Liberians generally have expressed enough dissatisfaction about the holding of constitutional referendum next Tuesday, December 8, 2020 along with special senatorial election and two by-elections for the House of Representatives simultaneously. They argue that adequate time was never provided by the government, particularly for public education on the referendum.
Besides, they argue that clustering some of propositions such as tenures for the presidency and the House of Representatives on one hand, while ignoring tenures for the Speaker and Senate President Pro-Tempore respectively, send a signal of bias hence, calls for it to be postponed.
As voters, they are right, because they are the ones going to decide on Tuesday, and issues contained in the referendum critically border on governance of our country and how we should interact as citizens both at home abroad after the poll.
But the Supreme Court of Liberia, after hearing these concerns, instructed the National Elections Commission to clearly distinguish each proposition by printing ballots for each, including tenures for Speaker and Senate President Pro-Tempore which the Commission has done, accordingly in order to conduct the referendum as planned.
It is but prudent that the High Court’s opinion be respected by all relevant stakeholders, including the NEC.
We believe with the proper separation of the various propositions and subsequent inclusion of tenures for the Speaker and the Senate President Pro-Tempore positions, the referendum should be held as scheduled.
It goes without saying that truly, there were missteps earlier, along the way. However, in its real intent, the referendum does make sense and should be voted upon.
This does not in any impose on any voter to cast his or her ballot against his or her will. The exercise remains as democratic as is necessary, as long as it involves one man, one vote.
At the same time every Liberian should hold himself or herself for his or her actions and inactions at the poll come Tuesday. The choice is before us.
We think that honestly, it is too late to sit on the fence and watch. It is time for voters across the country to go out on December 8 and vote their conscience without regretting later.