Bong County – NAYMOTE, Partners for Democratic Development has completed eight propositions in a series of town hall meetings brining lawmakers face-to-face with citizens in Bong and Nimba Counties, to discuss the Joint Legislative Committee’s Report on the Constitution Review Committee’s recommendations.
These meetings discussed the eight propositions recommended by the joint legislative committee which included; reduction in the tenures of elected officials, granting citizenship to people of non-negro descent, dual citizenship in Liberia, and enhancement of women participation in national affairs, traditional Liberians own their land and be parties to negotiations with investors.
Others include; change in election date from October to March of election year, elections of local leaders and the reduction of political parties in Liberia to four.
The town hall meetings were geared towards deepening citizens’ understanding and engagement in the Constitution Reform Process in Liberia.
Participants expressed appreciation for meeting face-to-face with their lawmakers to discuss critical national policy issues and thanked NAYMOTE and her partners for such a great initiative.
According to the release Citizens said they needed more clarity on the dual citizenship and opening citizenship to people of non-negro descent. Participants across the eight districts were concerned if these two propositions will allow someone with dual citizenship and white person to have the rights to purchase and own land, run for President, Senator and representatives in Liberia?
“While there was overwhelming support to local government election, some participants was concerned that the election of local leaders could be done based on tribal affiliation rather than on the basis of experience and competence,” Release added.
The statement furthered that other locals were concerned that electing a superintendent and a Senator, who will report to who and who will be the real elected representative of the people and same with electing district commissioner and a electoral district representative.
However, the institution mentioned that the local government act will handle more of the fears expressed by the participants including clear reporting system.
A youth leader Thony Quoi of Nimba County district eight said, the meeting is Unlike the past when major decisions concerning the country were made in Monrovia.
“We are now experiencing something different. To come here today and talk about our country’s constitution, I think we are all forming part of history making. Let me thank NAYMOTE for organizing this forum to enable us hear from our representative on this important law issue.”
He believes that the eight propositions recommended by the Joint Legislative Committee is important to the political and economic development of Liberia.
Speaking at these events, the NAYMOTE’s Executive Director, Eddie Jarwolo, urged participants especially young people to take their participation in the constitution reform process serious and make recommendations that will ensure their voices and views are included in the reform program, he said it was great to see lawmakers actively involve with the institution program and hope other national policy formulation could go through similar process, where citizens could make their voices heard.
He thanked the UNDP and USAID for the support and said the second phase of the town hall meetings for the southeastern part of Liberia will start in December 2016.