By Atty Philip N. Wesseh (PNW)
There are times in life when certain things happen, we always ponder why they happen that way. Unexpectedly, when they sometimes occur, programs or activities planned may not be possible, as the unexpected event has caused a serious problem, thereby giving ground for a rethink of such planned event. For weeks, I, along with some colleagues from the law school have been planning to be in full attendance at the pending Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA)’s gathering set for Sanniquellie, Nimba County this week. I had even promised the use of my vehicle to help some of my colleagues- AKA Pa Brown, Willie Boy and Kaba- get to the county.
Reinforcing this desire and commitment, just few days ago, when I met one of our classmates, Allen Gweh, who hails from Nimba County, at a local business center, I jokingly said to him that we will be in his “town” and as such, I would not stay in a hotel or motel, but would lodge at his place. We all laughed over that, and we departed, waiting to meet in Sanniquellie, which we, as students of the law school then visited few years ago during the funeral of former Chief Justice Emmanuel Gbalazeh, who was also an instructor at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of law at the University of Liberia.
As it is often said that “man proposes and God disposes,” I prepared for this trip to Nimba, little did I know that my plan to attend the Bar assemblage in that county, would not be possible, as death has hit my institution, taking away our chief driver, who lost his life in Ghana, where he had been seeking medical treatment. The funeral of this fallen young man is set for November 30 in Ghana, and that I would be representing the institution.
In this dilemma I find myself, I have to exercise what the economists called “opportunity cost” as I cannot be in two places at the same time, as this is naturally impossible. That is, considering the time of the funeral which requires travelling to another country this week and the holding of the Bar assembly this week too, it is not possible to attend at the same time, meaning that I have to forego one, with heavy heart. The issue of death is such that it requires certain attention and attendance, especially in this situation where the funeral is expected to take place in Ghana, which is the birthplace of the deceased.
I regret that I would not be in attendance this time because the assembly always provides the forum for interaction with legal luminaries, or individuals who have been in the profession for a protracted period of time. The February 28 -March 3 2013 forum I attended in Harper, Maryand County under the theme: “Adherence To The Rule Of Law,” was rewarding, considering the galaxy of lawyers at the forum and also the exchanges of views on the subject matter for the gathering. During the first assembly in Harper, Maryland County, the forum was also concerned about the issue of constitutional reform, being fully aware of its constitutional implications.
The forum, while welcoming efforts for amendments of the Constitution, was expressed with caution for its constitutional implications, especially so as it relates to Articles 91 and 92 of the constitution, as it relates to amendments. Article 91 states: “The constitution may be amended whenever a proposal by either: (1) Two-thirds of the membership of both Houses of the Legislature, or: (2) A petition submitted to the legislature, by not fewer than 10,000 citizens which receives the concurrence of two-thirds of the membership of both Houses of the Legislature, is ratified by two- thirds of the registered voters, voting in a referendum conducted by the Elections Commission not sooner than one year after the action of the Legislature.
Article 92 States: “Proposal constitutional amendments shall be accompanied by statements setting forth the reasons therefore and shall be published in the Official Gazette and make known to the people through the information services of the Republic. If more than one proposal amendment is to be voted upon in a referendum they shall be submitted in such manner that the people may vote for or against them separately.”
This time around, and in vein of the contemporary issue of constitutional reforms and review of the constitution, as well as the issue of enacting laws, I surmise that this week’s gathering of the Bar would be a hectic one, as it would foreseeably focus on many of these issues. It is not a gainsaying that the society looks up to the Bar on such matter as it relates to constitutional reform or review.
Again, I regret that I would be absent from this week’s gathering of the country’s lawyers. How-be-it, I hope to monitor it afar. Yes, indeed, man proposes and God disposes. I Rest My Case.