‘Loopholes in Referendum’

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Alexander B. Cummings, Chairman of CPP and one of the signatores to the oppoition community's statement on the Rreferendum.

—Says CPP and Rainbow Coalition

Liberians have been warned against amending Article 50 of the country’s constitution as it will pave the way for President George Weah to run for a third term.

The warning, which is coming from the opposition community led by the Collaborating Political Parties and Rainbow Coalition, urges Liberians to boycott the referendum or vote ‘NO’, as they fear that the government is supporting the YES” vote campaign as a way of manipulating the Constitution to allow President Weah run for a third term, as has happened with Liberia’s neighbors, Ivory Coast and Guinea.

The group argued that amending Article 50, without amending Article 93 of the Constitution, will render it contradictory since the forthcoming referendum “makes no mention to change the language of Article 93 from two terms, each of six years to two terms, each of five years so as to correspond with any potential change in the language of Article 50.”

Article 50 of Constitution states that, “The Executive Power of the Republic shall be vested in the President who shall be Head of State, Head of Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia. The president shall be elected by universal adult suffrage of registered voters in the Republic and shall hold office for a term of six years, commencing at noon on the third working Monday in January of the year, immediately following the elections. No person shall serve as President for more than two terms.

While Article 93 explained that: “The limitation of the Presidential term of office to two terms, each of six years duration, may be subject to amendment; provided that the amendment shall not become effective during the term of office of the incumbent President.

Such “contradiction,” the CPP and the Rainbow Coalition claim, will pave the way for a third-term presidency, hence the need to halt the December 8, 2020 referendum, or Liberians should vote against amending Article 50 because doing so is dangerous to the country democracy.  

 “We cannot and must not amend Article 50 of our Constitution, without a corresponding amendment in the language of Article 93 of the Constitution. Hence, a new resolution is required,” the group said in a statement.

“We cannot and must not have a constitution that says one thing in Article 50 and says a completely different thing in Article 93. The logical thing to do, therefore, is to postpone the Referendum, go back to the legislature for a new Resolution and issue an official gazette thereto, and after one year, hold a national referendum,” the statement continued.

But President Weah has so far denied such claims and insists that he has no intention of going beyond the constitutional two-term limit since he wants Liberia’s democracy to become better in terms of political participation.

“The Referendum… I want to say it’s not for the third term, fourth term, or fifth term. The referendum is to give you the opportunity for you to serve, too, because, in our society, we’ve got so many people that served long terms and have nothing to show,” President Weah said recently in Ganta while on the campaign trail. “So, we are challenging those people to cut down the terms of office for president, representatives, and senators so that they can work expediently… so they can work faster when they are in those positions.”

However, the CPP and the Rainbow Coalition noted that if “the government insists on proceeding with the referendum,” Liberians should boycott the process and only go to the polls to vote for Senatorial Candidates and Representative Candidates for the by-elections.

“We do not rule out possible legal actions if the National Elections Commission insists on holding the planned illegal referendum. We cannot and will not participate in an unconstitutional process,” the opposition community said. “We reserve the right to peacefully assemble and will be doing so over the coming days to call attention to our legitimate demands.”

Their argument comes less than a week to the referendum—and in support of public outcry that the referendum should be postponed due to limited voter education, carries out by the country’s electoral body—but the government has so far resisted such an idea.

The row comes as a result of a joint resolution adopted by the Legislature in 2019 to amend articles 28, 45, 47, 48, 49, 50, and 83 (a) and (c) of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia to give green-light to dual citizenship; reduction of the presidential tenure from 6-5 years as well as the reduction in the tenure of lawmakers—Representative from 6-5 years and Senators from 9-7 years.

Others include changing the date of general elections from October to November to avoid the rainy season and decrease in the time-frame its take the electoral body to act on complaint following an election from 30-15 days.

However, for these amendments to become law, two-third votes or more of all valid votes should be in favor or in support of the adoption of the propositions, according to the Constitution. If the voting threshold is not achieved, the electoral body will have to declare that the proposal was not ratified by voters.

Meanwhile, the CPP and Rainbow Coalition have chided the Supreme Court of Liberia for refusing to hear their concerns through a Petition for a Writ of Mandamus to clean  the voters roll; and for issuing a ruling on the national referendum that was “so vague as to be  lacking in enforcement.”

 “We reject and rebuke the Supreme Court’s abuse of discretionary power to hear our mandamus and its spineless and ambivalent ruling, giving no direction to the political survival of this country,” they said.

