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Presidential Home Court Advantage

Reaction to President Sirleaf’s move to sue the New Broom Newspaper

I disagree with the way Mr. Charlie sometimes addresses the president and others he disagrees with but can the president be sued as well? [Aha, Charlie must be thanking God that he does not need any approval from me to air his opinions.] Thank goodness that none of us can brag of having a turn-key solution for the Liberian problem!

My concern here is that if Madam President is the only one to take people to court but can’t be taken to court then it is a lopsided game. As I understand, some of the 40,000 plus Liberians who fled the NPFL onslaught and crammed into the executive mansion that then CO Sirleaf ordered to be leveled may want to sue her as well.

The widow of the hit man she allegedly hired to execute the first coming of the NPFL in November 1985 may want to pursue legal means since she (the widow) has not gotten the apology she has been seeking from Mrs. Sirleaf all these years. All the many persons as some speculated she supposedly “double-crossed” to get to the top and be “great” want to take her to court too. But now and in the future, she is immune from all legal actions! I like that because it keeps our president focused on her mandate except that she too needs to keep her hands to herself. Not many will not hit back when they are hit except a few of us including my church sister Celia Brown whom by God’s grace will constantly show the other cheek when slapped on the other.

In Liberia, the president has the home court advantage just like my friend Cheah who used the biggest spoon in the community anytime he invited us for lunch. Not that Cheah really invited us for lunch per se, but since we found ourselves at his house when food was ready, he was compelled by manners to share his food with us. To derive the maximum satisfaction out of his meal, he always gave us teaspoons to eat with while he took the biggest (near cook spoon size) spoon which he called his “home advantage.” Now in America, “home advantage” is not so repulsive but as refugees where all you live for is to eat, free lunch becomes a life or death issue.
Either way you slice it, the president has nothing to lose by suing. You can’t counter sue and she can’t get nailed by losing such case. This is the only time when it is safe to be in a glass house and throw stones. She is like the rock that cracks you whether you fall on her or she falls on you. When she, oops, the government lost the treason case against Gen Charles Julu and co, she only spoke to them in Jesus’ language “go and sin no more” as if she has the same power to forgive and save sinners. You would think that the government that couldn’t prove its case actually sinned by “lying” on those gentlemen but that was not the case, the president of Liberia can make you apologize for violating your right. That is when you want your freedom or else the court can adjourn for an additional year and you are thrown back behind bars.

By tradition, the president is going to invite us to eat, but with the biggest spoon that can quadruple the size of all our spoons put together in her hand, can we really win? After all, that is the president’s house.
You can win, but can you win, win, win? Can you live a normal life after winning a case against the president? Can you have friends again or practice your profession after “making the president shame” by winning such a case? I wonder if folks really know what it means to be sued by the president of Liberia. When it comes to the president, the language is different. For example, “I don’t want to see you” is different when said by an ordinary Liberian but gets a different connotation when the president says so.

Mrs. Sirleaf has already admitted openly that her chief weakness is “not being able to easily forgive others.” Mr. Tom Woewiyu who earlier charged the President of being “vindictive” might have said “I told you so” when he heard the President confesses her weakness to the World. So I just feel sorry for anyone who falls into the hands of this President who does not let go so easily. And oh my God, she has so much power! And in such a competitive election pre-season, presidential home court advantage is everything.

Referenced story: Prez Sirleaf Sues Liberian Journalist Worwee; Claims US$5million Damages 09/13/09 - FrontPageAf rica

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