Liberia is a democratic state. It is the will of the people that must prevail at all times, not the wishes of an individual.—Tiawon Saye Gongloe,—
Progressive icon and Chair of the Movement for Justice in Africa [MOJA], Cllr. Tiawon Saye Gongloe turns 60 today. The astute lawyer who is also Liberia National Bar Association president was a student activist in the late 1970s and was imprisoned and beaten for speaking out against the government of then-president William Tolbert, and later for speaking out against President Charles Taylor. A human rights lawyer –Saye Gongloe remained in Liberia throughout the worst of times of Liberia’s uncivil war, as Liberia spiraled into violence with total anarchy mushrooming as most prominent citizens fled the country. Although he lived briefly in exile in the United States, his goal was always to return to his home country to help it recover.
The winner of several awards and international recognition, Gongloe knows the country’s justice system, and has never put the almighty dollar first, when representing those who are poor or underprivileged and can’t afford the legal fees that come with courtroom appearances. his quest for the rule of law, social justice and the fundamental rights of the Liberian people, have seen him butt heads with powerful people in Liberia, but yet the Pan African nationalist has been consistent both as an activist and advocate, true to Liberia and Africa’s causes. Cllr. Gongole is a graduate of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University of Liberia, where he teaches today. He was admitted to the Montserrado County Bar Association in 1988 and subsequently admitted to the Supreme Court Bar as Counselor at law in 1994.
Fearless public service
Liberia’s most prominent human rights lawyer was brutalized while in police custody and hospitalized by the brutal Charles Taylor regime, with police guard remaining by his hospital bed, as he nearly lost his sight and hearing as the result of Taylor’s police ruthlessness. According to accounts of the incident as reported by the New York Times quoting Human Rights Watch, an international respected rights agency that reports on rights violations globally. An independent voice during the regime of Charles Taylor at a time violence was sanctioned by the state against its perceived enemies, Cllr. Gongloe was detained in connection to a speech he delivered at a March 2002 Conference in Guinea on PEACE within Mano River Union, when he condemned the use of violence as a means of rising to political power. Apparently annoyed by the analysis made by the learned lawyer to the delegates at the conference drawn from countries of the Mano River Union comprising: Liberia, Ivory Coast, Guinea, and Sierra Leone and with international guests also in attendance, Taylor who came to power as a result of the terrible uncivil war and used violence, was incensed, ordering Gongloe arrested amidst international protests as he was tortured in police detention.
The Pan African nationalist and the Movement for Justice in Africa Chair, served as Solicitor-General between January 2006 and July 2009, and from July 2009 to November 2010, he was the Minister of Labor, Republic of Liberia, a position he resigned as corruption and nepotism became rife under former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf with whom he fell off, delivering the powerful speech to university students: NEPOTISM IS WRONG YESTERDAY AND NEPOTISM IS WRONG TODAY, in November 2012, an apparent jab at Sirleaf who was also critical of President Tolbert for practicing corruption and nepotism and surpassed him.
During the speech he accused Sirleaf of violating the Liberian constitution, calling on the rubber stamp legislature to impeach her. if his calls were ignored, he made his point, as the speech was widely circulated and spark a true debate about Ellen Sirleaf tyranny and her abuse of power, reports say Sirleaf had about 20 family members in her government with three of her son sons and sister occupying top senior positions. Although Sirleaf reappointed him, he refused the nomination, preferring to distance himself from the corrupt Liberian President. Prior to these assignments, he was appointed as an executive assistant to the then President of the Interim Government of National Unity (IGNU), Professor Amos C. Sawyer, in November 1990 up to March 1994. Gongloe served as an electoral consultant to the Carter Center in Ethiopia In 2005, and has provided legal services to the government over the years. Gongloe is widely respected in Liberia, and across Africa. This story, Liberian Listener, and Analyst newspaper
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