Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Liberia: Political Opposition Rally Against Referendum

Source: All africa

Opposition political parties in Liberia are currently rallying support to defeat the forth coming referendum that is expected to pave the way to smooth elections this year, said a press release issued by the Office of the Standard-Bearer of the New Deal Movement.

Briefing the press, the Standard Bearer of the New Deal Party, Amb Prof. Dew Tuan Wleh Mayson said the referendum does not only go against the letter and spirit of the Liberian constitution, but that it is also tailored to qualify President Sirleaf to run for a second term and to assist her party in winning seats in the National Legislature.


“In the supreme interest of strengthening our democracy against the unveiled attempts by the president and her party to sabotage this democracy and possibly plunge our country into another round of chaos, we the leaders of the opposition political parties do hereby pledge to work together to ensure the defeat of these referendum when it is presented to the electorates in august,” the release quoted an opposition parties’ resolution as saying.

It did not say when the resolution was signed or released, but it said the New Deal Movement Party’s boss, who is poised to being the political leader of the proposed national democratic coalition (NDC), has branded the pending national referendum as “immoral and unconstitutional”.

It said realizing that the national referendum is intended to benefit President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and her allies and not in the interest of the Liberian people, the opposition parties have resolved to take further steps to ensure that the referendum does achieve the intended result.

The parties which it said were recurrently engaged in the negotiation were NPP, NDPL, LPP, CDC, UPP, MPC, LERP, MADMIC, MAPOL, and New Deal Party, amongst others.

The release quoted Amb Mayson as noting further that the proposed amendments to the constitution regarding the residency clause of article 52 (c) required that presidential and vice presidential candidates reside in Liberia 10-years prior to their election.

He reportedly said that any amendment would shorten the residency requirement by five years, a reduction which he described as “selfish attempt to keep Madam Sirleaf in power”.

National Elections Commission Chairman James Fromoyan named the provisions to be tested in the ensuing referendum recently as article 83 (b), article 83 (a) and article 52 (c). Also to be tested in the referendum is a request for change in the time for retirement of the chief justice and associate justices of the Supreme Court from 70 years to 75 years.

Article 83 (b) states that “all elections of public officers shall be determined by an absolute majority of the vote cast. If no candidate obtains an absolute majority in the first ballot, a second ballot shall be conducted on the second Tuesday following. The two candidates who received the greatest numbers of the votes on the first ballot shall be designated to participate in the run-off election”.

But Dr. Mayson argued that if amended through the referendum, the absolute majority clause would only apply to the presidency while all other elected posts would be based on ‘first pass the post’ or simple majority.

The other provision to be tested in the referendum, article 83 (a), will lead to a change in the time for the conduct of national elections from the second Tuesday in October to the second Tuesday in November. Liberia currently enjoys six-year tenure of office for the presidency.

Also to be tested and perhaps the most controversial is article 52 (c) which requires that a candidate for the presidency should be a resident in the republic of Liberia ten years prior to his election. Now it will be tested in a referendum whether the ten years should be cut down to five years.

Any changes as the result of the referendum, the opposition parties insists, will favor only the Unity Party of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

As such, they say, they will issue a lawsuit against any attempt to go ahead with the referendum.

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Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah



Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah

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