By Alva Mulbah Wolokolie
Thousands of Liberians under the banner “Peace Loving Concerned Liberians Owned Organizations and Communities” yesterday stormed the grounds of the Capitol Building protesting the action of lawmakers who have just amended and passed a Bill to prevent the Central Bank Governor and Executives from contesting any public office in the country.
The group of Liberians said they are greatly disappointed in the Legislature for amending portions of the CBL Act of 1999 because it violates all tenets of international best practices.
In a position statement delivered to journalists, the group asserted that the passing of the Bill will disorganize the independence, credibility, powers and functions of the CBL to provide excellent accountable direction for the Liberian economy and implement the monetary policy in the vital interest of the Liberian people.
The group also termed the action of the Legislature as the prevalent political blunder which is unprecedented in the history of law making in Liberia. They said the lawmakers are wrong because it cannot make law which targets a single individual or group.
“Let it be known that the power of the Legislature is supposed to be the power of the people, but where it is misused as in such case of the anti-J. Mills Jones Bill; then; such power is nothing; as compared to the power of the Liberian people which supports all the economic interventions of the CBL,” the group noted in its statement.
In light of the violation, the Peace Loving Concerned Liberians indicated that the passage of the Bill has the propensity to impede the ten (10) years of peace that Liberians are enjoying today and somehow compel international partners to leave the country.
The group’s statement said it wants the lawmakers to acknowledge their emotional political mistakes in amending the CBL Act and immediately assemble to unconditionally revoke the Mills Jones bill in the spirit of reconciliation, peace and security for all residents living in Liberia.
“Therefore, we the Peace Loving Concerned Liberian Owned Organizations and Communities are calling on the Liberia Council of Churches, Inter-Faith Mediation Committee, National Traditional Council of Liberia, the United States, European Union(EU), ECOWAS, MRU and all foreign missions and embassies in Liberia to please take action with urgency to ensure that this ill-conceived and unconstitutional anti-J. Mills Jones bill is not a law,” the statement said.
The sit-in action of the group was characterized by political slogans, traditional dances, holding of placards and banners. The group was seen outside the main gate of the Capitol Building for over 7 hours with no attention given them by either the Liberian Senate or the House of Representatives.
There were heavy deployments of the Police Support Unit (PSU) of the Liberia National Police (LNP) so as to avoid any conflict or eventuality.
At the same time, Liberia’s Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) Lewis G. Brown, addressing the ministry’s regular weekly Press briefing yesterday urged the President of Liberia to sign into law the CBL Amended Act because it places a check on how the country’s resources is spent.
He said while it is not good for the National Legislature to fast track (4G) the passage of the Act, it is sometime good to pass some acts in the (4G) manner.
Minister Brown said no one’s name is attached to the Act and wondered why some people are protesting against the Act and calling it anti-Mills Jones bill.
He claimed that the protesters at the Capitol Building yesterday were paid agents who cannot explain the purpose for which they were protesting, saying, “ If you ask those protesters, they will say we got our issue so we are here.”
Minister Brown also claimed that the law is stopping a governor of the CBL from getting involved in politics.
“We must not divide money because we want political power. It is political corruption,” Minister Brown said, an apparent reference to the CBL Loan scheme which is impacting the lives of many Liberian Entrepreneurs and thousands of rural dwellers even at the village level.
However, Minister Brown said that Dr. J. Mills Jones, the Executive Governor of the CBL, is doing a great job which the Government of Liberia (GoL) is pleased with.