Brewerville, Montserrado County – The Bishop of the Apostolic Pentecostal Church is proposing radical reforms in the political system of the country to ensure continuing peace, harmony and development in the country.
“As a small country”, Rev. Dr. Kortu K. Brown says, “Liberia doesn’t have to hold direct elections for Senators because the country needs to find a way to protect its peace, stability and democracy.
Elections is just one factor in the process but finding the right people to move the country forward and keep the country safe, stable, should be the pre-occupation of all Liberians. There has to be safe-guards in democracy”, he warned Liberians.
Bishop Brown was speaking at the Divine worship service at New Water in the Desert Assembly in Brewerville on the Theme: “The Authority Test” with Scripture Text from Romans 13:1-7 on Sunday, April 17, 2016 celebrating the conclusion of the 11th general annual conference of the Apostolic Pentecostal Church.
A special statement was read from Rev. Michael Fabe of the Mike Fabe Ministries based in Texas, USA expressing appreciation for the conduct of the conference, regrets for his absence and hope that the decisions of the conference will be implemented.
Safe-Guards in Britain, United States, etc
The pastor argued that Great Britain doesn’t directly elect members of the Upper House, The House of Lords who are sometimes known as “Senators” in Canada.
In arguing his case for Canada to continue to maintain this approach and drawn some lessons from Britain, Tom Flanagan, a professor of political science at the University of Calgary, said, “Britain has an independent House of Lords Appointment Commission, which names non-partisan members to the House of Lords.
This helps to reduce the partisan warfare in and around the upper house, which is so much in evidence in Canada at the moment. We can’t copy the British appointment system exactly because their House of Lords differs in key respects from our Senate.
It doesn’t have a definite size, it still has some hereditary members and it doesn’t have the function of regional representation, as the Canadian Senate does. But we could draw inspiration from their system and apply it to Canadian realities”
Similarly, the tough-talking cleric said, “Liberia can also draw lessons from advanced the democracies and economies like Great Britain, Canada, etc. where the protection of their institutions and countries is paramount to the politics of pettiness and self-destruction”, adding, “even the great United States of America doesn’t elect President on popular vote.
A candidate has to win the majority of the Electoral College vote to be declared President. The Electoral College is what we called in Liberia our Constituency. That’s how George Bush defeated Al Gore in 2000. Al Gore had about half a million popular or one-man-one-vote above George Bush but Bush won the electoral-college vote”
[The Electoral College in America is made up of 538 electors who cast votes to decide the President and Vice-President of the United States. When voters go to the polls every four years, they also choose which candidate receives their state’s electors.
The candidate who receives a majority of electoral votes (270) wins the Presidency. The number 538 is the sum of the nation’s 435 Representatives, 100 Senators, and 3 electors given to the District of Columbia]
Other countries like Germany, Israel, Japan, Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands even Great Britain and Canada, amongst others, do not directly elect their heads of states through popular vote. “Queen Elizabeth has been Head of State of England since 1952, about 64 years now and the country still progresses”, he added.
Bishop Brown argued that any constitutional amendment should help ensure that Liberia continues to live in peace and harmony. He said that Liberians must find ways to reduce tension in the country through the holding of unnecessary elections which sometimes don’t produce the desired results and waste the country time in focus and development.
“We need people of character, nationalism and commitment to transforming the plight of the ordinary people to man our institutions of government so that the country moves forward”.
He suggested that reducing tenure of elected leaders be reviewed in light of the frequencies of elections and their impact on the treasury and the stability of the country.
The immediate past vice president of the Liberia Council of Churches then suggested that Liberians consider a system of choosing their senators that will bring committed and experienced Liberians into governance to help move the country forward, mostly non-partisan Liberians who have their country at heart through their work in, and for, the country.
He suggested that a caucus or electoral-college-like system to include civil society, communities, religious leaders, elected representatives, etc. could be the driver for future selection of senators who will ably represent the State.
Indiscipline in society
Bishop Brown decried the level of indiscipline occurring in every facet of life in the country whether at the family, church, community or national level. “It is a sad day for the country”, he exclaimed, “to see the country degenerate to the current level of indiscipline we see even in government.
No respect for national or elected leaders and even elected leaders or government officials, don’t respect one another. Some give money to others to insult others in society”, adding, “God expects that children will obey their parents, students their teachers, employees their masters, followers their religious leaders and citizens their governing authorities” in accordance with Romans 13:1-7.
He called on all Liberians to join the bandwagon to help restore discipline or moral values in the Liberian society which is fast in decline. “No more respect for the elderly”, he concluded.