Liberia Heading for Constitutional Breakdown
-UPP Suggests Panacea to Curtail Breaches

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In the wake of mounting outcries from the opposition political parties and the general public for the National Elections Commission to cancel results of the Voters Roll Update due to widespread electoral fraud and violence, the United People’s Party (UPP) alarms that Liberia is again heading for breakdown in constitutional rule.
In a letter addressed to the Chairman of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), and signed by UPP National Chairman, Mr. TQ Harris, who read the letter during a press conference yesterday at the party’s Headquarters on 17th Street in Sinkor, the UPP said it appears that, for the third time in the past 40 years, Liberia is again heading for a breakdown in constitutional rule.
“The UPP is gravely concerned about the unfolding constitutional crisis.  Hence, we call upon the leadership of the CDC to observe fully the significance of Article 2 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, which states that the constitution is the supreme and fundamental law of Liberia and its provision shall have binding force and effect on all authorities and persons throughout the Republic,” the UPP stated.
The UPP said, as a consequence of consistent non-compliance with provisions of the 1986 Constitution, the legitimacy of the Weah Administration is coming into question. There is a rising trend towards breakdown in the maintenance of law and order, and a noticeable reduction or withdrawal of international support for the government. The Liberian Constitution holds itself inviolate; other than a revert to the People, there is no remedy for a fait accompli circumstance of constitutional non-compliance.
Citing key provisions of the Liberian constitution, the UPP said the Weah administration has abrogated Article 34(d) of the very constitution which empowers the Legislature, among others, to make appropriations for the fiscal governance of the Republic. “But, by the failure of the Legislature to comply with the mandate of this section of Article 34, the Administration now stands in non-compliance with several other Articles of the 1986 Constitution.”
The UPP said Article 37 of the Constitution sets 90 days, from the date of notice of a vacancy in the Legislature, for the conduct of by-elections. “In 2018, the National Elections Commission (NEC), did not conduct, within the constitutional time frame, the by-elections to fill vacancies created when Senators Weah and Howard-Taylor were elected to the Presidency and Vice Presidency respectively.” 
Also citing Article 39 of the Constitution, the UPP said the government is required to conduct of a national census every ten years, with the last census having been conducted in 2008. “The national census which should have taken place in 2018 was missed, rendering the government unable to perform several of its constitutional responsibilities. That a national census has not been conducted since 2008 as required by Article 39, the Legislature is unable to set population threshold and, therefore, the National Elections Commission cannot apportion or re-apportion constituencies, such that each constituency has as close to the same population as required by Article 80(c).” 
The UPP further noted that Articles 8(c), 80(d) and 80(e) of the Constitution require the conduct of free, fair, transparent and credible election process in Liberia. “The government here, again, is not in compliance with Article 80 (c, d, and e),” the UPP observed.
Regarding the issue of voting for the President, Vice President, members of the Senate and members of the House of Representatives, the UPP indicated that Aricle 83(a) requires that elections be conducted throughout the Republic on the second Tuesday in October of each election year. “In violation of the 1986 Constitution, the Legislature has yet, again, passed a Joint Resolution changing the date of the mid-term senatorial election to December 8, 2020,” the UPP stated.
The UPP said, President Weah has signed several Joint Legislative Resolutions altering constitutional time frames, in total disregard to Chapter IV of the Liberian Constitution which stipulates the scope of presidential power and authority, which does not include authorizing changes in constitutional dates.
“Given the consistent constitutional breaches, evidenced by the citations presented: would it be inaccurate to conclude that Liberia is drifting away from being considered a constitutional democracy? Absolutely not!” the UPP conjectured.
To curtail these constitutional anomalies being perpetuated by the Weah administration, the UPP has called for the convening of a national citizen consultative forum com[rising representatives of national organizations and institutions, including in particular, registered political parties; certified national umbrella civil society organizations; the Interfaith Religious Council; the Liberia Marketing Association; the WIPNET; Federation of Liberia Labor Unions; the Federation of Liberian Youth; the Liberia National Student Union; the Liberia National Bar Association; the National Traditional Council; National Health Workers Union of Liberia; among others; citing the context of Article 1 of the Constitution as the closest reliance for obtaining the will of the people.
“The mandate of said forum should be restricted to setting a date which would be construed as a decision for holding of the mid-term senatorial election which was constitutionally due to take place on the second Tuesday of October in the election year 2020; deciding on the year for conduct of the national census which should have taken place in 2018, the result of which will provide the basis for creation of a constitutional electoral constituency structure in Liberia; and evolving a resolution that will allow the Legislature to be seated for normal session in January 2021, in the event there is a delay in the holding of the  2020 mid-term senatorial elections,” the UPP advised.
“Should the Coalition for Democratic Change consider this recommendation, it would be prudent for the President to confer with elders and legal luminaries, as well as with our regional and wider international partners, whose support will be essential in the efforts to get the administration back into constitutional compliance.  It is important to have the support of ECOWAS, the AU, the UN, the US, and the EU.  Our development partners should be encouraged to observe the process, and provide technical and material assistance,” UPP National Chairman TQ Harris stated.

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