The CPP’s and Rainbow Coalition’s rebuke of the Supreme Court comes after the Court ruled that conducting the referendum under the Executive condensed propositions, under the existing gazette, was a violation of the letters and intent of the Constitution and the citizens’ rights of choice.

“To the mind of this Court, this is a violation of the letters and intent of the Constitution and the citizens’ rights of choice. The court agrees with the petitioners that, should the 1st Respondent (NEC) be permitted to print the ballot papers based upon the published Official Gazette, then and in that case, that will constitute proceeding by the wrong rule,” said the Supreme Court ruled.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Are you just seeing the loopholes? Are you now saying the president can’t be defected come 2023 and worrying about third term?

  2. Daily Observer,
    The only “Loophole” in the Referendum is that your BENEFACTOR; Alexander ALICE GAY MAN Cummings is a Citizen of the United States of America.
    Upon the approval of the proposition on Dual Citizenship, Mr. BUTT BOY Cummings will not be qualified to run for the Office of President of the Republic of Liberia, except he cancelled his United States Citizenship. That is the reason behind Mr. HOMOSEXUAL’S reckless drive against the Referendum.

    Have the Daily Observer replaced Rodney Sieh,
    as the new PR for the Cummings GAY Fellowship???
    Hehehehehehehehe

  3. True Nationalist aka Tweah, McGill and Koijee have destroyed our country. Liberia will fall back into conflict.

    Dikenah, go fuck yourself. You lie too much, Amazon worker!!!

  4. Cummings sexual orientation is not the issue here (GAY or NOT he can express his opinion. even though he doesn’t know what he’s talking about) . What is the issue is that Cummings is NOT making any sense. Cummings doesn’t have the “BIG PICTURE” vision on development, Liberia feeding itself for instance (he just want to criticize and oppose everything.) . . Also, the dual citizenship proposal is fair and allow, Liberian-born people to start investments in much needed avenues such as independence in agriculture (feeding ourselves), starting business through loan access to capital to USA bank (creating a Liberian business-middle class) and bringing back more professionals to Liberia that can concentrate on non-governmental employment (due to dual citizenship restrictions).Vote “YES” for the referendum! Vote “YES”!!Having our brothers and sisters participating in our economy is a “POSITIVE THING”.

  5. I think Joe Buchanan is right. Alexander Benedict Cummings’ sexual orientation should not be the only barometer on which he should be judged. Alexander Benedict Cummings is probably good at being an excellent private sector employee than being a president of a nation.

    On the bigger picture of governmental leadership, it is becoming clearer and clearer that Cummings is not well suited to become president of Liberia. For instance, Cummings’ embrace of the Rainbow Coalition shows an insufficiency of progressive ideas in him. This is not to suggest that the Rainbow Coalition politicians are incompetent! No, that’s not the point at all. The universal point is that Mr. Alexander Benedict Cummings has run out of progressive ideas.

    Additionally, Cummings sounds like an alarmist. Whereas Weah has not signaled that he intends to run for a third term, Cummings summons the attention of the Liberian people and tells them that it could well be.

    Lastly, the situation in Guinea and the Ivory coast should not be compared in anyway with Liberia. Why? Because there’s an apparent difference. Scaring the traumatized Liberian people about the fact that Weah will likely run for a third term is not good politics. Cummings should be concerned about his run for the presidency.

    • As usual, the loophole is if Mr. Cummings knew all about the loopholes, why did he refused to inform the general public ? He waited until the citizens cast their votes and now he is talking about loopholes. Now that he is carrying out his civics duty to inform the general public , Hney seemed broken down and more black in the face , thinking that Cummings should not had informed the public about what is in stored against them. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
      ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !
      But people here it gets even sweeter. Look no further than Mr. Karjah’s assertion to Mr. Cummings: “Are you just seeing the loopholes “?
      Civil war education and post civil education are actually a big problem in that country. The regional examination says it all in that God Forsaken Country . Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ! You just seeing the loopholes ? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ! Nothing was ever meant to go right in that God Forsaken Land. What A Country ? What A People ? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ! Really needs a shot of Jack Daniel’s right now. Not in red cup, too civilized for that red cup thing. But in a glass. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !

