7 March 2014

Liberia: Jones Hooked - CBL Act Finally Amended

If the Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia or CBL, Dr. Joseph Mills Jones ever had any intention of contesting the nation's presidency, as have been speculated across the country, he made now have to rethink his decision or resign-at least according to the new amendment of the CBL's Act.

This is so because President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has finally signed the new amendments of the CBL into law. The new law will now prohibit the Executive Governor or any other Governor of the Board of Governors from contesting any elected post, while serving the institution. Otherwise, he/she has to resign the post three years prior to the election year.

The decision of the Legislature has since and continues to be resisted by several groups, claiming to be civil society and human rights groups in Monrovia. They continue to describe the lawmakers' decision as undemocratic and violation of the rights of Liberians with the opportunity to occupy such posts.

Yesterday was no exception as the grounds of the Capitol Building, the official home of the Liberian Legislature, came to a total standstill when a group of young people, under the auspices of the Liberia Business Association, stormed the entrances of the building, categorizing the action of the lawmakers as counterproductive to the existence of democracy, while another group at the other end of the fence strongly differed, suggesting that the action of the lawmakers was in the economic interest of the country.

The protest brought together hundreds of Liberians from across the country with placards, protesting the passage of a bill seeking to amend the March 10, 1999 Act establishing the Central Bank of Liberia.

It can be recalled that the 53rd Legislature passed a bill to amend the 1999 Act of Legislature, creating the Central bank of Liberia, which amendment restricts governors of the bank from participating in national politics until three years after resignation.

The Legislative action, which has attracted public attention throughout the country, has spurred dissenting views from prominent figures, thereby creating the platform for debates in street corners, as well as intellectual settings and hatai centers.

Since the passage of the bill to amend certain sections of the Act Creating the Central Bank of Liberia, professedly to prevent officials of that critical public agency from misrepresenting their official duties for political gains, there have been different positions for and against.

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