Civil Society Rejects President Request for Extra Powers

The Civil Society 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, terming it as a threat to fundamental rights & 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.

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.

Liberian Civil Society notes that these actions do not propose to provide any more solace to our 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.