‘Say to Your Constitution What You Want Your Country to Be’

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No matter where they are from, where they live, what their religion or political affiliation is, and however else each—to a certain extent—might share one or more difference with his fellow citizen, every Liberian should express his or her view and preference as a way of making the new Liberian Constitution his own.

The Chairperson of the Constitutional Review Committee, (CRC) Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott, has appealed to Liberians to step up and say what they think of their country. That, she might have added, is the one sure way of Liberians coming close to finding out who they are, where they come from, what they want, where they hope to go, and how to get there as one people. 

The public’s civic education and consultations is aimed at giving every Liberian the opportunity to do just that—say what he or she wants to be reflected about Liberia in the Constitution.

The CRC boss made her statements at the formal launch of the civic education and consultations held at the Monrovia Vocational Training Center (MVTC) campus on Saturday, the 1st of March 2014.

This important part of the Constitution Review process will be assisted by a civic education project that is designed to help fill a (debilitating) incapacitating, weakening, devastating) void in our nation’s past; that void relates to the exclusion (leaving out) much of the contributions from Liberia’s tribal tradition, to the nation.

That project will focus on bringing changes to national symbols of Liberia as will be suggested by this nation’s tribal people. Those symbols include the flag, the anthem, the motto, the seal, national awards, etc.

What is selected is expected to help inform the CRC as far as infusing (putting into) the main document—the Constitution—all that is needed to help create unity and a feeling of oneness; it is hoped to spur a new sense of identity, for what is projected to become Edward Wilmot Blyden’s ‘new Liberian nation’—that embraces all of its people.

Regrettably, not very many people showed up for the formal launch of the civic education and consultations on Saturday from Montserrado Counties’ District numbers 1 and 2,.

During the program, the former Liberian Chief Justice, in simple English, urged Liberians to prioritize participating in the public consultation in order to reflect their thoughts and dreams.

On behalf of the 6-member’s committee, she stressed the importance of the inclusiveness of all Liberians during the public and stakeholders consultations, and repeated the need to take the opportunity to be heard.

“We left our air-conditioned offices and we are here to encourage you to tell us how the Constitution should be; we want you to know that wherever you are, we will reach you to hear what you have to say about your country; that way, we will find out what to put in the new Constitution for this country,” the CRC boss said.

Cllr. Scott said they believe that public participation will show a nationally-owned Constitution because the proposed constitutional changes will be based on open debates and inputs from all our people.

According to the brochure of the Committee, the CRC has divided its mandate into nine stages: civic education and outreach; public and stakeholder consultations; first draft of proposed amendments and report national constitutional conference; and submission of final draft of proposed amendment to the President.

The other stages include: presentation of final draft to the Legislature; Legislative debate and approval; civic information of the final amendment and national referendum on the amendments to the Constitution.

 Earlier, the chairman on the subcommittee on Civic education and Media, Dr. Jasper S. Ndaborlor, said the primary goal of the constitutional review is to promote and strengthen national unity and reconciliation.

He noted that the public consultation, which officially began over the weekend will be nationally-owned as a result of its openness to critical challenges.

Madam Frances R. Greaves of the National Civil Society Council and Rev. Washington S. McGill of the National Union Party of Liberia on behalf of the political parties hailed the CRC for the Liberian Constitution review and urged Liberians to take the public consultation seriously.

Mr. Nathaniel Fair of the Liberia Council of Churches also added his voice to encourage Liberians to be part of the new Constitution. Sheikh Akibu Sherif, the Secretary General of the National Muslim Council of Liberia (NMCL) spoke up as well.

Sheikh Sherif said that the Council regrets its decision that the composition of CRC does not include Muslim scholars. However, the processes leading to the referendum will be open so that every Liberian might express his views get to  know what is happening and remain informed of each stage of the process.

The CRC includes Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott – chairperson and members are Dr. D. Elwood Dunn; Rev. Dr. Jasper Samuel Ndaborlor, Soko V. Sackor, Rev. Kennedy G. Sandy and Madam Amelia Ward.

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