Traditional Council to Mediate In Samukai’s Saga

By: Stephen G. Fellajuah

The National Traditional Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia, has announced that it is rallying efforts of Chiefs and Elders from across the 15 counties to end the prolonged election saga concerning former Defense Minister Brownie J. Samukai who has not been able to be certificated by the National Elections Commission (NEC) owing to some legal issues.

The Chairman of the Traditional Council, Chief Zanzan Kawor said the meeting with Chiefs and Elders is scheduled for this week in Gbarnga City, Bong County and is expected to last for three days which amongst other things, will conclude with the tying of traditional kola to meet President George Manneh Weah to appeal to him to grant the Senator-elect executive clemency to take seat at the Liberian Senate.

Chairman Kawor who made the disclosure at a press conference on Friday, December 3, 2021, told newsmen that the gathering of Chiefs and Elders also seeks to meet with the National Elections Commission (NEC), the Supreme Court of Liberia on the matter, adding that just as it in the general power of the President to pardon inmates, he can do the same for Samukai.

“With power vested in me as Chairman of the National Traditional Council of Chiefs and Elders of the Republic of Liberia, I am calling on Chiefs and Elders from the 15 counties to meet in Gbarnga, Bong County next week, to tie kola to meet the President to have executive clemency on Samukai like the way he can do for prisoners at the end of the year, Chief Kawor said.

Chairman Kawor action is triggered by the prolonged delay of the matter which has led to several protests in Monrovia and Lofa County calling for the certification of Mr. Samukai, with latest protest of the blocking of the St. Paul Bridge between Bong and Lofa counties which was led by the Grand Master of the mask devil in the County, who in a press conference last week demanded that Samukai be certificated or the seat declare vacant to allow Lofians elect new senator.

The Council Chief, while thanking the Ministry of Internal Affairs who sent them to Lofa recently to calm the situation, said the Council and Internal Affairs are independent but their workings are interdependent and are enjoying the cordial working relationship, saying, the indigenous are people of peace that have come a long and want to continue the path, instead of causing chaos.

It can be recalled that early this year, the Supreme Court upheld the verdict handed down by the Criminal C Court convicting Samukai and two of his colleagues, sentencing them to a two-year jail term for misappropriation of pension fund belonging to some members of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), but with the provision that they could avert going to prison if they restituted the sum of US$1.3 million within the period of one and a half years or half of the said amount within six months.

Accordingly, in adherence with the Court order, on Thursday, August 19, 2021 Brownie J. Samukai met the 50% requirement for restitution as was ruled by the Supreme Court of Liberia, when a group called the “Friends of Samukai,” comprising family members, supporters and friends of the embattled politician, paid the of amount of US$173,276.05 to Montserrado County Criminal Court ‘C’ as balance payment, having before paid $18,000 to the same court.

The group further said the payments of  US$18,000 and US$173, 276.05 amounting to US$191,276.05 represents the full amount of the 50% mandated by the Court, which indicates Samukai’s portion of the amount US$573,828.17, which is 50% of the money adjudged to be paid against the total sum of US$1,147,656.35 by the ex-indicted officials.

The legal predicament in the aftermath of the judgment has dogged the ambition of Samukai to take his seat in the senate, having garnered massive votes to defeat his other competitors during the past December 8, 2020 midterm senatorial elections.

Speaking further of the meeting, Chairman Kawor, who took his time to lay the basis of the gathering of Chiefs and Elders, made the disclosure of the Council’s report of situation at the Saint Paul Bridge where masked country devils seized the bridge, the report comprising of findings and recommendations to the Government of Liberia.

Chief Kawor indicated the certification of Mr. Samukai is part of recommendations in the report. He added that the meeting is pivotal to the report, to explain to his people the division of roles in Liberian society and not to interfere with the functions of the Legislature, Judiciary or Executive.

“In Gbarpolu, traditional people interfered with voting matters, where the Zoes seized voting materials, if I do not have a meeting with my people to tell them, this will continue. I want the Government to listen to this request to provide money for the meeting in Gbarnga, we want to bring all this wahala under control”, he stressed.

Chairman Kawor did not disclose the budget in the proposal, however he said, “In our communication to the Minister of Internal Affairs, we made it clear that the situation in Lofa is serious and we talked to the Grand Master to go back into the bush and not to block the road again.”We should not challenge the government because the government is the people.” If all goes well Council will begin mediation efforts in Gbarnga this week.

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