Referendum: Our Perspective

In the words of former United States’ President, the Late John F. Kennedy: “those who make Peaceful Revolution impossible; will make Violent Revolution inevitable”. For Liberians, let us not make any mistake or be fooled into thinking that that what we say and do here will go a long way in determining our standing  if we really mean very well for ourselves, country and generations unborn; while being keen and cognizant as a nation and people of the global  community. We owe it to God and history to do what is absolutely right without any form, manner and style ulterior motives, let alone hidden agenda to satisfy an unexplained purposes.

Let the nation, stakeholders and people with vested interest not be so much in a hurry for the conduct of the impending National Referendum which from the start of its previous inception under Gloria Musu Scott due to former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s desire to get same done without due attention on the fashion concerning how carefully it is handled; and now we have come to the crossroads with several slippery and  controversial provisions hanging in the wind to be infused into the Constitution which if not rendered sufficient time for awareness, discussion and scrutiny with ample understanding of the provisions to be included is bound to have a toll on us the nation for years to come after the odds have taken active center-space.

To begin with, Senator Prince Y. Johnson (PYJ) of Nimba County and an Evangelist, despite his controversial nature and utterances on political and other issues of national concerns; still holds to his credit a large commanding influence in his county and besides being referred to as the political godfather or the kings maker; he is not to be taken for granted with his county being so populated; the people of this country must listen keenly to what he says about prevailing political matters.

With the government vehemently proceeding and racing with the speed much more than that of planet Mercury known to possess the fastest velocity to ensure that the problem-saddled referendum is held     simultaneously along ide the December 8 senatorial by-election, Evangelist Johnson, from his pulpit on Sunday, October 25, 2020 pointed out that President George M. Weah stands to have a third term presidential tenure-meaning if the tenure of the president is reduced from sis to five years as being advanced by the incumbent as part of the items to be amended in the Constitution; and known that the law does not affect past development when passed rather deals specifically with  current issues and onward form the onset of its passage.

This should immediately claim the undivided attentions of lawyers of all shades be it pro or con wherein they must give their utmost best to doing genuine justice to the issue with the country and the people prevailing as the beneficiaries of the amendment; And to achieving this end, it will require time for the very people to know and properly understand the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of the entire exercise.

As most of the advanced provisions by President Weah also include dual citizenship, something no matter of its good and bad, the people must be to informed of its workings and be told in their respective vernaculars with thorough education on all the provisions and processes reflecting the significance of the amendments because the latter is strictly constitutional which from thereafter will be binding on them for years; and as such there is just no need to rush with the process; and considering all the intrigues ; our referendum perspective is firstly, the entire exercise must be put on hold to enable the people ample time for massive education an awareness in their various   vernaculars as to where they may end up or not with  corresponding  consequences; and not stuff some half-baked provisions driven by unexplained motives down the throats of the ill-informed, poorly prepared, and badly miss out participants in a process very precious to be left with the wolves; with emphasis on the first time  voters, the variance of their mounting the stage to perform their patriotic duty to their country through the Constitution which based on the amends, would to some degree make it a new Constitution. That also needs to be looked at very carefully and handle with absolute care.

If the Referendum is not put on hold by the National Elections Commission (NEC) and be held separately after the senatorial by-election at which time it would be accorded an exclusive undertaking or year, month and date established with sufficient time, education, awareness and resources to adequately facilitate the process nationwide stressing that only the vernaculars in the counties and interiors become the space of dialoguing for total comprehension; to do otherwise is not only foolhardy, but would be recklessly and unfortunately grounding the ulterior motive of someone into the history of our Constitution thereby breeding futuristic tension and gave uneasiness in the country. On this note, we are pleading with all open-minded Liberians to see far beyond the self-styled shining linen in the midst of today’s dark cloud.   Time to save Liberia from the scourge of Constitutional embarrassment and unwarranted uneasiness is not, and the best way out is to freeze the impending Referendum for now.

-Writes GDJ

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