30 January 2013

Liberia: Ellen - Liberian Constitution Inadequate...

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has asserted that the Constitution of Liberia is inadequate. The Constitution is regarded as the organic law of the land. The Liberian leader on Monday, 28 January 2013, in her Annual Message to the second session of the 53rd Legislature informed the lawmakers that experience shown over the last 27 years have illustrated that Liberia's 1986 Constitution is inadequate to address the current realities of the nation and the aspirations of the people of Liberia.

"When Liberians gather, you hear us discuss and debate the power of the presidency, educational qualifications, the tenure of office for elective public offices, citizenship, gender equality, equal distribution and access to national assets, economic opportunities, and many other issues with constitutional implications," said President Johnson-Sirleaf.

"To respond to these concerns, the Liberian leader added: in August 2012 I established a Constitution Review Committee with the mandate to review our Constitution through discourses, debates and consultations on various provisions, to determine recommendations for subsequent amendments."

She reported that six eminent Liberians were appointed to lead the constitutional review process, with the Governance and Law Reform Commissions serving as technical arms to the Committee and their respective Chairs serving as ex-officio members.

She told the legislators that she had anticipated that the review process would be concluded to include the Referendum requirement during the 2014 elections; however, she noted that the Committee has advised that more time might be required, adding that: "We are reviewing this position."

The Liberian leader, who addressed the Legislature for close to two hours on the theme: "A Time For transformation", pointed out that the transformation of the country will only be successful when certain reforms are effected, naming key areas of reform as the Liberian Constitution, land matters, institutional and governmental restructuring, the private sector and Liberianization.

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