Liberia: Members of the Liberia National Bar Association Decry Government’s Interference With Their Upcoming Elections

Monrovia — The Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) is gearing up to elect a new corps of officers that would steer the affairs of the Bar for the next three years, however, some members of the law are concerned that election is reportedly being influenced and inferred with by some influential figures in the government.

The lawyers, some of whom work for the government but preferred not being named, said the government is interested in who becomes president of the National Bar and has, therefore, adopted a well-planned and calculated strategy to support the candidature of a preferred choice.

“We have seen so many signs that show that the government is pushing its own interest in this election. And they are doing so because they want to get hold of the judiciary. Do you know what will happen when the government is controlling the majority of the lawyers in this country? People like you will not get justice and they’ll get away with many wrongs. There will be no legal voice and that is why we have to stop it,” one of the lawyers said.

According to the lawyers, the government’s strategy is entrusted to a group of lawyers called League of CDC Lawyers, headed by the Minister of Labour, Cllr. Charles Gibson, who has been instructed to ensure that Cllr. Sylvester Rennie becomes the next President of the LNBA.

The sources stated that the Government started first by demonstrating its support for Cllr. Jallah Barbu, who they gave an undisclosed sum of money, in addition to openly calling on laywers in government offices to support him. However, over the weekend, the sources said the narrative changed when the Government realized that despite their support Cllr. Barbu was not among the top two candidates for the LNBA presidency. It is also understood that the government’s support to Cllr. Rennie was sealed when a relative of Minister Nathaniel McGill, who is also vying for the position of National Secretary General of the LNBA, Cllr. Bornah Varmah, along with Mr. Rennie met with Minister McGill and other senior Government officials, at which time they (Cllr. Varmah and Rennie) convinced the Government officials to trust as they vied not be as vocal as the Gongloe administration.

FrontPageAfrica gathered that since the weekend meeting, the Government’s support for Cllr. Rennie has escalated with the Ministry of Labour, (through Minister Charles Gibson and Assistant Minister Welma B. Sampson) being the nerve center of the campaign strategy and the disbursement of funds to lawyers, while some members of the League of CDC Lawyers continue to do the foot work.

Our sources confirmed that the ongoing support to Cllr. Rennie has a budget of up to US$200,000.00 because the Government is determined that Cllr. Rennie wins the election at all cost. Meanwhile, Sources close to the LNBA headquarters confirmed to FPA that the two Government preferred candidates are indeed paying the arrears of lawyers, including their convention fees.

When contacted, another senior official of government says that the Government’s interest in the LNBA elections should not be surprising given the pending 2023 elections, as no government would want constant criticism from the LNBA, which has in recent time become like a political party, especially under the outgoing Gongloe’s administration.

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