16 May 2019

Liberia: Read the Constitution Properly

-ANC tells Justice Minister

Opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC) National Chairman and Gbarpolu Sen. Daniel Naatehn is urging Liberia's Justice Minister and Attorney General, Cllr. Frank Musa Dean to read the 1986 Liberian Constitution properly before making utterances that have the propensity to bring the justice system to a public disrepute.

Speaking at the ANC Headquarters in Sinkor on Unification Day, 14 May, Sen. Naatehn challenged Minister Dean to state where on earth a justice minister will tell protesters to be registered under the law before staging protest Sen. Naatehn urges Minster Dean to properly read the constitution with understanding and comprehension or else Liberians will soon doubt his legal understanding of the law.

He argues that peaceful protesters do not need permit or registration before taking the streets.According to the ANC official, Minister Dean is demanding those calling for the June 7 protest to be registered before coming to the streets.

It can be recalled that on 2 May, a letter signed by Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean questioned the legitimacy of the group calling itself Council of Patriots (COP).

In that letter, the Minister requested the COP to show its articles of incorporation, legal documentation indicating that they are a duly incorporated or unincorporated institution or association.

The Minister wrote: "The MOJ is under legal obligation to deal with institution/association registered and existing under the laws of Liberia, by and through their legal offices, as we request that you provide us legal documentation, establishing legal status as 'Council of Patriots', either as a duly incorporated or unincorporated association in pursuant to the requirements of the Associations Law of Liberia."

But relying on Article 1 of the Constitution, Sen. Naatehn says the power is inherent in the people, suggesting that if the people want to protest peacefully, government has no alternative but to grant such request without delay or denial.

Article 1 of the Liberian Constitution partly states that all power is inherent in the people; and that all free governments are instituted by their authority and for their benefit and they have the right to alter and reform the same when their safety and happiness so require.

Meanwhile, the ANC says the protest which has been endorsed by the four collaborating political parties will be void of violence.Naatehn explains that the protest is not to demand the resignation of President Weah, but it is rather to demand meaningful reforms that will lead to the improvement and living standards of Liberians.

The Council of Patriots has continuously maintained that their decision to protest is fueled by wanton neglect of the government to live up to its social contract towards ordinary citizens.According to them, the Liberian people will conduct themselves in the confines of the law and that the peace and stability of the country will be jealously protected by the protesters.By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor--Edited by Winston W. Parley

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