Electoral Reform Bill To Be Passed In Two Weeks


Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

October 19, 2004

Commany B. Wesseh, chairman on Peace and Reconciliation at the National Transitional Legislative Assembly (NTLA) has disclosed that the long awaited reformed election laws bill, currently being scrutinized by that August Body, is expected to be promulgated within the next two weeks.

Representative Wesseh, who is also member of NTLA Standing Committee on Legislature, said that in addition to the cross-examination by the NTLA, some professionals - including academicians, lawyers and other election experts have put forward their views concerning the contents of the bill when they (professionals) were invited at the Capitol recently. He said, as at now, there is a heated debate - with differing views amongst members of the Transitional Assembly. For instance, Assemblyman Wesseh revealed that there are those who hold the view that “no part of the constitution be suspended” regarding the passage of the bill; while others are opposed.

Rep. Wesseh said, at the end of the day, “I can assure you that as members of the Legislative Committee, we are working very hard so that within the next two weeks, the bill would be passed”. Mr. Wesseh gave the assurance over the weekend at an intellectual forum hosted by the Association of Liberian Intellectuals at the Corner of Carey/Gurley Streets, where he spoke on the topic: The hurdles and prospects in the Comprehensive Pace Accord.

As a way of identifying the hurdles and prospects in the implementation of the CPA, Rep. Wesseh divided the Accord in three categories, namely: Security; Government Reconstitution and Elections.

Regarding security, he said the intent under this aspect was for warring parties to first and foremost ceasefire; stop shooting at each other and secondly to bring in the international force to intervene to help reconstitute the national security, “But even following the ceasefire, there were still violations; and so it has its own hurdles.”

On the aspect of government, Rep. Wesseh said although there was government existing at the time, it had no legal power, as such, the CPA came into force to reconstitute the state, although it would not be a perfect one-because it’s a collection of good and bad, professionals, non-professionals irrespective of status. While the third category has to do with elections where people would choose who they want.

Rep. Wesseh said, with all these, there are still hurdles. For instance, those who are being disarmed are not sure what would happen to them after the process.

He however, assured that “If we work well and institutionalize justice, there will be success.”

Touching on the rift between the NTLA and the Executive Mansion, Mr. Wesseh said that in accordance with the CPA, the NTLA is a collection of warring parties, Political parties, professionals and non-professionals to oversee the works of the Executive because under the CPA the Chairman does not have executive power. So there was the tension between the two institutions. There were “necessary hurdles because of the newness of the process, but both are now settling.” Rep. Wesseh said.

© 2004: This article is copyrighted by the Forum newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.