THE WIDESPREAD USE of sanctions constitutes one of the paradoxes of contemporary American foreign policy to the extent that every so often, a sovereign state or government officials in such states incur the wrath of the United States of America for no justifiable reasons other than being part and parcel of its drafted “code of conduct” that must be respected at all cost.
WHAT IS HOWEVER baffling and troubling is that most of the affected countries have not being able to summoned the fortitude to defend their sovereignty against what could easily go as an aggression on the independence of the country or violation of the fundamental rights of its citizens going through an undeserved punishment of sanction or some form of designation.
THE RECENT DESIGNATION and sanctions placed on three former officials of the government of Liberia by the United States Government for allegedly violating the Magnitsky Act without providing any evidence or the government of Liberia seeking information on why the actions were taken against its high profile officials defies reference to the respect for the territorial integrity of a sovereign nation and the rule of law the United States so espouses.
SADLY, THESE FORMER government officials, messrs Nathaniel Farlo McGill former Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Bill Tweahway, former Managing Director of the National Port Authority and Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephas have all resigned their portfolios and returned to private lives against their will.
THIS PAPER IS not against any initiatives that will combat corruption, promote good governance, rule of law and ensure that the citizenry lives in harmony and within the confines of the law for the prosperity of the country. We are not even against a foreign country in the status of the United States of America, highly regarded as our traditional ally coming in to correct any anomalies there may tend to thwart any avenue for progress.
HOWEVER WHAT WE are totally against and wish to defend here is the blanket allegations levied against the individuals and there has not been any channel created to defend themselves through any judicial process. The US government has not come out evidence of the allegation other than the usual generic template that it has evidence from multiple sources, such as the interstate agencies and regrettably the government of Liberia who should be in the forefront to demand for evidence on the grave allegations against its officials who have diligently served the country and its people, is mute on this very sacred obligation to the people of this country.
THIS IS WHY we maintain that the mute indifference being shown by the government is a wrong dangerous precedent that if unchecked has the propensity to make the government vulnerable to such similar action that could destabilize governance and by extension the state. A situation may arise where the US government will come up one morning, designate and place sanctions on more than half of the government officials relying on its usual “sources’ that cannot be seen or challenged.
IT IS AGAINST this backdrop that we call on the government to see the necessity of waking up from its slumber, summon the courage and ask for evidence against these officials so that the judicial process can take its course. This is important especially in the situation where the affected former officials are eager to have a date with the courts to exonerate their names.
THIS SUBMISSION FORMS the opinions of so many Liberians who are taken aback that besides being former government officials, the affected persons are citizens of Liberia and should not be allowed to be humiliated for no reason just as the United States government will never ever allow any of its citizens, talk less about their officials being embarrassed like how Messrs McGill, Tweahway and Cephas have been subjected.
IT IS IMPORTANT to note that the government taking the decision to inquire about the offense of its citizens or former officials is in no way an affront on the US government or not trying to defend whatever crime or act they may have committed but just like in the case of the US government following up on its citizens, the government of Liberia is likewise utilizing similar window in conformity with its obligation to protect and defend its citizens.
AS RESPECTIVE SOVEREIGN countries and as revered as our relationship rooted in long history of tradition and brotherhood, steps should be taken to elevate this by mutually respecting each other, which should include but not limiting to adhering to the rule of law and accepting to abide by the laws of each country.
IT IS HIGH time that the government of Liberia take the right path to avoid the danger of wrong precedence.