GC, Law Reform Linked to Contentious Document

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The Governance Commission (GC) and the Law Reform Commission (LRC) have been linked to the preparation and distribution of a controversial document that sparked protest last Tuesday at the ongoing National Constitution Conference (NCC) in Gbarnga, Bong County.

The Daily Observer learned that GC and LRC replaced the earlier 25 views that were collected from citizens of the 15 counties by the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) with another document called ‘Proposed Amendments to the 1986 Constitution’, containing only nine views.

The 25 views were to have been discussed and approved by conference delegates before being submitted to the Legislature for concurrence and subsequently sent to the National Elections Commission (NEC) for a referendum.

However, it was when the delegates were preparing to discuss the 25 views that they observed that the document containing the 25 views had been switched with another document titled, ‘Proposed Amendments to the 1986 Constitution’ containing only nine views.

  The 26 page ‘Proposed Amendments to the 1986 Constitution’ submitted to National Constitution Conference (NCC) had unexpectedly replaced the initial 76 page document, titled “Preliminary Summary of Views of the Liberian People as Expressed during the Consultations and Sectorial Meetings in 73 Liberian Electoral Districts and the Diaspora 2013-2014.”

The 26 page document only highlighted nine of the 25 views gathered from citizens during the consultation meeting with the CRC.

The new document was distributed by people wearing LRC jackets. GC and LRC comprise the technical arm of the CRC.

Initially, the conference organizer, the Constitution Review Committee (CRC) conducted a nationwide consultation with the 15 counties during which the citizens revealed 25 issues that could be considered as proposals for amendments to the 1986 Constitution.

Included in their document, a copy of which is with the Daily Observer, the citizens recommended to the CRC that “Dual Citizenship should not be accepted in Liberia and that Liberia should be a Christian Nation.”

However, the proposed amendments document believed to have been crafted by the GC and LRC has the caption, “The CRC Determination on Citizenship.”

The document of 25 issues reads, “Citizenship would remain one of the most contentious to be discussed during the consultation process. The CRC revealed thousands of views and numerous presentations were made on the subject both in Liberia and the Diaspora.”

It further reads, “The consultation centered basically on the subject themes, the dual citizenship question (Article 28.), Divestiture of citizenship from property ownership (Article 22 (a),  and Removal of the Negro Clause in Article 27 (b) which some people describe as “the apartheid clause.”

It continued, “On account of the overwhelming desire of Liberians at home and to maintain and to some extent even strengthen the current provision in the Constitution, the CRC voted to make no proposal for amendment to any clause dealing directly with the three sub-themes of citizenship mentioned above.”

It also said, “We should also make a brief case that some Liberians at home, but particularly those in the diaspora made cogent cases for change to the dual citizenship (Article 28), and citizenship and property law (Article 22, (a)) to allow for dual citizenship as well as the right of people with sub-citizenship to own real property.”

That proposed document did not mention that Liberia should be declared a Christian nation.

  The source who chose not to be identified lamented, “Nobody should blame CRC, they did their job, but it was the GC and LRC that exchanged the documents.”

“You have to understand that CRC does not do anything on its own. They have to take instructions from our technical people before doing a thing,” he disclosed, adding “as for the exchange of documents we don’t know anything about it.”

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