Constitution Committee presents Final Report to President SirleafAug 18, 2015
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has received the final Report on the National Constitution Conference (NCC). The report was presented to the Liberian Leader by the Chair person on the Constitutional Review Committee, Counselor Gloria Scott.
The NCC Report contains recommendations to amend the Constitution of Liberia following series of local consultations and that of the Diaspora. At a formal presentation ceremony at the offices of the Liberian Leader, Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott, on behalf of her colleagues, thanked the Liberian President for the confidence reposed in them to perform this task and for the opportunity provided them to form part of such an historic national project.
“Madam President, thank you for this opportunity to formally present to you the report from the National Constitution Conference,” she said. She catalogued the President’s mandate given the Committee and the process they embarked on over three years to reach this point.
Cllr. Scott also reported the excellent cooperation from Ex-officio members, the Governance Commission (GC), Law Reform Commission (LRC) and partners that strengthened them particularly providing financial, technical and moral support during the process. “Their vast experience and knowledge were at our disposal and we have now reached this point,” she indicated.
She further praised partners who contributed immensely to making the process a success. “UNDP provided initial seed money; UNMIL provided technical assistance from New York, helicopter services; USAID significantly contributed to the National Constitution Conference, while United Nations Peace-Building Fund (UNPBF), among other partners, provided additional assistance,” she pointed out.
Emphasizing citizens ‘participation in the review process, including political parties, traditional leaders, women’s groups, religious leaders, the media and civil society, Cllr Scott described their role as “significant”.
Responding, President Sirleaf thanked the CRC for its excellent work and to the partners for the support they provided the CRC in executing its mandate.
Reflecting, the Liberian leader recalled that Liberia’s first two constitutions of 1847 and 1986 reflected the circumstances and desires of the population at the time. “Recognizing that circumstances have changed, one needed to add more in terms of equal opportunity, equity and recognition of the role of the population; thus a new Constitution came into effect in 1986 reflecting new circumstances of the country.
In retrospect of the need for constitutional amendment, President Sirleaf cited 2030 National Vision consultations held across the country, results from which, clearly indicated that “the Liberian people wanted more than what the 1986 Constitution contained. “They wanted to see some revisions in some of those provisions; they wanted to ensure that certain equity and participation of the people were pronounced than what the 1986 Constitution provided and so those consultations formed the basis for starting that process of amendments to the Constitution.
With support from UNDP and other key development partners, Liberia embarked on a Constitution review process, completing 73 consultations locally and in the Diaspora (Ghana and USA). Over 10,000 Liberians from the 73 constituencies in all 15 counties and Diaspora participated in these public consultation. 35% of these were women. Over 16,000 views were collated which produced over 52,308 suggestions.
25 of these propositions were taken to the National Constitution Conference (NCC) and voted upon by over 500 delegates from various sectors of the Liberian society.
Despite heated debates during the 5-day national conference, delegates voted for example, on the reduction of Presidential tenure from six to four year term; Senatorial tenure from 9 to 6 years; Representatives 6 to 4 years and of course, the most controversial, return to a Christian State as opposed to secular State.
It is expected that the report will be forwarded to the National Legislature and translated into a referendum to be conducted across the country.Contact
Aukot, Ekuru-Chief Technical Advisor (CRC); Tel: +231-775947171/880046298; e-mail- firstname.lastname@example.org
Augusta Pshorr –Communications Analyst E-mail: email@example.com Tel: +231-770-003-819/886-521-425
Sam Zota –National UNV Communications Associate Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +231-886-474-563/770175162