Senator Wesseh to Resubmit Presidential Transition Act

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Senator Wesseh says he will reintroduce the Presidential Transition Act

Senator Conmany Wesseh (River Gee County) says he will resubmit the Presidential Transaction Act (PTA) which was submitted to the House of Representatives and later withdrawn by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

President Sirleaf recently submitted the PTA but later withdrew it due to widespread negative perception the public holds about her motives. The PTA seeks to put in place an arrangement for the transfer of administration from one democratically elected president to another that would build a strong foundation and culture to enhance Liberia’s democratic values for sustainable peace and management.

While many people were yet to know the content of the PTA, there were negative reactions that the President was seeking for herself following her presidency, immunity  from prosecution  for alleged corruption. In response, President Sirleaf, in her letter withdrawing the PTA, said she does not need any protection because her service to the Liberian people will stand the test of time.

Senator Wesseh in defense of the PTA following reports that the President has withdrawn it from legislative enactment said the Act is not about President Sirleaf and her family’s future.
Senator Wesseh in an interview with the Daily Observer yesterday said: “The Constitution of Liberia is higher than any law, and this Act cannot exempt the President from any crime that she might have committed.”

He said the Act is good because it provides conditions under which families of past Presidents should be treated.

“The wives of Presidents Samuel Doe and Moses Blah are here, but because there is no law to provide them benefits they are entitled to, people blame President Sirleaf that she is a bad woman,” he said.

He made reference to the United States where such a transition act was established in 1962 and has since been adjusted to suit the realities of the period.

“This Act is good; it predicts the future of the country and will give security to a President to feel free to give power,” Senator Wesseh added.

According to him, transition in Liberia has always been under emergency conditions since 1944 when Edwin James Barclay turned over power to William V. S. Tubman.

He said the Act will give Liberians the hope and direction as to what they must do for their former Presidents and Vice Presidents as well as their spouses.

“As we speak of change, there is a need for a clear predictability, and if there is no predictability then there will be hesitation; and when there is hesitation, people operate under fear and it becomes problematic,” he added.

Senator Wesseh further noted, “I am disappointed that the President withdrew the Act, but it is not about her and whether or not she has formerly withdrawn it. The law is good and has to be reintroduced.”

The River Gee County Senator argued that as it stands now, when a President leaves office, there is no law that says the President or Vice President deserves certain privileges.

He cited an instance when former Interim President Dr. Amos Sawyer turned over power to Professor David Kpormakpor and he (Sawyer) was left vulnerable without security and other amenities.

He said there are some decisions a leader can take in the general interest of the country that may not favor the few and therefore, if a President is not provided with protection, an evil person can cause danger to the President.

Furthermore, he said, a former President or Vice President deserves respect from the citizens.
Under Part III of the Presidential Transition Act (PTA), the President and Vice President-Elect, and former Presidents and Vice Presidents have specific services and facilities stipulated:
The “President and Vice President-Elect shall be provided logistics in connection with preparations for the assumption of official duties as President and Vice President, which include suitable office space properly equipped and furnished, payment of travel expenses and subsistence allowances, including rental of governmental or hired motor vehicles, communication services found necessary by the President and Vice President-Elect, and daily briefings by all the relevant government personnel and agencies on the state of the nation’s economy and national security.”

Section two of Part III also calls for provision of office space for the former President and Vice President, two vehicles for the former President, one for the former Vice President, and adequate security protection for both. The President is entitled to five officers of the Executive Protection Service (EPS) and three for the Vice president, annual budgetary allotment to upkeep the former President and Vice President, one-third of annual budgetary appropriation for legal dependents and spouses of former Presidents and Vice Presidents, among others.

It may be recalled that on September 13, a student leader of the University of Liberia impolitely told President Sirleaf to withdraw the Presidential Transition Act because he and the “Youth” fear that it may exempt her from prosecution when needs be, though the Act speaks nothing about any exemption, neither does it seek for protection for a former president.

8 COMMENTS

  1. The President should not be given immunity. The laws of the land should hold her and her family for the millions that went missing from NOCAL, Goodridge Plantation sale to Firestone, EU $52 million for health sector etc etc. The bill must never be reintroduced because it seeks to protect the President and her family from prosecution.

