NCSCL Hails Supreme Court’s Ruling Against Referendum

Mrs. Loretta Pope-Kai, chairperson, National Civil Society Council of Liberia

The National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL) has welcomed the Supreme Court of Liberia’s annulment of the national referendum, which was scheduled to take place alongside the midterm, senatorial elections on December 8.

The court in a unanimous opinion on Wednesday ruled in favor of the opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), which filed a writ of prohibition against the proceedings in October. And the NCSCL praised the court for its decision.

This nullification is indeed a critical representation of the popular will of the people of Liberia against the holding of the referendum as was scheduled by the National Elections Commission (NEC),” the NCSCL said in a statement on Thursday. Nationwide consultations with civil society organizations across the lengths and breadths of Liberia had established that holding the referendum as was scheduled would have done the state more harm than good,” it added.

The council said its members had raised concerns about information, sensitization, awareness and education on the referendum that was “extremely critical to be ignored” and would have “haunted the country badly”.

“The Council maintains that amending provisions of the Constitution is a critical process that requires massive preparation, feasible participation and informed decision, which must be achieved on the popular mandate of the people that is derived when they are massively informed and mobilized and adequately prepared to participate,” read the statement.

The CPP had argued that the Government of Liberia’s official gazette on the referendum was inconsistent with Article 92 of the Constitution. That article states, “… If more than one proposed amendment is to be voted upon in a referendum, they shall be submitted in such manner that the people may vote for or against them separately.”  

That was not the case. If the referendum would have been allowed, all three prepositions—to reduce the tenures of the President and representatives from six to five years, and the senators from nine to six years—would have one “Yes” or “No” voting option. There would have been no way for a voter to cast their ballot individually on each preposition.  Given the lack of adequate public education and awareness on the proposals, CPP lawyers argued, such a choice was not only unconstitutional but “tantamount to a deliberate attempt to entrapping the voter to a pre-determined outcome.”

“It would have actually been chaotic and confusing had we forced our people to vote with three ballot papers, one representing the senatorial elections, one focusing on the prepositions of the referendum and one addressing the two by-elections in Montserrado and Sinoe at the same time,” said the council in the statement.


  1. The final judgment of the Supreme Court relative to the upcoming December 8, 2020 amendment of the Constitution of Liberia is legal and absolutely and consistent with the Constitution of Liberia. This is what Liberians expect from their Supreme and Subordinate Courts. Let laws of Liberia speak.

    Amending Liberia’s Constitution arbitrarily is dangerous for Liberia and residents.

    Frederick A.B. Jayweh, Esq.
    Counsellor-At-Law & International Affairs Director
    Africa Center for Law and Human Rights, Inc.
    77 Broad St, 3rd Floor, Presbyterian Building
    Monrovia, Liberia
    Lib-Ph: (231) 775-204-677
    US-Ph: (720) 731-7994

  2. Mr. Jayweh, by you ONLY ASSERTING and not substantiating your assertion, does not ”tell” us anything relevant.

    Could you please explicate by inter alia citing relevant statutory and constitutional provisions as to how or why according to you ”The final judgment of the Supreme Court relative to the upcoming December 8, 2020 amendment of the Constitution of Liberia is legal and absolutely and consistent with the Constitution of Liberia”.?

    And do not get me wrong that I am even implying that the Court’s judgment may be wrong or right. In fact, I do not know if the judgment is even wrong or correct. And this is why I am asking you.


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