Liberia’s Civil Society Reject President’s Request for Extra Powers: Terms It Threat To Democracy

 The Civil Society has been heavily involved in the fight against Ebola at many levels
The Civil Society has been heavily involved in the fight against Ebola at various levels including awareness activities like this banner

The Civil Society of Liberia Wednesday (Oct 8) in Liberia has rejected in the strongest terms a letter submitted to the Legislature by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf seeking extra-constitutional powers to respond to the ebola outbreak in Liberia.

They termed the President’s request as a threat to fundamental rights and democracy.

“Civil Society believes the issues raised by the president threatens civil liberty, stability of the state, and undermines the core of our democratic system of government, which effectively threatens the future of our country,” a statement issued in Monrovia stated.

According to the statement, “Civil Society is of the view that the current powers granted under the August 7 state of emergency and the increased international support are sufficient to deal with situation at hand, and the president does not need any extra-constitutional powers to ensure success in this.

“The request by the president to assume full authority above and beyond the provisions of Article 1, which alters the time and manner of elections, as well as several articles of Chapter 3, which seeks to limit various fundamental rights, as provided for under our constitution, in our mind constitute an attempt to strengthen the powers of the presidency as opposed to the people,” they said.

Liberian Civil Society notes that these actions do not propose to provide any more solace to the people than those that had been previously taken. Civil Society therefore calls on the Members of the Legislature to reject the letter in its entirety, and continue with the status quo.

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Author: D K Sengbeh

Danicius Kaihenneh Sengbeh (author of Sengbeh's Weblog) is a respected and renowned Liberian journalist, poet and writer with with journalism experience since 2001, of working both as a mainstream journalist and a communication/media consultant in Liberia. He is Secretary General of the Press Union of Liberia (elected Dec 2013). He was Assistant Secretary General of the Union Dec 2011 to Dec 2013. He is also Editor-In-Chief of The Informer Newspaper—one of Liberia’s credible dailies. Before joining the Informer, Danicius had served as reporter, chief reporter, sub-editor and News Editor at The Independent Newspaper between 2002 and 2006. Before then, he was reporter at the defunct Patriot Newspaper and Kiss FM 2001-2002. Danicius is a UN Media Fellow and Liberia’s first UN Medal Award-winning journalist for his contribution to journalism and for being the second Liberian journalist in 15 years to qualify for and successfully attended the United Nations’ Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalist Fellowship Program in New York and Geneva, Switzerland in 2012. He earned a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Mass Communication and Sociology from the University of Liberia and a Diploma in Journalism from the International School of Journalism. He holds several awards and recognitions both in and outside of journalism, and carries dozens of certificates in journalism and communication from studies in Ghana, China, United States and Switzerland, among others. He volunteers as Chair of the Information and Communication Committee of his local Bardnersville community. He can be quickly reached via (+231) 886586531/777586531/777464018/ dakasen1978@yahoo.com

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