Chief Zanzan Karwor, Chairman of the National Tradition Council, Friday, November 1, advised the Constitution Review Committee (CRC) to include views of every citizen before amending the 1986 Constitution of Liberia.
Chief Karwor said if the exercise is participatory, then the amended constitution would reflect the views of the public and they would take ownership of it.
“The amended constitution should reflect all of our views, and not a select few,” the Traditional Chief said at a two-day workshop to select and recruit applicants for a CRC post. The workshop had been held at the auditorium of the Booker Washington Institute (BWI), in Kakata, Margibi County.
He further advised the committee: “Respect the views of those of us who are from the 15 counties, who will be making recommendations to you on the future of Liberia.”
Making specific reference to the lack of a provision in the Constitution focused on the eligibility of chiefs and elders, Chief Karwor angrily told the gathering “Look at the Constitution; it says nothing about how one can become chief; or who should be a chief. Every small boy wants to be chief. And the position of chief is not for small boys, it is for men.” He added “That is the result of a few people making decisions on behalf of the larger population. This is causing serious problems among chiefs in the country. It needs to be addressed adequately during the review process,” Chief Karwor stressed.
Earlier, reading the overview of the gathering, Mr. Soko V. Sackor, CRC’s sub-committee chair on Civil Service Organizations, (CSOs) explained that the exercise was intended to vet and recruit individuals and institutions, who applied to participate in the National Civil Education Campaign.
“The vetting process would be credible and transparent,” Mr. Sackor stressed. “Selected institutions and individuals will help to ensure that the public is adequately informed about the Constitution and the review process.”
According to him, the committee will consider the bottom-to-the-top approach during the consultation exercises.
“This approach ensures that everyone is included in the process. We want you people to take ownership of your Constitution. This is why we will make it transparent and credible” Mr. Sackor maintained.
For her part, Cllr. Gloria M. Scott, head of the CRC, assured the gathering—CSOs mainly—that the process would be based on the views of all the people of Liberia.
“You have to ensure that the public is adequately informed on the Constitution and the review process, so as to submit well-stated views and opinions,” Cllr. Scott explained.
“Your critical views as stakeholders in the amendment of an article of the Constitution determine where the country will be in the next 100 years,” she told the CSO executives.
“You are important to the process, and you are critical partners in making history that will not be forgotten by future generations. We are determined to work with as many individuals as possible,” she assured.
Meanwhile, participants at the end of the vetting process selected 172 out of the 500 CSOs listed for the national civil education campaign.
The CRC has the mandate to organize, lead, and manage the review process of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia.
It also organizes public debates and consultations in order to propose amendments to the Constitution that are based on the views of all Liberians.