Statement by Cllr. Gloria Maya Musu-Scott, Chairperson, CRC

Constitution Review is not an  ordinary process. it commands the highest degree of  integrity, accountability, legitimacy, transparency, accessibility, openness, and inclusivity. This is the process we have been called upon to drive. This opportunity is a noble one and a once in a while chance to have a say in  he review of the nation’s constitution. Some nations have existed for over Hundred years without a single review. In our case, the 1847 Constitution existed a hundred and thirty three years, without a single review process until it was Overthrown and the 1986 Constitution came into being.

Regrettably events of the 1980s and the 1990s which extended to 2003 created Constitutional debates and a need for reforms in our governance structures. As a result, the nation  has been embarking on reforms in many sectors since the birth of post conflict Liberia under the leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. In view of the fact that major reforms such as decentralization and local Governance cannot be achieved without constitutional interventions, the  Imperative to revisit the constitution has never ceased to be a debate and a need.  The Governance Commission which is charged with the responsibility of Conducting research on governance issues and to make appropriate recommendations to the Government of Liberia  has recommended to the President the need to establish a Constitution Review Commission. That recommendation was accepted by the President of Liberia and a Bill to establish the Commission was forwarded to the National Legislature. In their wisdom, the National Legislature though that  there Exist many commissions with high financial demands on the Government. Since Indeed there would be no need for the proposed Constitution Review Commission to Stay on after the review and referendum processes, it became advisable that it takes a Committee shape and form.

On August 31, 2012, the President of the Republic of Liberia established the Constitution Review Committee to organize and to lead the process of constitution review. The Mandate of the Committee is to “arrange public discourses and debates on provisions of the constitution; consider, among other things, national policies such as the National Policy on Decentralization and Local Governance; the establishment of principal administrative officers and other public sector reforms which can fully be implemented through constitutional reforms and to review the constitution and identify other provisions such as, without limitation, the terms of offices of the President, Vice President, Legislators, Justices and Judges to determine whether they require amendment. The Committee is further mandated to draft pieces of legislation pertaining to the constitution for approval and ensure adequate public participation in related public hearings and to also assist in ensuring the conduct of a referendum by the National Election Commission on proposals for amending the constitution. The Committee considers its mandate challenging; but achievable. We want a process that is credible, legitimate, and transparent. We have put in place a method of information gathering which emphasizes the BOTTOM –TO-TOP APPROACH. This method takes us to the people and gives them the opportunity to own the process with guidance from the CRC. As some of us may be aware, Article 10 of the constitution provides that the constitution be taught in our schools. This has not been done. What it does now is to impose a great challenge to the CRC to launch massive civic education programs which is indeed very costly. We are hoping that the CRC financial difficulties will attract interventions. We are very grateful to the UN  System, especially UNMIL, for the level o cooperation we have been receiving and for sending to us UN Experts, Mr. Jason Gluck and Mr. Hassan Ibrahim who have been very helpful in designing our civic education approaches.

As you go through the pages of this  Website, it is my hope that questions lingering in your minds about the CRC would be answered. Welcome!!!