….-Say Concerned Citizens; Ought To Be Rendered Illegitimate; Vow Radical Direct Citizen’s Ballot For Immediate Change
MONROVIA-Scores of Liberians at home and abroad have announced they are seeking to bring a series of radical propositions on the ballot for the 2023 presidential and general elections to take immediate effect in 2024.
They are ordinary citizens who have registered themselves under the banner of Concerned Citizens and Communities for Resetting Liberia (CCCRL) for the greater common good of the nation.
CCCRL said it believes these propositions when passed will radically redress and resolve the long-standing conflicting issues that have derailed Liberia’s progress and left “our nation very fragile and poor”.
“We seek to collect more than 250,000 signatures for these very important instruments as provided by the Constitution” the lead organizer-Dr. Artemus W. Gaye said.
Among the nine propositions, they are seeking to a complete sanctioning of Trucking voters and the Creation of a National-Electronic Card.
Under this proposition, CCCRL wants to work in concert with the Social Security and Welfare Agency, LEGIS, and other agencies, on the need for a Social Security Card and number for every citizen and resident, an Electronic ID Card, Biometrics/Fingerprints, and Creating a National Database.
The citizens are also protesting the controversial 2022 National Housing and Population Census as a violation of Article 80 E I of the constitution.
“The law is clear that there must be a population census conducted before the elections in every 10 years. The current and made to restitute all monies legislative body is in violation of the law and in so doing ought to be rendered as illegitimate and benefits it received from the national coffer.”
Proposition two is seeking Absentee Voting which is guaranteed by the Article 80 C of the Constitution that each citizen shall have the right to be registered in a constituency, and to vote in public elections only in the constituency where registered, either in person or by absentee ballot; provided that such citizen shall have the right to change his voting constituency as may be prescribed by the Legislature.”
Concerned Citizens and Communities for Resetting Liberia wants the holding of Mayoral elections which was passed by the 1854 Act of legislation with cities given the right to exercise full authority.
It says, the idea that a Chief or Mayor can be removed by the president is problematic and inconsistent with the spirit of democracy, otherwise, the chiefs serve at the will and pleasure of the president.
Their proposals include term limits for public elective offices including four years and two terms for the President and Vice President, four Years and multiple terms for Senators, and four years and multiple terms for Representatives as well as fixed salaries for elected officials.
“Three Diaspora senators and three representatives (one of each in the USA, Europe, Asia/Australia) can deliberate but cannot vote unless the law is amended by the lawmakers. (Precedent is the USA with its territories and Senegal)”
“We also want a replacing the word Tribe and designating two new ethnic groups- Fulani’s and Krios in the population census, the creation of a New National Sovereign Wealth Fund of which 20% of revenue generated from all natural resources and the annual national budget shall be placed in an escrow account for the next generation” a statement from the group of Liberians added.
The propositions also include the creation of a Special War Crimes & Reconciliation Court, a Fast Track Economic Crimes Court for Liberia, a New National History Markers Monument, and a National Address System to address the deficiency by giving national address and zip code to every building structure, county, city, town, village.
Dr. Artemus Gaye the lead organizer saidsince the formation of Liberia as a colony 200 years ago, citizen’s referendum demanding changes within the governing space has been rare and far in between.
“This CCCRL of 2023 will be the second ever done here in Liberia and the first since independence in 1847”, he added.
In the early setup of the Liberian colony, a 12-person citizens’ committee under the leadership of Lott Carey demanded some major governance restructuring under the ACS (American Colonization Society) in the mid-1820s when Jehudi Ashmun who was the sole authority.
Though vehemently opposed by the ACS and Ashmun, the will of the repatriated Africans finally prevailed as Carey became the second in command until his tragic death and that of Ashmun in the same year.
It was under such resilience and progressive thinking; the nation declared its independence and gradually brought all the current ethnic groups under the current body politics.
Thus, the proposed Citizens’ Referendum according to Dr. Artemus Gaye “is historic and radical as it seeks to remedy the many lapses and complicity of the sitting authorities in redressing long-standing social, political, ethnic, and economic issues that have stymied growth and genuine development of Liberia”
“This direct citizen’s ballot initiative” he added as enshrined by law, holds all parties—citizens, lawmakers, executive, and the judiciary to resolutely make these propositions as effective laws of the land that ought to be in effect immediately in 2024”
Dr. Gaye has meanwhile stated that Concerned Citizens and Communities for Resetting Liberia (CCCRL) comprised of Liberian groups from both the diaspora and the homeland—grassroots, community, religious, ethnic, educational, professional, and ordinary folks. Within the next two weeks, a formal launch and billboards will be displayed in every part of the country.
Credit: Wremongar Joe, II