LCC Wants Conciliation Into Samuka’s Saga

By: Stephen G. Fellajuah

Ahead of the 2023 presidential and legislative elections, the President of the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) Bishop Kortu Brown is calling on the Government of Liberia to settle the certification process of Lofa County senator-elect J. Brownie Samukai by the National Elections Commission (NEC) through what he referred to as  “political conciliation.”

The Liberian clergyman made the statement on Saturday January 1, 2022, during an interview with newsmen at his Church compound in V.O.A, Brewerville, Montserrado County.  The Water in the Desert Pastor said he conceded that the case is a legal matter but was overdue and the country is now preparing for major elections therefore, it’s now time for “political conciliation” to averagely settle the Lofa saga.

“When we have a political question, let’s address it politically. And when we also have legal questions, let’s address it legally. This is now largely a political question and I think the government and we as a people need political conciliation to end this entire Lofa standoff” Bishop Brown said.

He noted that time was overdue and the country is now preparing for the bigger presidential and legislative elections in 2023 which he said will begin to tense up in 2022.

According to Bishop Brown the delay of the Government of Liberia through the Supreme Court of Liberia not to bring the matter to a closure after approximately three years is not a good sign for the peace and stability of the country.

Former Defense Minister J. Brownie Samukai and others were found guilty by the state for Misappropriation of the Armed Forces of Liberia “Welfare Fund” by Criminal Court ‘C’. Mr. Samukai has completed the 50 percent payment of the amount as mandated by Judge Yamie Q. Gbeisay.

He was hopeful that he could finally take his seat as senator of the county after making 50 percent (US$182,000) payment of the total amount of (USD383,552.10) for which he was found guilty of misapplication of entrusted property, theft of property and other criminal offenses by Criminal Court ‘C’ with said ruling confirmed by the Supreme Court.

After making such payment, Samukai was hopeful that the Supreme Court would have mandated the National Elections Commission (NEC) to certify him, but the Supreme Court in its opinion indicated that the Senator-elect should not be certificated until his disability was resolved.

With the level of disappointment that comes with the decision by the apex court, the Senator-elect has not held back as he is now demanding the court to provide further clarity on what is meant by ‘disability’.

But speaking further, the Bishop said the entire “disability” issues brought up by the Supreme Court of Liberia to stop the certification of Lofa County senator-elect is largely a political question that needs political conciliation to end the case for the people to have representation and for the National Elections Commission of Liberia to have space for 2023.

“We should free up the space for 2023 and strengthen our democracy and build skills in conflict resolution to move ahead. The Lofa situation needs political conciliation because it is overdue. The recent by-elections conducted by NEC had timely conducted all their legal matter and addressed all those concerns in a timely manner and we welcome it but more of that need to be done mostly in the Lofa Case” Bishop Brown noted, adding that  2022 is a busy year for election preparation amongst other things.

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