  2. We can’t out-rightly reject this Presidential Transition Act and have it killed like many other Acts without getting the merit and demerit of it. We sometimes say that government officials are corrupt but there is nothing on our law book that can state the benefits of former government officials. When we talk about maintaining democracy in the in our new dispensation we need to look at some of these things. What the former government officials who rendered their services to the country over the years will depend on after service? Let’s look at it from objective point of view instead of being bias.

    • Yes we can. Why now? Why didn’t she introduce it at the early stage of her presidency? What do you know that is in that PTA? Look again my friend and do not be blinded these fail leaders of ours. They are selfish, mean, arrogant and very very bad. Thank you

  3. Are the resources to undertake such venture? Has the country’s economic grown to do such? With all fairness, the answer is no!

  4. Reintroduce what? Already institutionalized and constitutionalized. Close up. Otherwise your people in your just added county will soon vote you out.
    Gone to silent majority in the full interest of the Republic of Liberia. Tell the Liberian people.

  5. As evident from Senator Wesseh reference, “The United States where such transitions act was established in 1962 and has since been adjusted to suit the realities of the period.” He went on to say, “This Act is good; it predicts the future of the country and will give security to a President to feel free to give power.”

    Well, well! Since when did Senator Wesseh realize that laws can be changed or adjusted to suit the realities of the period?

    How many times have Liberians in the Diaspora plead their case for our lawmakers to see fit to pass a reasonable dual citizenship law for Liberians naturalized in Diaspora because circumstances in Liberia have changed and demand our naturalization laws be adjusted to suit present-day realities?

    Also, where was Senator Wesseh went many Liberians find it hypocritical under our present Constitution Article 27(b) we, as a People, maintain: “In order to preserve, foster and maintain the positive Liberian culture, values, and character, only persons who are Negroes or of Negro descent shall qualify by birth or naturalization to be citizens of Liberia.”

    Does this racist portion of our Constitution meet or passed the test of present-day realities? Laws are not written in storms so that circumstances or present-day realities do not dictate adjustments. Many Liberians have benefitted from countries that have reformed their naturalization and citizenship laws to meet present-day realities.

    It is ironic to see Liberia blatantly discriminate in its Constitution on the basis of race or color, at the same time Liberia is a signatory to many international conventions on human rights that bars similar discrimination on the basis of race or color.

    There is nothing wrong with passing Acts or Laws guaranteeing benefits after Presidents and Vice Presidents leave office if done in good faith. However, why did President Sirleaf, who many Liberians viewed with eyes of suspicion, wait until her final hours of her administration to bring up this convoluted Transition Act?

    Do you blame the people for rejecting it during this heated election period? I don’t think so! It is all about the timing Senator Wesseh!!!!

  6. Correction 4 paragraph: Also, where was Senator Wesseh when many Liberians find it hypocritical under our present Constitution Article 27(b)………

  7. You cannot call yourself a white man and become a Liberian. If you have children by a black, your children can become or are automatically Liberians if born in Liberia by maternal origin (mother is Liberian black connected). If every white born in Liberia was made citizen, do you not see millions coming back to claim slave trade? The very reason why this nation was established would vanish. You can be buried in any nation regardless who you are or what color you have, because death be not proud. If you talk about getting rate of permits fees or reduction taxes for privileged born, it may make some sense depending on its white intent. Dual citizenship did not work in this nation. The reasons are self explicit. The purpose of this establishment by our founders was to have a place for people of negro descent. This is the only place God has given us, no matter how we go or where we end up. With all the upheavals since its foundation, you see we still have Liberia. Being a white Lebanese, European, Asian or American… for example, born in Liberia and doing business here is a privilege of itself some cannot have. Unless you want to repeat the bitter past of slaving and apartheid in Africa or take over our God given rights, we will not permit you in, to be white like you. This is our black heritage given by the most high. No more slave trade and no more war in this Land of Liberty. We were never colonialized. We are institutionalized and constitutionalized. This is why our behavior have never permitting wipe Liberia off the map. Vote Legislators out who mean interest is personal gains to reinstate bitter laws that separate us. Let the Liberian People know.
    Gone in Silence.

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