No doubt, it seems that if nothing is done, the outcome of the Constitution Review Committee Gbanga Convention will be swept under the carpet and the next government will be left with no working tools to execute the recommendations that emerged as a result of conference. Despite the controversial nature of some of the prepositions, the House of Representatives through careful consultations and dialogues narrowed the prepositions to eight and forwarded same to the Liberian senate for concurrence.
The prepositions which include reduction in the tenure of elected officials, opening or restricting citizenship to people of non negro descent, acceptance or rejection of dual citizenship in Liberia, enhancement of women participation in national affairs , that traditional Liberians own their own land and be parties to negotiations with investors or concessionaires on said land, that the date for elections be changed from second week in October to second week in March of election year, the election of local leaders including superintendents, and the reduction of political parties to four, amongst others, have languished at the Senate since 2016. Thus, concerned civil society groups that include NAYMOTE, PMU, IREDD, LMDI and SAIL called on the Liberian senate to deliberate and reach a conclusion on the prepositions recommended for amendments by the House of Representatives. Speaking on behalf of the concerned Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Eddie Jarwolo, Executive Director NAYMOTE said the recommendations are important to the sustenance of democracy and the Liberian senate must see the need to concur. In this light, Jarwolo said the concerned CSOs pray that the Liberian senate through a deliberate process makes its view heard on the eight recommendations submitted to it by the House of Representatives; and that the committee on internal affairs, good governance and reconciliation at the Liberian senate, chaired by Senator Thomas Grupee, takes leadership by introducing the recommendations on the floor for deliberations. “It is imperative for the senate to act because this is a crucial piece of legislation that will greatly impact in terms of where we go as a country from here because many of the things we are talking about in terms of tenure and traditional land ownership are crucial to the development and wellbeing of the Liberian people,” he said. For us at the Capitol Times, we join the campaign of the civil society groups because we believe passage of the bill of referendum promotes good governance and respect for the rule of law; and serves as a working tool for the 2018 referendum. As the legislature gradually wraps up activities in preparation for its election break, it is even more expedient that more consideration is given to the passage of the bill to harness our already fragile democratic gains.