Cllr. Kanneh Throws Light On Constitution Review Process

The Chairperson of the Law Reform Commission (LRC), Cllr. Boakai Kanneh, says since the setting up the Constitution Review Committee (CRC) it has conducted consultations, civic education, outreach and collation of the views  of Liberians.

Chairman Kanneh said the CRC work actually culminated in the generation of 25 propositions and a final report that were submitted to former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for her attention and further action.

According to him, the Government of Liberia established the CRC on August 27, 2012 and appointed five eminent Liberians to organize and lead the process for the review of the 1986 Constitution.

Kanneh said the Liberian Government believed then that the review was necessary to upgrade the 1986 Constitution, so that it will address current democratic realities and those of the future.

Cllr. Kanneh made the statement Tuesday at the closing session of a two-day Law Reform Commission forum organized in partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Dialogue on Constitutional Review.

The forum was hosted under the theme: “Toward A Constitutional Review for Peace Building, National Healing, Reconciliation and Development.”

The LRC official explained that upon receipt of the CRC report, former president Sirleaf responded to the 25 propositions by agreeing to implement some of them and downplayed others that she did not support.

According to him, the former president recommended that new statutes be made to correct those issues, while some propositions were totally rejected.

Cllr. Kanneh indicated that ex-President Sirleaf’s reactions were communicated to the then President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate Armah Zulu Jallah on August 13, 2015.

He added that there was a request for the Legislature’s timely action to review the propositions for submission to the National Elections Commission (NEC) for the holding of a national referendum on the propositions.

The official, however, said that to the best of his knowledge and recollection, there is no evidence that the Senate ever acted on the 25 propositions.

He, however, said that the House of Representatives reviewed the propositions and narrowed them to six, although he did not indicate the precise ones.

The LRC chairperson pointed out that he also had no evidence that the six propositions from the House of Representatives were ever submitted to the Liberian Senate for concurrence as is normally required.

Cllr. Kanneh stressed that his overall rating of the work of the Constitution Review Committee is that they did a good job amidst difficulties and challenges associated with such tasks.

According to him, the Law Reform Commission has a mandate to keep under review the laws of Liberia, including the National Constitution.

Cllr. Kanneh said it is imperative that his committee continues from where the previous commissioners of the LRC stopped.

He noted that to this end, the LRC remains engaged with the Legislature and other national and international stakeholders to ensure that the processes started over the years are concluded.

“It is in furtherance of the desire to rejuvenate the conversation of constitution review that this dialogue has been arranged with the support of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP),” Chairperson Kanneh indicated.


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