Catholic Bishops Slam Pres. Weah’s Proposition of Stripping off By-elections

Father Dennis Cephas Nimene, Secretary of the Catholic Bishop Conference of Liberia (CABICOL)

Monrovia – Father Dennis Cephas Nimene, Secretary of the Catholic Bishop Conference of Liberia (CABICOL), has criticized President George Weah’s proposal to the Legislature which calls for political parties to appoint a successor when there is a vacancy at the Legislature.

At a presidential and legislative retreat recently, President Weah presented to the lawmakers’ proposals to amend Articles 28, 45, 46, 48, 49, 50, and 56 of the Constitution.

But Cephas said Liberians should be consulted in a national referendum on the effect of the proposal.

“We, however, reject categorically proposition 2: To amend Article 45 to provide for filling vacancies created by death, resignation, expulsion or otherwise of Legislators,” he said.

“In a democratic system of government which we are practicing, the power lies with the people to elect those who will represent them; not the political party to which the individual belongs. This proposition is therefore undemocratic and has a dictatorial propensity.”

Father Cephas added that people do not vote political party but the individual credentials of the candidate.

“If the person [who] goes [out] is an independent candidate, who replaces him? So, you can’t say ‘so say one so say all’. Liberians can distinguish between party lines, individual and their reputations,” he said.

The CABICOL secretary said that the elected officers should do health check before elections to show they are medically fit to be in office.

“I am suggesting that instead of wasting unmeasurable amount on by-elections it could be spent on our economy, if the person wants to represent you, they should be fit to go in the office,” he said, stressing the appalling state and rapid depreciation of the Liberia’s currency.

“But especially the most vulnerable of our society; we sincerely and earnestly call on the government to do all they can to reverse the downtrend state of our economy.”

However, he said CABICOL is open to engagement with the government, adding that there has been a formal request to have discussion with the government but to no avail. 

Also speaking on the salary harmonization by the government, Cephas said he believes that “everyone must have a just remuneration for a better life”.