such laws and lends no such reckless and irresponsible power.

Even where Mrs. Sirleaf envisions, thinks and believes that she has the power to declare a state of emergency in Liberia and may want to continue her presidency beyond Monday, January 15, 2018 and may wish to preside over the runoff election of Liberia, Article 86 of the Liberian Constitution, demands that she must consult with the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate of Liberia to declare a state of emergency in Liberia. So the power of Mrs. Sirleaf to hang onto power and continue her presidency in Liberia beyond Monday, January 15, 2018 by declaring a state of emergency doesn’t exist and it amounts to the commission of the Crime of Treason, to pretend to invoke and apply such power.

Articles 50, 51 and 64 of the Constitution mainly relied on by Cllr. Cephus to argue that Mrs. Sirleaf may hold onto power and continue her presidency in Liberia beyond January 15, 2018, particularly Articles 50 and 51, are simply descriptive and speak only to the role of the President of Liberia and grant no authority to Mrs. Sirleaf to declare a state of emergency in Liberia to continue to hold onto power and the presidency of Liberia beyond the 3rd Monday in January, 2018. During the civil war in Liberia, President Doe could declare a state of emergency on the 24th day of December, 1989; and Mrs. Sirleaf, could only declare a state of emergency during the outbreak of EBOLA in Liberia. But because litigating before the courts of Liberia and any of its administrative agencies, represents the normal process of judicial review as provided for by the Constitution and Statutory Laws of Liberia, Mrs. Sirleaf, has no authority to declare a state of emergency in Liberia. In short, normal litigation, doesn’t affect the security and existence of Liberia. So, any form of declaration of state of emergency, is repugnant and violates the Constitution and laws of Liberia. Articles 85, 86, 64, 50 and 51 of the Liberian Constitution invoked and applied by Cllr. Cephus to lend Mrs. Sirleaf the power to declare a state of emergency to continue to hold onto power and the presidency of Liberia beyond January 15, 2015, is wholly and solely unlawful and unconstitutional because the framers of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, never ever contemplated or thought of such irresponsible act.
Chapter 6: Article 50 of the Constitution of Liberia

The Executive Power of the Republic shall be vested in the President who shall be Head of State, Head of Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia. The president shall be elected by universal adult suffrage of registered voters in the Republic and shall hold office for a term of six years commencing at noon on the third working Monday in January of the year immediately following the elections. No person shall serve as President for more than two terms.

Not only does Article 50 of the Liberian Constitution give no power to Mrs. Sirleaf to declare a state of emergency in Liberia because the Liberty Party (LP) and Unity Party (UP) are litigating their fraud and irregularity complaint before the National Elections Commission of Liberia (NEC) and/or could be prosecuting their complaint on appeal before the Supreme Court of Liberia, Article 50, clearly inhibits Mrs. Sirleaf from holding onto the Presidency of Liberia, beyond two terms. Mrs. Sirleaf remaining in power beyond January 15, 2018, violates Article 50.

Chapter 6: Article 51 of the Constitution of Liberia
There shall be a Vice–President who shall assist the President in the discharge of his functions. The Vice–President shall be elected on the same political ticket and shall serve the same term as the President. The Vice–President shall be President of the Senate and preside over its deliberations without the right to vote, except in the case of a tie vote. He shall attend meetings of the cabinet and other governmental meetings and shall perform such functions as the President shall delegate or deem appropriate; provided that no powers specifically vested in the President by the provisions of this Constitution shall be delegated to the Vice–President.

Regrettably, Article 51 of the Constitution of Liberia gives no special power to Mrs. Sirleaf to declare a state of emergency in Liberia because the Liberty (LP) and Unity Parties are prosecuting their fraud and irregularity complaint before the courts of Liberia. Litigating a case in Liberia is certainly an obvious and a normal act of judicial review in the Republic of Liberia and as such, poses no threat to the existence, peace and stability of Liberia.

Between December 24, 1989 to August 22, 2003, Liberia’s bloody and unconstitutional war killed nearly 300, 000 Liberians and foreign nationals in Liberia and so, Liberians deserve peace, security, stability and not a return to conflict. Liberia and Liberians deserve better. Mrs. Sirleaf’s Presidency, certainly ends, Monday, January 15, 2017, at 12Noon. Anything else is unlawful.

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