It is true that Liberian Constitution is eloquently copious in its description of a freer society where civil liberties, free speech and media freedom are firmly guaranteed. It is also true that the “Organic Law” does not leave the exercise of those freedoms loose; it rather forbids recklessness and sends out the caveat to abusers. Present-day Liberia being a pluralistic society, and coupled with evolving developments in technology and information, it takes men and women of letters to decipher the thin between freedom of speech and the abuse of speech. One person who is given to the technical expertise and who spends a lot of time monitoring the situation is Government’s frontline law-and-order official, the Solicitor General of the country. Perhaps flabbergasted by what seems to be waves of verbal anarchies taking over the national discourse, where anyone says anything that flows out of their mouths, the man in charge, Cllr. Syrenius Cephas, is sending a reminder to abusers of free speech, as The Analyst’s Rancy S. Teewia reports.
The Solicitor General of Liberia, Cllr. Syrenius Sayma Cephas, has issued a stern warning against those in the habit of making reckless statements in the name of free speech.
He said the Government of Liberia will no longer condone such acts which have the potential of threatening the country’s fledgling democracy and the holiness of the judiciary.
Counselor Cephas gave the warning on Monday, May 10, 2021 in an exclusive interview following the opening of the May Term of Court.
He observed that reckless statements when allowed to go unchecked could spell doom on the image and stability of the country, and that the government will not relent in prosecuting anyone involved in it.
Cllr. Cephas also noted that as Solicitor General, he will issue an arrest order and such individual will not go scot-free if a complaint of abuse of speech is brought to his attention.
He added: “Somebody sits somewhere and makes reckless statements and goes scot-free? No. We can’t run the country on lawlessness. We should stop this; it hurts our country, it hurts the image of the government and the government of Liberia will not allow people who threaten our judicial offices and go with impunity.”
“I mean anyone, be it whoever, and am not boasting about this. Anyone threatening the Judiciary and it is brought to my attention we will order your arrest and we will prosecute you in the court of Law.” SG Cephas Cautioned.
At same time the SG. Cephas called on the county Attorney to take action against Mr. Mac Jabateh over his threat against the Chief Justice of the Republic of Liberia Cllr. Francis S. Korkpor, asserting that the act committed by Mr. Jabateh is a third degree felony.
He noted that if the threat of Mr. Mac Jarbateh is an indictable offence he should be indicted and if it is not an indictable offence, the county Attorney should issue a writ of arrest and drill him through the court.
“The Judiciary has a lot of problems. There are so many cases that are on the court docket; so people believe that the Courts are not responding to their cases; so anyone will wake up and just start threatening the Chief Justice? I say No!”
Cllr Cephus continued: “The other time it was Justice Nagbe that was threatened. We said let leave it. Everyone saw what happened to him. There was arson attack on his home. This is why I told the county Attorney that if the threat of Mac Jabateh is an indictable offence, you should indict him and if it is not an indictable offence issue writ of arrest. Bring him, let drill him through the court since the crime he committed is a third degree felony. Let him come to the magisterial court because nobody will threaten the democracy and the holiness of the court and expect to walk around free. We will not allow that.”
It can be recalled weeks ago Mr. Jabateh threatened to kill the Chief Justice of the Republic of Liberia Francis S. Korkpor in the wake of the land dispute between the Mandingo ethnic group on one hand and Mano and Gio ethnic group on the other in Ganta, Nimba County.