EDITORIAL by Editor
- With a cascade of decrees, Political enemies of Jovenel Moïse must beware!
Jovenel Moïse is adept at orchestrating political strategies to do his bidding. On the second Monday of last January, when the collective mandate of all the deputies (Congress – people) elapsed, he managed to exclude two thirds of the Senate, even cutting two years from the mandate of 10 Senators. Whereupon, he said “I acknowledge that Parliament has elapsed.”
He turned a deaf ear to denunciations from all sides moaning about the country’s descent into hell. Rightly so, many analysts saw his action as if he were giving himself the means to sink into arbitrariness, issuing decrees allowing him to take dictatorial measures to repress his political enemies as well as to multiply decisions beneficial to his personal interests, those of the first family and of his close collaborators and political allies. The time seems ripe for him to press ahead in this direction.
Indeed, President Moïse is moving speedily to implement his anti-democratic plans. Four decrees announced in a single day, earlier this week, may well be the signal that he’s about to implement the autocratic policies about which he had always dreamed. The fierce opposition of responsible parliamentarians to curb his anti-democratic ambitions, diametrically opposed to the best interests of the Haitian people, now through decrees, the president is giving himself the means to impose his will on all. With the four decrees announced on the same day, the Head of State now has a whole range of means to bring his opponents into line. Through decrees, he’s putting brakes on those who, democratically, prevented him from realizing his pipe dreams and antidemocratic plans.
Take a look at the four decrees enacted by the Moïse-Jouthe regime: “ The organization and functioning of the National Agency for Higher Learning and Scientific Research;” “ Organizing the Professional Orders;” “The Establishment of Compulsory Social Service for students in publicly-funded universities;” and “The Organization, Functioning and Modernization of Higher Learning.” Clearly, the last two decrees could have been merged into one because they deal virtually with the same subject. That’s another story.
Considering that Moïse’s presidency has failed in defending the interests of the Haitian people, while focusing on what benefits members of the presidential family and his political allies, there’s no way believing that the decrees were enacted for the good of Haitian citizens in general. Certainly, additional decrees are to be expected to fully explain the meaning of those already issued. It won’t be long before the president shows his hand. He’s moving fast, because of the challenge he now faces in wanting to extend his presidential mandate beyond the constitutional date of February 7, 2021. Watch him, in the following months, as he will move to neutralize those in the opposition who vow to thwart his political project. With a cascade of decrees, he will attempt to give himself the means to fight those he deems his enemies.
Certainly, the areas covered by the last four decrees issued by the president focus particularly on liberal professionals and academics of all categories, sectors in which the majority of members of the opposition are concentrated. A grudge holder who knows no limits, the Head of State won’t miss an opportunity to take revenge on them. He will exploit the opportunities offered by his decrees to persecute them. It should be no surprise to see him resort to means aimed at thwarting the development of professionals from all disciplines who have proved to be his opponents. They will be denied certain positions in society. Out of revenge, he will take steps to complicate the life of his enemies. The same will be true for institutions which have made comments deemed hostile to him and his policies.
In that logic, one can bet that Mr. Moïse and his team are concocting provisions, within the framework of new laws based on the four enacted decrees, to harm sectors whose livelihood depends on State provisions. In the process, other laws will also be enacted to persecute those considered as adversaries. Moreover, going to excesses, as he often does, the Haitian Head of State won’t hesitate in inventing ways to harm his political enemies, making martyrs of them along the way. He only sees the enormous political dividends to be gained from his behavior.
These apprehensions are legitimate, because Mr. Moïse and the criminals surrounding him in the government have taken advantage of the impunity offered themselves to carry out assassinations, proceed with unlawful imprisonment of those considered enemies and using other draconian means against them. Examples include the carnages perpetrated against people passed off as opponents in La Saline, Bel-Air, Carrefour-Feuilles and other deprived areas of the capital. In that light, it should be expected that the Haitian president will give himself other means –through decrees— to settle scores with different categories of challengers.
It’s fair to say that before time runs out on the decree period, President Moïse will go full speed ahead with his decree machine. Also, there is a good chance that he will take advantage of this opportunity to undertake transactions which were deemed impossible while Parliament was in session, given the presence of legislators, both senators and deputies, who balked at going along with certain presidential projects that they considered contrary to the interests of the nation. Logically, Jovenel Moïse should be expected to act without delay, before the swearing-in of another Parliament, whose loyalty isn’t guaranteed, as was the case for the 50th.
That is why, we think, he may rush to sign contracts, paying no attention to the bidding process, for exploitation of gold mines or oil deposits, especially in the north and northwest regions of the country. Parliamentarians of the 50th Legislature weren’t at all accommodating to these ventures. What is advanced regarding exploitation of Haiti’s underground wealth isn’t far-fetched. Feverishly there’s a run on land in the region of Terrier-Rouge, Caracol and Ferrier, carried out by men representing Jovenel Moïse, the First Lady and their associates in business and politics. Some credible individuals say contracts are to be awarded – or already have been— to foreigners, without going through the bidding process, as constitutionally mandated.
The decrees mentioned above are in addition to those relating to the state of health emergency, the most recent of which was published last Thursday, May 21, giving the government the authority to violate the rights of citizens by conducting arrests on the spot, jailing and subjecting alleged violators of the masking orders to community service, under the pretext of protecting the country from the COVID-19 pandemic.
We have sounded the alarm. The nation is forewarned. The sons and daughters of Haiti who, tooth and nail, are defending its interests, must remain vigilant as they fight against this nascent dictatorship. The repressive system put in place by Jovenel Moïse and his allies may currently prevent them from thwarting the illegal, unconstitutional and anti-national decisions of the PHTK regime. However, time is coming when they’ll be able to provide the country the means needed to correct the violations of the Constitution and the laws of the land, and undo the harm caused. All of it in the spirit of the Fundamental Charter.
cet article est publié par l’hebdomadaire Haïti-Observateur, VOL. L No.20 New York, édition du 27 mai 2020 et se trouve en P.11 à : http://haiti-observateur.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/H-O-27-mai-2020-1.pdf