By Atty Philip N. Wesseh (PNW)
I am of the conviction that in the next few days, the House of Representatives or its appropriate committee on judiciary may begin hearing into allegations by one of its members, Mont. County Representative, Gabriel Nyekan, against the Deputy Director of the Renaissance Communication Inc, Atty Mamadee Diakite. The expected hearing at the Capitol Building would be the result of an official complaint filed by Mr. Diakite to the Speaker, Alex Tyler, against Rep. Nyekan about allegation made by the would-be respondent.
In requesting a hearing or probe into the lawmaker’s allegations, Atty Diakite said, “Mr. Speaker, while I hold that all the allegations are false and baseless, I respectfully seek your intervention as Speaker of the House of Representatives to initiate a process that would convince Rep Nyekan to make public all the pieces of evidence he claims to be in his possession in relation to the allegations he spread in the public.”
He went on: “I harbor no doubt that my decision to seek your official intervention is the first course in seeking redress and the most civilized and acceptable route to follow whenever a member of the House of Representatives injures the dignity and integrity of any member of the society. Rep Nyekan’s conduct is a novelty.”
As it is said, that when certain individuals, group or organization makes allegations, such cannot be treated with triviality because of the caliber of person or standing of the group or organization that made the allegations, and so when a lawmaker, makes allegations, impugning on the reputation of an individual, such cannot be swept under the carpet, especially so in this society, knowing the gullibility of most of the people. I surmise from, Atty Diakite’s communication, this was one of the reasons that necessitated the filing of the complaint to the Speaker.
Acknowledging this in his communication, the deputy director said, “Ordinarily, Mr. Speaker, I wouldn’t have given all the above allegations any sense of serious consideration if they were uttered by an uninformed man on the street. I find it excruciating and unacceptable for a member of the First Branch of Government who is a component of our National Political Leadership structure to emit obese lies bearing the potential to impugn my name and subject me to infamy. The extent of the injury Rep Nyekan caused my name and my person is strengthened by his political stature. His utterance is a callous abuse of legislative respectability and a disservice to the people whose mandate he holds as a legislator.”
Outlining the gravamen of his complaint, Atty Diakite said:
1.Rep Nyekan on Thursday, September 18, 2014 at a called Press Conference at the Capitol Building referred to me as a “jihadist and ex-LURD fighter” and splashed doubt on my Liberian citizenship;
- At the same press briefing, he stated that there are court records to establish that I stole 40ft Container from the Freeport of Monrovia where I served as Assistant Port Operations Manager for Container Operations and that I was convicted for the crime;
- Rep Nyekan told the Press Conference and mentioned on Sky FM on Friday September 19, 2014 that my name is on the Ministry of State payroll with a monthly pay of five thousand United States dollars (USD5,000.00); and
- Rep Nyekan stated that he has evidence to substantiate all the allegations.
First, let me commend Atty Diakite for the approach he has taken, especially so as a student of law. Had it been in the case of some individuals who have control or monopoly over radio program, such individual would had resorted to using the airways to take issue with the lawmaker or engage in a systematic and smear campaign against the lawmaker. But instead of such uncivilized route, Atty Diakite, knowing the importance of the due process or the rule of law, decided to request for a forum, which obviously would be a quasi judicial one, for the lawmaker, who said he has evidence to substantiate claims against him.
In all fairness, the step taken by this young man to complain to the Speaker is in the right direction because under our jurisprudence, it is said that “he that alleges a fact must prove it.” And so since the lawmaker said he has evidence to prove all what he had said against Atty Diakite, it is prudent to create this forum to avail him the opportunity to make available these pieces of evidence, especially on the issue that Mamadee had been ‘convicted’ of a crime; that he is receiving money from the Ministry of State and that he is “a jihadist and ex-LURD fighter.”
As for the issue of Mamadee’s citizenship, the attorney-at-law said he does not want to lend credence or even comment on this. In his words he said, “I don’t want to waste time on his questioning of my identity as a Liberian; that is a fruitless venture because his conduct projects no impact on the legality of my citizenship in any regard. To use my name as a basis to determine my citizenship is a total absurdity worthless of my precious time.”
Another point which the attorney raised in his communication is the issue of tribalism as raised by the lawmaker. To this, Mamadee pointed out,” Mr. Speaker, Rep Nyekan’s assertions are troubling and pure illustration of insensitivity. His reference to my tribe in the Press Conference is a ground for concern. I didn’t choose to be a Mandingo and I am proud to be a Mandingo man. It is my hope and prayer that other members of the House of Reps will see his comments as very dangerous to our national fight against tribalism and will advise him in private to desist from sowing seeds of discord and trumpeting tribalism.
Furthermore, he noted that in “these modern days, to hear a member of our national political leadership making divisive comments in the public is a naked expression of hate and insensitivity to many Mandingoes who live in his district. If we must attain national reconciliation, which is a strong ingredient to peace, people in similar situation as Rep Nyenkan must avoid making comments with tribal and religious reflections.”
I take interest in this matter not because the complainant is a member of the press or the legal profession, but because of the nature of the allegations and the person making the allegations.
As the complainant rightly said, had this been someone other than a lawmaker, who finds himself in a high position in society, he (Mamadee) could have allowed sleeping dog to lie. But considering his status as lawmaker, his comments which bring into the question the reputation of this young man, it now behooves the Honorable House by doing the “Honorable Thing” to look into this matter. Someone’s reputation is at stake.
Hence, the lawmaker MUST be made to substantiate his claims, as the “onus probandi” is on him who knowingly and consciously made these allegations. I Rest My Case, with reservation.