Constitution Review Discourse: Liberians Want Political Reform, oppose Dual Citizenship

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Liberians have expressed their views on several sectors of the political landscape of their country, generally asking for less power for individuals and a stronger democracy that seeks to minimize corruption and incorporate justice and equality for the prosperity of their country.

According to a statistical data released Thursday by the Constitution Review Committee (CRC) at the Ministry of Information, there are more Liberians calling for the reduction of presidential and legislative tenures, more citizens’ participation in the elections of public officials, including mayors and superintendents and other things, equitable distribution of natural resources among the population, especially areas where these resources are extracted.

The data was collected from consultations across 73 political districts across the 15 political subdivisions of Liberia with the collaboration of the Governance Commission (GC), the Liberia Institute for Geo-Information Services (LISGIS) and the Law Reform Commission (LRC).

Some 18,424 people participated in the consultation.

Accordingly, More Liberians participated in the conversation involving the reduction of the tenure of elective positions. A total of 8,695 people or 47.19% of the total number of people participated in the discourse involving the reduction of the tenure of the president and vice president. Some 7,412 people or 85.24% of respondents called for the presidential tenure to be reduced from six to four years; while 351 people or 4.04% called for five years. And 932 people or 10.72% called for it to remain at six years.

Similarly, 8,192 people participated in the discourse involving the reduction in the tenure of legislators, accounting for 44.46% of the total number of people. Of those 8,192 people, 5,226 participants or 63.79% called for the senatorial tenure to be reduced from nine to six years. About 1,976 participants or 24.15% called for the reduction of the tenure to four years; while 628 participants or 7.67% called for it to be reduced to 5 years, among other suggestions.

The suggestions of people followed similar trend over the reduction of the tenure of representatives, with 5,477 participants or 90.98% of a total of 6,020 participants across the country calling for the six-year tenure to be reduced to  four years; 320 or 5.32% called for it to be reduced to three; while 183 or 3.04% called for five years. However, 40 or 0.66% called for the six-year tenure to be retained.
Participants also showed interest in elections of superintendents and mayors and local government authorities.

A total of 2,758 or 72.90% of a total of 3,797 participants called for elections to be held across the country for superintendent; while 1,326 or 56.56% of a total of 2,343 participants said the same for mayor elections. And more than 50% of the total number of participants shared the same view for town, clan and paramount chiefs to be elected in acquiescence with traditional protocol.

Meanwhile, there was a vehement rejection of dual citizenship during the consultation.
A total of 1,590 or 90.19% of a total of 1,763 participants opposed dual citizenship as compared to the 173 or 9.81% who were in favor of it.
President Sirleaf in the 2015 State of the Nation Address called on the Legislature to pass a bill for dual citizenship.