The Chairman of the Council of Chiefs and Elders, Chief Zanzan Kawor is calling on government to be fully engaged in protecting the Constitution of Liberia and making it work effectively for all rather than only protecting officials.
Chief Kawor, in his remarks at the recent launch of the Constitution Review Committee (CRC) Civic Education campaign, said the constitution has been used over the years to protect key government officials while they (officials) relied on local chiefs and the common people to protect and enforce it.
He described the Constitution review process as a venture in a “good” direction because this time around it involves the collective efforts of all Liberians and not just a selected few as was the case of the 1986 Constitution.
He said because the 1986 Constitution was crafted by a small group of people without the involvement of all Liberians, it has been seen as the “people’s thing” and not everyone’s Constitution.
According to him, elders and chiefs in local communities have been using their authority to enforce the Constitution and other customary laws in the country without much help from central government.
Chief Kawor noted that because government has not been fully engaged in protecting the law, many Liberians have not been abiding by it, thus, taking it into their own hands.
House Speaker Alex Tyler, who served as the chief launcher of the CRC Civic Education campaign, told the gathering that the review process would now bring all Liberians on board. Therefore as many citizens as possible should participate in the process so they can have a say in making the Liberian law organic.
Speaker Tyler urged the CRC to take into account all Liberians without discrimination, observing gender sensitivity and taking into account ethnic minorities and the disabled.
Madam Elizabeth Mulbah of the Governance Commission acknowledged that the majority of people in Liberian society do not know the Constitution and therefore CRC must be diligent and patient by informing everyone in the simplest terms possible.
She also called on Liberians to fully participate in the process and bring suggestions that would reflect the customs, values and culture of the nation in the new Constitution.
Press Union of Liberia (PUL) President, Kamara A. Kamara, pledged his organization’s support to the process and said those at the institution level would fully participate in the review process; noting, “Any law that is made today will affect us either positively or negatively.”
He said as an institution with responsibility to inform the public, this process lies within the PUL’s range; therefore, they must play a key role to form laws that would protect the media.
The occasion was attended by former government officials including Dr. Kettehkumeh Murray, Harry Greaves, and a host of students from various schools.