What About Long Overdue Constitutional Reform Agenda Presidential Aspirants?

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Dear Editor,

Permit me to share this note of concern and reminder to most, if not all, of the Presidential Aspirants who have chosen, either deliberately or perhaps inadvertently, to ignore the Liberian People’s desire to adjust the political structure of the Executive and Legislative Branches of Government and resolve some key issues facing our Nation through the long overdue Constitutional Reform process.

Most Aspirants have so far continuously fell short throughout this election campaign period of committing to the People of Liberia their assurances of undeniable support to the proposed National Referendum that should result from the Constitutional Reform Prepositions (Nine in all and I stand to be corrected) being reviewed by the National Legislature. Why is this not paramount on the agenda of every aspirant, especially a presidential aspirant?

Do they not realize the important questions, issues, concerns and desires of the People of Liberia that constitute these Constitutional Reform Prepositions that should eventually lead to the National Referendum whereby all will be answered and lay to rest?

Do they not care that these Reform Prepositions are still lingering in the National Legislature while more recent Bills are expeditiously being passed into Law?

Have they not heard of the most popular and overwhelmingly accepted Reform Prepositions voiced by the People of Liberia through the Constitutional Reform Committee (CRC) and named below? 

  • Proposed reduction in Presidential Tenure from 6 to 4
  • Proposed reduction in Legislators Tenures from nine (9) to six (6) years for a Senator and from 6 to 4 years for a Representative;
  • Whether or not Dual Citizenship should be allowed under the Constitution; and
  • Proposed change to General Elections Day from second Tuesday in October to the Month of March (due to the rainy season and the resulting extreme difficulties plying streets and highways in most parts of the Country and so on and so forth)

I know, I know, I know…some are now shouting the loudest “But It’s in our Party’s Manifesto or Platform!”

Where are those Manifestos or Platforms, may I ask? Have they been published and promoted vigorously?

What percentage of the People do you think can actually read and comprehend those lengthy documents? So granted, a few parties may have it in their Manifestos or Platforms.

But, the real question is how many of these Aspirants, especially Presidential Aspirants, have been “openly vocal” during pre-campaign and this campaign period about seeing these Constitutional Reform Prepositions through to a National Referendum?

How many? Your guess is as good as mine, Mr. Editor.

Lest we forget the amount of time spent, information gathering and compiling, human and financial resources expense throughout the 15 Counties of this Republic for the Constitutional Reform Committee (CRC) to have accomplished such worthy task, thus far.

We, the Registered Voters, Civil Society Organizations and the Press are obligated to holding those Aspirants accountable on this issue throughout this campaign period. After all, it was our hard earned tax dollars used to finance the Constitutional Reform exercise.

Or perhaps we want to cool off, sit back and fool ourselves into believing that these Aspirants will easily commit to the process when elected, right? Wrong!

What should most interest you, Presidential Aspirants, is recognizing the real fear of the Liberian People.

That is electing another President, Senator and Representative to govern at the expense of the Liberian Taxpayers for another 12 years, 9 years and 6 years, respectively, regardless of which one of the adjectives mentioned below in paragraph 7 fits him or her. 

Yes, I stated 12 years instead of 6 years for President because listening to most Presidential Aspirants, all we hear and that which is being insinuated is that We, The People, come October 2017 are going to elect another President for a 12-year period, as if it is that automatic.

Secondly, Presidential Aspirants, do you not prefer that we deal with this plenty talk of Dual Citizenship that tends to divide rather than unite us as a people through these Constitutional Reform processes? Aaaaa mehn! Let’s just do the right thing!!

The Constitutional Reform Prepositions mentioned above and others, when passed upon by the People, may become key policies drivers to enhancing Liberia’s political, economic and unification state of affairs. Therefore, this whole Constitutional Reform Process is a very important campaign agenda item for these October Elections and even Post-elections period.

We, the People, would like to see these Reform Prepositions concluded by the National Legislature and Executive before the October 2017 Elections; since, in fact the National Legislature has extended its working sessions to conclude some urgent matters of national importance.

May I admonish, beg and plea with you, Presidential Aspirants, to lower the unnecessary rhetoric of induced or manufactured fears of disunity that tend to overwhelm our present political discussions and narratives, examples: Conguor vs. Indigenous, Illiterate vs. Literate, Old vs. Young, Experience vs. Inexperience, Tribalistic vs. Nationalistic, Corrupt vs. Honest, Rich vs. Poor, Warlord vs. Peace-loving and even Ugly vs. Handsome/beautiful, etc. etc.

Let us try at best to “change” (change being the most operable word during this campaign period) the narratives to more positive and unifying ones like Liberia and Liberians First. Because whether we like it or not, when the People shall have voted and results are announced, at least one of those adjectives above will fit the next President-Elect.

Haven’t we all heard of the potent expression “What you put in, is what you get out”? Why should we now then expect an “angel” descended from above to solve all of our problems?? Positive changes should be driven by the Leadership of the People for the benefit of all the People!! And it starts with each and every one of us in our respective leadership corners, especially you who now aspire to become our President-elect!

Let me close by respectfully urging all Aspirants, especially Presidential Aspirants, to commit openly to the Constitutional Reform Process and promote it vigorously with sincerity as a show of recognizing and heeding to the voice of the same Liberian People whose votes you are clamoring for by all means necessary. 

And yes – We, the People, and all of the local and international Partners/Sponsors of this Constitutional Reform process are looking forward to the real change in our Constitution that will affect all Liberians!  

 

Chris McBorrough, Chugbor Community, Old Road
[email protected] 

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