Opposition Liberty Party (LP) former Standard Bearer Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine has painted a gloomy picture of the country saying Liberia is moving too fast in the wrong path.
“But our country is moving too fast down the wrong path! Fortunately, it is not too late; we can arrest the situation and change the course of our country. But that would require the selfless commitment of all of us,” Cllr. Brumskine said Monday, 21 January.
Speaking on Prime FM afternoon show Monday, the 2017 defeated presidential candidate says the shortcomings and missteps over the last 12 months by the current government have engulfed every aspect of the nation’s life.
He says this is happening while the constitutional check and balance, which characterize a democratic government are in an obvious state of disarray.
Cllr. Brumskine, a third – time defeated presidential candidate argues that the allegations of corruption, misuse of public funds, and outright stealing are just small parts of the problems that afflict the nation today.
He says further that the culture of impunity accentuates it all, adding that the executive, headed by the president, is just one of the three branches of government.
He enjoins the legislature and the judiciary to also be active players in the exercise of their respective constitutional mandates if the nation will ever stop the practices of the past and move into the 21st Century.
The former LP political leader intimates that All Liberian People Party (ALP) political leader Mr. Benoni Urey has taken the initiative of speaking with former presidential candidates to ensure that they (opposition leaders) come together and collaborate.
He commends Mr. Urey for this step, saying “I confirmed to Ben, and I say to all Liberians, that I am in full support of working together with others in the interest of our country.”
Cllr. Brumskine, a Charles Taylor era Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate further states that to ensure that the collaboration is meaningful, opposition politicians must work on a plan, with defined goals and objectives for moving the country forward.
“Our collaboration must not be about jobs for ourselves, whether now or in the future; certainly, we must collaborate because we desire to change the status quo,” he suggests.
“If not, we would be like others, who have criticized simply because they wanted to share in the spoils of government, but without an idea of what governance is all about,” Cllr. Brumskine notes.
Commenting on electoral reform, Brumskine points out that a comprehensive electoral reform is probably one of the first and most important issue that should be tackled by opposition politicians for a better result in future elections.
“How can we engage President Weah, how can we convince members of the Legislature, how can we mobilize our supporters and the electorate at large to understand that the foundation of our democracy rests upon free, fair, and credible elections?” he asks.
“We must understand that unless there is a comprehensive electoral reform in Liberia, all of our ambitions, public utterances, or condemnation would be exercises in futility,” Brumskine warns.
He states that if the opposition would like to have the will of the voters reflected in election results, they must insist on electoral reform before the 2023 Presidential and General Elections.
The senior corporate lawmaker names three things that should be done with the electoral reform including.He wants political parties to recommend individuals who would serve as commissioners at the National Elections Commission (NEC); that Commissioners should choose a chairman from among themselves; and that electoral complaints against the NEC be filed before a court that would be authorized by law to hear and determine such complaints, and not before the NEC.
He argues that this does not have to entail extra-budgetary expenditure to create a new court. Brumskine explains that the jurisdiction of an already existing court may be expanded to include “the adjudication of such electoral matters.”The LP former political leader is recommending further that during a confidence building period between the NEC and opposition politicians, voter registration papers, machines, ballot papers and boxes and other sensitive electoral materials should be kept in a sealed place with several locks.
According to Brumskine, the keys to the place where these electoral materials will be stored should be assigned to the NEC and an agreed number of representatives of political parties, including the ruling party, respectively.He concludes that it will ensure that NEC staff and government officials would not have access to those materials in the absence of representatives of political parties.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Edited by Winston W. Parley