  6. These power seeking hypocrites are wrong! Article 93 needs no amendment taking into account

    (1)the legislative MANDATORY, BINDING, AND IMPERATIVE, LANGUAGE (OR THE 25TH AND THE 29TH WORDS PROVIDED, AND SHALL) of the very Article 93. That is,

    (2)These mandatory, binding, and imperative dictions “PROVIDED“ AND “SHALL“ ABSOLUTELY CORRESPOND with Article 50!, Since,

    (3) Article 50, in its second clause, makes it imperative, mandatory, and binding IPSO FACTO THE imperative, mandatory, and binding, wordings and language of “SHALL“, coupled with the final clause with its DEFINITIVE, AND SPECIFIC language of NO PERSON SHALL SERVE AS PRESIDENT FOR MORE THAN TWO TERMS!

    (4) Not to even mention the mandatory, imperative, and binding, clause of the very Article 50 which reads …The President SHALL hold office for a term of six years, commencing at noon on the third working Monday in January of the year, immediately following the elections, a mandatory, imperative, and binding, and corresponding language with Article 93 tallying with

    (5) the mandatory, imperative, and binding, 22nd WORD (PROVIDED), and the 26th WORD SHALL) within that very clause which reads inter alia subject to amendment provided that the amendment shall not become effective during the term of office of the incumbent President!

    So, ipso facto the corresponding imperative, mandatory, and binding, wordings and language of Articles 50 and 93, there is no way President Weah the incumbent President, or any incumbent president within THIS INCUMBENCY (OR DISPENSATION), can “manipulate the Constitution to allow President Weah run for a third term, as has happened with Liberia’s neighbors, Ivory Coast and Guinea. “.

    For, for God in Heaven sake, the second clause of Article 50 ( with its mandatory, imperative, and binding, THIRD WORD “SHALL“) followed by the clear, mandatory, imperative, and binding language of “commencing at noon on the third working Monday in January of the year, immediately following the elections“ PRESCRIBED OR STIPULATED IN ARTICLE 50 AND THE FINAL CLAUSE OF THE VERY ARTICLE 50 No person shall serve as President for more than two terms, DEFINITIVELY AND ABSOLUTELY renders the argument of the CPP or of Alex Cummings foolish and useless. And this aforementioned stipulation mandatorily corresponds to and with Article 93, which reads infra..

    The limitation of the Presidential term of office to two terms, each of six

    years duration, may be subject to amendment; PROVIDED that the amendment SHALL

    not become effective during the term of office of the incumbent President.

    But for an Alex Cummings who, when the Legislature in 2017, was on the brink of impeaching Philip Banks, Jamesetta Wolokolie, and this same impeached Kabineh Janeh said “one branch of government cannot question the omission or act of another branch“ because of their equal separation of powers despite the fact for example,

    (1) the President can veto bills passed by the Legislature, and the Legislature can override presidential vetoes and laws, while

    (2) the Supreme Court can declare the Legislatures laws and the Presidents actions unconstitutional, while

    (3)THE ALLMIGHTY LEGISLATURE can initiate the process of constitutional amendment to override the Supreme Court, it is

    (4) not surprising that this very Cummings is ignorant to the jurisprudential phenomenon or epistemological and ontological power dynamics of LEGISLATIVE LANGUAGE!

    • Mr. True or False Nationalist, not planning to get you angry, at least not now but in the future.
      Now what the Hell are you trying to say in your writings ? Blah , blah blah blah blah blah blah and blah blah blah blah blah blah and blah blah blah blah blah blah ! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ! What A Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah guy ?
      Oh Well .

      • What we are saying in other words, is that Cummings and his CPP should know that “loopholes“, an inevitable legislative crafting phenomenon is a good faith legal and ethical technicality having absolutely no ligament to violation of the law nor a violation of the Constitution, So, he and his CPP should spare us their deceptive cry wolf crocodile cry or actually their defeatist mindset boredom.

        And for the certainty of this ethicality and non violation, mandatory or directory language, as a matter of legal effect, such words as “SHALL“ AND “PROVIDED“, ETC. are used and NOT WORDS AS “MAY, CAN, WILL, ETC.ETC“. which are merely delegative and permissive in terms of mood and legal effect.

  7. We are talking serious business. Are you concerned about those flies and fleas? Don’t open up like that and laugh. Fleas…..flies and mosquitoes in the mouth ooooooo!

    • Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !
      He says we talking serious business. Criticizing and calling another grown man names which ever way is pleasing to Mr. Hney, are considered as talking serious business. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ! Mr. Hney talking serious business, while side stepping the issue in the article just to call someone names out of the person’s personality.
      Wow ! Hney ? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !

  8. Bai, pay your staff. Over twenty months no pay. Employees going on strike. Others are interested in buying the Observer if it can no longer meet up with its responsibilities.

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