Liberia: Liberia Council of Churches Describes Recent Failed Referendum as Waste of Taxpayers, Donors Monies

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MONROVIA – The Liberia Council of Churches (LCC), through its President, Bishop Kortu K. Brown, has termed as a waste of taxpayers’ and donors’ monies the outcome of the recent national referendum conducted in Liberia by the National Elections Commission (NEC).

Founded in 1982, the LCC is an embodiment of churches and religious institutions in Liberia.

It can be recalled that eligible Liberian voters went to the polls on December 8, 2020 to cast their votes for the candidates in the senatorial election across the country, two separate by-elections in Sinoe and Montserrado Counties, and for eight (8) propositions proffered for the national referendum.

Paramount amount the propositions proffered for the referendum by the National Elections Commission (NEC) were: reductions of the term of the President from six to five years; Senator from nine to seven years, Representative from six to five years, and dual citizenship.

Others were: Shorten time for NEC to hear complaints, reduction in the term of Speaker and Deputy Speaker, reduction of the term of office of President Pro-Tempore, change in the date of elections.

The propositions sought to affect Articles 45, 46, 47, 48 and 50 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with FrontPage Africa recently, Bishop Brown pointed out that the lack the National Elections Commission “miserably and woefully failed” due to its inability to listen and put in place “preparatory processes” that could lead to the conduct of a successful referendum.

He added that the entire process was also a waste of the precious time of both international and local observers as well as citizens who stood under the rain and sun in long queues to cast their ballots during the conduct of the national referendum.

“We were advising the government about two months ago to suspend the holding of the referendum because; citizens were not ready for the referendum. The Council did all it could to encourage the government to suspend the holding of the referendum until we have done our ground work; but the government didn’t listen”.

“It was a waste of tax payers, donors’ monies and the waste of everything. The referendum results are unthinkable and laughable that we can have for the first time in our country’s history-invalid votes more than the valid votes. You ever saw that before in Liberia? This is happening during George Weah’s time. They should learn from this miserable mistake”.

Shameful

Bishop Brown pointed out that it is “shameful” and demeaning for an electoral process to be conducted in Liberia where the invalid votes are more than the total number of valid votes cast.

He made specific reference to Bong County where over 403, 000 invalid votes were announced by the National Elections Commission (NEC), following the conduct of the referendum.

“This speaks to the way we take our national issues in this country. We take it as ordinary shopping things. Too many shadow talks of the processes. It is regrettable; if the government or the NEC had listened to the Council of Churches. What this speaks to is that, the people were not prepared for the national referendum.”

According to him, the flop in the conduct of the national referendum signifies that not much seriousness is being attached to critical issues by those responsible in Liberia, adding that, “things are most often taken for granted in Liberia”.

Take responsibility

Bishop Brown further called on the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led government of President George Manneh Weah to take full responsibility of the poor outcome of the national referendum.

He, however, challenged authorities of the NEC to muster the courage to officially announce the total number of invalid and valid votes accumulated from the national referendum.

Stop digging pit

Meanwhile, the LCC President has called on Liberians to reflect on the building of their country, and desist from seeking the downfall of one another.

“I want to appeal to all Liberians to have pure hearts and willing minds. Let’s come together and reflect on how we can move our country forward and stop digging pits for one another because, the pit you dig for your friend you will fall in it. I don’t care where you are; in the government, media or church”.

Bishop Brown, however, called on government officials to give listening ears to suggestions and recommendations being proffered by stakeholders and citizens who want their country to move forward.

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