Liberia: MPC Supports the Holding of Referendum

Monrovia-Last week, a letter purportedly written by Simeon Freeman, political leader of the Movement for Progressive Change surfaced with Freeman, reportedly stating his desire to quit politics and focus on his business operations.

MONROVIA – As Liberians go to the polls on Tuesday to vote in a midterm senate election as well as the, one of Liberia’s opposition political parties, Movement for Progressive Change (MPC) of businessman Simeon Freeman has pledged support for the holding of the referendum.

The MPC through its national Chairman O’Neal Passewe said the holding of the referendum and its eight prepositions does not in any way mean the entire Constitution will be completely changed.

Passaway differed with those in the opposition calling for the cancellation or boycotting of the referendum and called on them to desist. He said, holding of the referendum will save the country economically.

“We at the level of the MPC, we are of the conviction that deferring of the referendum to another date would cause another financial burden for our already ailing economy,” he said.

Recently some opposition parties called for a boycott of the process, saying they are not participating in a referendum because it has not met the criteria spelled out in the Constitution.

Some of the propositions in the referendum are: seeking to reduce the current six-year presidential and representatives’ tenures to five years and reduce the tenure of senators from nine to seven years.

The MPC Chairman at a news conference over the weekend said the clauses of the referendum calling for the reduction of elected officials are a breakthrough for Liberia.

He, however, pledged his party’s support for the dual citizenship clause in the referendum. “A proposition in the referendum suggesting dual citizenship for Liberians in the diaspora, whose parents were Liberians at the time of their birth but gained citizenship in another country, could immensely improve the Liberian economy and provide an opportunity for their full participation in the development of Liberia. We must move forward,” he said.

Mr. Paasewe said public awareness on the issue of the referendum was inadequate, but it was the people themselves during the regime of former President Sirleaf the decision was made by the people.

He also frowned on opposition members calling for the resignation of commissioners of the National Elections Commission as untimely and not necessary.

Recently opposition political parties, including the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), the Rainbow Alliance, University of Liberia campus-based Student Unification Party, other opposition parties and civil society organizations, requested for a postponement of the Referendum and the resignation of Commissioners at National Election Commission (NEC).

In a joint statement issued Wednesday, December 2nd, at the headquarters of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) and read by its standard bearer and chairman of the CPP, Mr. Alexander Benedict Cummings, they called for the resignation of the current Board of Commissioners of the National Elections Commission (NEC) “given their partisan nature, inexperience and ineptitude.”

But according to Chairman Paasewe, the call for the resignation of the board of commissioners at the National Elections Commission (NEC) at the 11th hour of the midterm Senatorial and bi-election is unthinkable.

He said such recommendation is untimely and may necessitate serious political stalemate. Mr. Paasewe said the call for the Chief Justice and all associate Justices of the Supreme Court to resign at this crucial time in the history of our country is “laughable.”

According to him, the MPC believes that opposition parties are government in waiting and as such, should not demonstrate the aims of being enemies of the state but rather constructive engagers of policies and programs promulgated or enacted by government.

Speaking about the death of Liberia Revenue Authority employees, Passawe said his party, MPC, is calling on the government of Liberia to invite independent pathologists in collaboration with the families of the deceased to conduct a second Autopsy so as to allay the fear and suspicions that surround the death of the four Liberians.

He indicated that the independent pathologists’ autopsy will erase the anti-trust syndrome to enable government to regain its confidence from the public.