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Editorial: Aug. 23 Decision is Ours

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On tomorrow, Tuesday, August 23, 2011, registered Liberian voters will cue at various designated centers throughout the country for a National Referendum under the supervision of the National Elections Commission as provided for by Article 91 of the Liberian Constitution. Tomorrow’s national exercise  takes place following the decision by the Liberian Legislature in August of last year, to change Articles 52c, 72c, 83a and 83b of our Constitution as requested by the National  Elections Commission ( and Governance Commission).

The National Referendum is in consonance with Chapter XII, Article 1 of the Liberian Constitution (This Constitution may be amended whenever a proposal by either (1) two-thirds of the membership of both Houses of the Legislature or (2) a petition submitted to the Legislature, by not fewer than 10,000 citizens which receives the concurrence of two-thirds of the membership of both Houses of the Legislature, is ratified by two-thirds of the registered voters, voting in a referendum conducted by the Elections Commission not sooner than one year after the action of the Legislature.).

In keeping with Chapter I, Article 1 of the Constitution of Liberia, we, the people of Liberia will on tomorrow decide whether or not to accept the four proposals (to change the residency clause from 10 to 5 years, increase the number of years from 70 to 75 years members of the Supreme Courts and Judges of the Lower Courts should serve, as well as change of elections date from October to November and a change from absolute majority to simple majority electoral process for legislators) placed before us by the Legislature.

And in so doing, our decision must be void of all forms of sentiments and partisanship. Though the National Referendum may experience voter apathy and too many invalid votes (owing to the confused nature of the ballot paper) due to the inability of thousands of voters to be present at centers to which they were initially conveyed for registration by politicians, as well as the very limited awareness created by the National Elections Commission throughout Liberia, most especially in rural Liberia, we are certainly hopeful that the entire exercise on tomorrow will be encouraging.

Amid all of the odds characterizing the process leading to the August 23, 2011 exercise, it is our responsibility as a people to decide whether or not the four issues placed before us are actually impact-making as far as our interest is concerned.

We are of the fervent belief that it is better in our own interest to turn up tomorrow in our numbers to vote either YES or NO to each of the proposals, than to abstain or boycott as requested by our fellow compatriot, Cllr. Winston A. Tubman, a former member of the Constitution Commission, a former Justice Minister, a diplomat and now a potential Presidential Candidate for the 2011 General and Presidential later this year.

While Cllr. Tubman may have justification(s) for his call on partisans of his opposition mighty Congress for Democratic Change or CDC to boycott tomorrow’s National Referendum, we do sincerely believe that well-meaning “CDCians” will give priority to LIBERIA and not the personal WILL of the Counselor. The challenge is now theirs-and CDCians must prove Cllr. Tubman wrong by exercising the inherent power to vote either YES or NO come tomorrow.

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