Above All Else, the Constitution, Mr. President!

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1022

Since its inauguration the Weah administration has enjoyed a popular sport and was granted a long honeymoon by the political opposition, civil society and the nation in general. This is a normal situation for any incoming new government. However, as time passes, it comes the time for political leaders to make their voices heard on some critical issues. There are at least three issues that need critical attention because failure to do so will allow the administration to continue with a breach of the Constitution.

1. The Asset Declaration:

The Asset Declaration is a policy that was created by the previous administration and legislated unto law. It is incumbent on all members of the Executive to declare their assets. So far, neither President Weah nor any of his Cabinet Members seems prepared to declare their assets. This is a Constitutional issue.

2. Montserrado and Bong senatorial elections are pending:

The Administration says it does not have the money; but nowhere does the Constitution suggest that holding by-elections should be subject to the whims of the administration. What would have happened if President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had postponed presidential elections because of “no money?” This is not a matter of choice and not a decision to be made by the Executive. It is the law. The National Elections Commission (NEC) must carry out its mandate.

3. The US$536 million for one highway project pending ratification:

How can the administration go into such a debt almost equivalent to the entire national budget virtually without consulting anyone? The opacity around this loan is worrisome. Besides the loan agreement being vague, what sovereign guarantee is being put up as demanded by the lenders of this money?

Additionally, what is the guarantee of performance (Performance Bond) that the selected construction companies are putting up since, according to the terms of the agreement, within 90 days the entire amount is to be disbursed to this company even before it can build a single mile of road? It is now time that people who wanted to be given the mantle of power stand up and defend the Constitution.

If they sit supinely on the sidelines and allow the Weah administration to violate the Constitution on so many levels, how could they expect Liberians to entrust them with leadership? Whether they collaborated with the CDC in any way, shape or form, political leaders must have the courage to speak the truth and to stand up for constitutional governance.

If, however, this administration continues to break the law and end up plunging the nation into political and further financial crisis, the Liberian people will hold every politician, every civil society organization (CSO) and every political party responsible. The popularity of President Weah must not be allowed to supersede the Constitution.

More than 250,000 people died to bring us thus far and we must not go back to those dark days when a few thought they were bigger than the rest of the nation. It is time for the Tipotehs, the Sawyers, the Boakais, the Brumskines, Cummings, Ureys, and other opposition entities as well as the National Bar Association and civil society to add their voices to muster the courage to speak out now, before it is too late.

Let none of us wait until a serious crisis occurs before we rise to the call of patriotic duty. Is it because opposition parties do not think they have a chance to win either of these ensuing elections that they are sitting and doing nothing? Whenever we allow people to play with our Constitution, we paid a dear, a very steep and costly price.

Haven’t we learnt this from the deadly civil war this nation painfully and tragically underwent? The best support we can give President Weah is to let him know that the Constitution is above everyone else, no matter how much popular support he enjoys. Let us never forget what the first Article of the Constitution says:

“All power is inherent in the people.”

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