Lawmakers Support Reduction of President, Legislator Tenure
Monrovia – On Thursday November 17, 2016, members of the House of Representatives voted in favor of proposition one which calls for the reduction of tenure for the president, vice president and members of the legislature.
Report by Henry Karmo – [email protected]
Proposition one of the Constitution Review committee report calls for reducing the tenure of the President, Vice President, and members of the representatives from six to four year while Senator tenure is reduce from nine to six.
Members of the House of Representatives debated the Constitution Review Committee report on the reduction of tenure of elected officials and other propositions including citizenship.
There were divided views on the floor of the chambers on whether lawmakers and the president’s tenure be reduce from six to four and Senators from nine to six.
The discussion was a result of a report from the House of Representatives Committee on elections and inauguration.
The committee recommended that members of the House of Representatives give full consideration to the constitution committee report calling for four years.
Representatives Ben Fofana (UP-District #4 Margibi County), Mariamu Fofanan (UP-District #4 Lofa County), Bhofal Chambers (CDC-District #2 Maryland County) and Charles Bardly (IND-District #3 River-Gee County) were on the other side of the debate against majority of lawmakers who were in full support of the recommendation calling for the reduction in tenure.
Lawmakers who are against reducing the tenure are stating financial implications. They believe that it could be “too much of a financial burden” on the country to have elections every four years.
“This is Liberia; let us not dwell too much on public sentiment. Four years is not the best thing for us now in this country,” Rep. Mariamu Fofana argued.
Contrary to Fofanan, Representative Henry Fahnbulleh, a member of the committee (UP- District #4 Montserrado County) said regular election validates democracy.
“We must take this preposition to the people and let them decide – if you like please go and campaign against it,” he counter-argued.
“It is an expression of fear from some of our colleagues who are on the other side of the debate. Our mandate here is to give abrogation so that the people can decide in a referendum this is why we are their direct representatives.”
The House of Representatives also agreed to grant Negro and non-negro descendent citizenship.
This decision is subject to a resolution of two third members of the House of Representatives before it can be taken to referendum.
Meanwhile, the House also rejected proposal to change the election date from October to March and voted that the proposition on reducing political parties to be treated as statute be setup by threshold.
The CRC convened the National Constitution Conference from March 29, 2015 to April 2, 2015. The consultative phase of the review process produced spoken and written views from Liberians in the 73 electoral district of Liberia.
CRC also received position statements from Liberian women, civil society organizations, political parties, chiefs and traditional leaders, persons with disabilities, the Independent National Commission on Human Rights, youth, Liberians in the Diaspora during thematic meetings.
The analysis of these views will be validated and proposals derived from these views were discussed and the consensus proposals were subsequently presented to the Legislature for consideration.