In Liberia, Thursday promises to be a dramatic day in the ongoing crisis concerning embattled Speaker of the House of Representatives, Edwin Snowe. He was removed earlier this year by a majority renegade group because they said his actions brought the House in disrepute. But the Liberian Supreme Court ruled that his removal was illegal. On Wednesday, Speaker Snowe met with the renegade members and decided that in the interest of peace and political expediency, he would join them Thursday at their meeting place outside the capital, Monrovia.
Civicus Barsi-giah is leader of the youth of District Five, Speaker Snowe’s constituency. He said the citizens plan to barricade the Speaker’s house to prevent him from meeting with the renegade members.
“The Honorable Speaker of the House of Representatives made a statement Wednesday on the national radio that he will be able to cross the bridge (Gabriel Tucker Bridge) to go and discuss issues with those renegades across the bridge, and we are saying no! It will not happen in the Fourth Republic because as far as we are concerned the Johnnie Lewis (Chief Justice) bench has given us justice that the Honorable Speaker is on the right side of the law. So he will not defy the right side of the law while he has been told that he is on the right side,” he said.
Barsi-giah said the renegade members should instead come to Speaker Snowe if they really want to resolve the matter.
“In the interest of Liberia, then of course, they should be able to cross the bridge and value the rule of law because the rule of law has said that everything that will go on there will be illegal. We are not going there, and he will not go there. We will barricade every area and every zone so that he will not be able to penetrate and go anywhere. We will make sure he stays in his yard and be kept hostage so that the rule of law will be respected in the Republic of Liberia,” he said.
Barsi-giah said the Supreme Court ruled that the speaker’s removal was illegal, and that the renegade members had violated the Liberian constitution.
“The Johnnie Lewis bench did us justice by prevailing and telling us that those across there referred to as the renegade and rebels had gone against and defied the constitution. Besides and above all, it said they had created an affront against the constitution, and because they had done that, there is a contempt charge hanging over them. And in fact, the president of the Republic of Liberia also will be charged for contempt for defying the law,” he said.
Barsi-giah said Speaker Snowe should not join the renegade members at their meeting place in Virginia, outside Monrovia, because he said the Supreme Court has already ruled that whatever the renegade members do there is illegal.
He reiterated that the constituents of District Five, which is represented by Speaker Snowe, intended to barricade the speaker’s house to prevent him from meeting with the renegade members in Virginia, outside Liberia's capital, Monrovia.