ECC Calls for Constitutional Amendment

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ECC Executive Director, Oscar Bloh (right) and member, Malcolm Joseph (left)

The Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) says a comprehensive constitutional amendment is necessary to consolidate the country’s “fragile democracy.”

ECC’s Coordinator Oscar Bloh made the remarks on Tuesday, Agust 13, 2019 at a news conference in Monrovia. The ECC, he said, supports and commends President George Weah’s intention and idea to amend the constitution.

It can be recalled that last week the media reported that President Weah was contemplating Constitutional amendments to reduce the tenures of the presidency from six to five years.

“These initial proposals from the President are welcoming. At the same time, the ECC calls on the President to recommend to the National Legislature a comprehensive amendment to the Constitution in order to avoid a constant change to provisions within the Constitution. This will also minimize financial costs on the government,” Mr. Bloh said.

According to Mr. Bloh, a broad amendment to the Constitution will create the opportunity for far-reaching legal reforms including “a change of the election date (Article 83A) and removing it from the Constitution.”

He said: “Put a stop to the conduct of by-elections because of low turn-out and financial burden on the government (Article 37 of the Constitution). The removal of judicial powers from the National Elections Commission (NEC) in the resolution of electoral petitions (Article 83C).”

Mr. Bloh continued: “The elimination of the racist clause on citizenship (Article 27B). Limit the appointing powers of the President so that Superintendents and City Mayors can be elected in pursuit of full political decentralization (Article 54C). A change to provisions that have to do with the formation and operations of political parties (Chapter 7 of the Constitution), that would lead to the formulation of a Political Party Act. To alter the provision on how amendments to the Constitution can take place (Article 92).”

To achieve the objectives, ECC further recommended that, “in order to minimize confusion among voters, the comprehensive amendments to the Constitution will be determined through a “NO” or “YES” vote rather than on individual propositions.”

Mr. Bloh said the broader Constitutional review process is led by the Law Reform Commission (LRC) and membership expanded to include representatives from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Law School, political parties, Inter-Religious Council of Liberia (IRCL), the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA), National Traditional Council, and the Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC).

The Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) is a civil society platform, comprising six (6) organizations that observe elections in Liberia.

The members include: Actions for Genuine Democratic Alternatives (AGENDA); Center for Democratic Governance (CDG); Center for Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP); Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD); Naymote Partners for Democratic Development (NAYMOTE-PADD); West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP), and the Women’s NGO Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL).

The ECC works in partnership with the Liberia Accountability Voice Initiative (LAVI), with support from USAID.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Until the Democratic Party is outlawed dismantled and arrested there never will be truth in elections. They are today trying to dismantle the Supreme Court. These are dangerous criminals that my country needs to clean up fast or we will not have a country left

  2. A wise person once said, “Laws should be like clothes. They should be tailored properly in order to fit the people (Liberian people) that wear them.”

    Thank God for this long overdue proposal for a comprehensive overhaul of Liberia’s outdated Constitution. The current rigged “so called” 1986 Revised Constitution, which does not add present nor future value to Liberia’s economic, social and political progress, was never meant to decentralize power.

    The “so called” 1986 Revised Constitution was revised and manipulated solely to keep power in the hands of those who had power for a long time! We are now witnessing the disastrous consequences of such selfish motives of engineering ways to stay in power too long (from the President down to the Legislators): a common trend in Africa.

    Yes indeed, Liberia needs a complete overhaul of its “rigged” 1986 Revised Constitution that was done under the watchful eyes of an autocratic government! A new comprehensive amended constitution is urgently needed: a value-added constitution that will face present day reality and project future trends: like meeting the ever-increasing economic, political, religious, and social needs of Liberia’s diverse population growth.

    A new value-added constitution would give counties more autonomy to self-govern their local affairs. These self-autonomy laws, if embedded into our constitution as purported by The Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC), will help speed up economic, political and social developments to meet the ever increasing demands without local authorities worrying about the bureaucratic jaws of the central government that continues to stifle justice, freedom, and economic growth in Liberia.

    There are many outdated laws that are preventing Liberia from moving in the right trajectory towards national cohesiveness, democratic freedom, decentralization and economic progress as stipulated by The Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC).

    Liberia, a country coming out of civil conflict, needs a comprehensive “National Youth Service Agenda” like Ghana and Nigeria to help strengthen national solidarity and national cohesiveness among Liberia’s growing youth population. This could be a work-in-progress for further studies that could be passed into laws.

    Not until a new decentralized value-added constitution that really gives power to the people and power by the people is implemented, Liberia’s economic, political, social and regional authorities will continue to suffocate under these antiquated laws that ultimately give more power to Liberia’s dysfunctional Government Bureaucrats who control the show remotely from Monrovia.

    Yes indeed, The Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) is right: a comprehensive constitutional amendment is urgently necessary to consolidate Liberia’s “fragile democracy.”

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