The Constitution Review Committee (CRC) has announced its readiness to submit to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf the final results of the National Constitution Conference held recently in Gbarnga, Bong County.
The conference, which proposed major changes in Liberia’s 1986 Constitution, was held from March 29 to April 2, 2015.
It brought together delegates from the 15 counties and the Diaspora to vote on 25 proposed constitutional amendments to be submitted to President Sirleaf.
The President had assured the delegates at the conference that once she receives the proposed changes to the constitution, she would forward to the Legislature in a timely manner a document that reflects the concerns and aspirations of the Liberian people. “Then it would be left with the Legislative disposition and submission of the set of proposals for referendum.”
The proposed amendments include reducing term durations for political offices and making Liberia a Christian state.
With the recent pronouncement by Cllr. Scott that the report is ready, it is not clear whether it contains the controversial clause that has to do with turning Liberia into a Christian Nation.
The Gbarnga Conference was attended by representatives of the 73 districts, Liberians from the Diaspora, representatives of political parties, civil society organizations (CSOs), and traditional leaders, among others.
CRC Chairperson Gloria Musu Scott made her announcement at the Ministry of Information’s regular press briefing in Monrovia on Tuesday.
She described the Gbarnga Conference as a “historic milestone” in post-conflict Liberia which is seeking sustained peace and reconciliation through constitutional reform.
She stressed that the CRC has recognized and acknowledged the governance and democratic sensitivity of Liberians and their determination for genuine and progressive reforms that would promote fundamental freedoms, infrastructural, economic and people’s development.
Liberians from all sectors of life must be commended for converging to make constitutional decisions without any political, social, economic and religious discrimination and preferences, said Cllr. Scott.
She described the process as an “unprecedented democratic exercise with healthy engagements in which independent views were proposed and differences expressed with intensity without restriction, intimidation and discrimination among citizens.”
According to her, the National Constitution Conference achieved national ownership, inclusiveness, national awareness and accountability because it also brought validation and consensus on the socio-economic rights, governance, decentralization, citizenship, persons with disabilities, family and religion as advanced by the delegates.
The objective of the conference was to validate the views of the citizens as published in the preliminary summery of views of Liberians as expressed during the consultations and sectorial meetings in 73 electoral districts and in the Diaspora.
“In a transparent manner,” Cllr. Scott maintained, “the CRC circulated its report, which contained views from electoral districts, stakeholders, government specialized agencies or commissions and Diaspora Liberians as well as the 25 recurrent views from the field.”