Liberia’s Constitution Review Committee or CRC is commencing a validation conference today, March 30, 2015 in the provisional town of Gbarnga, Bong County on views collected from Liberians across the country for amendments in the Constitution.
The CRC has invited stakeholders and partners, including more than 700 delegates for this important conference.
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is expected to deliver the keynote address today at the formal opening ceremony.
Liberians are at a very critical stage in making sweeping changes in the country’s Constitution, which are expected to affect tenure of service for the Presidency, senate and the House of Representatives as well as local chiefs.
The CRC said Liberians want tenure of elected officials to be reduced and that local government officials, including county superintendents, mayors, commissioners, clan and chiefs should be elected rather than appointed by the President.
According to preliminary summary of views expressed by citizens during consultations and sectorial meetings held in 73 Liberian electoral districts as well as with Diaspora Liberians from 2013/14, Liberians want the tenure of the Presidency to be reduced from six to four years; tenure of senior senators should reduce from nine to six years, while tenure for junior senators be reduced from six to fours and tenure of representatives reduced from six years to four years, respectively.
Speaking in a news conference held over the weekend, CRC Chairperson, Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott, said the Committee with support from Government and development partners gathered that Liberians are opposed to dual citizenship and same sex marriage.
“During our one year collection of statements from Liberians, they rejected the issues of same sex marriage, dual citizenship, and selling on Sundays. They told the Committee that selling Sundays should be totally banned,” said Cllr. Scott, who served as Chief Justice in the Taylor administration.
She told the news conference that a huge portion of Liberians under the banner, Christians for the reclaiming of Liberia for Jesus, have presented over one Million signatures of Liberians, calling for the declaration of a Christian State.
The CRC Chairperson said views or suggestions expressed by Liberians will be presented to the nation today in Gbarnga, Bong County to be debated by stakeholders, development partners, civil society organizations, youths and women groups and subsequently compiled into bill for onward submission to the Liberian Legislature after which a national referendum will be conducted to make those changes.
Madam Scott said the CRC is expecting over 700 delegates from across the country to discuss the way forward in making changes in the organic laws of the Republic.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor