By Antoinette Sendolo
Former Presidential Candidate, Charles Brumskine has termed as unconstitutional the recent Executive Order #65 issued by President Sirleaf banning the mass movement of people, including rallies, parades and demonstrations on the streets of Monrovia.
Mr. Brumskine, in a press conference said the President’s power, if any, to issue an executive order must stem either from an act of the Legislature or from the Constitution itself noting that the President has no authority to issue EO #65 from either of the two lawful sources.
He described the Executive Order as unconstitutional, reprehensible, and it defies common political sense stressing that with EO #65, the President has invaded the constitutional province of the Legislature by making law.
According to the former Presidential Candidate, exercising the executive powers does not give the President the authority or the right to violate the Constitution and the laws of Liberia adding that “The fact that the Executive finds itself incapable of enforcing existing laws, whether the law is the Penal Code, the Public Safety Law, or the Vehicle and Traffic Law, does not, by any stretch of legal reasoning give the President the right to make a different law”.
He said if the President finds existing laws inadequate, as she laments in EO #65, her Constitutional duty requires her to propose new laws to the Legislature but she is without the authority to make any law, new, different, or additional, to suit her governance style.
Mr. Brumskine described the President’s reference to the Ebola outbreak and the protection of the state as an excuse for her Executive Order as shameful adding that Monrovia is not the only area in the country that continues to be affected by the virus. He noted that “Even a child can see through this political ploy”.
The former Presidential Candidate in his press statement said the right to hold political rallies, parades, and demonstrations, may be curtailed, restricted or enjoined by government only during an emergency declared in accordance with the Constitution. “The President is no doubt aware that the State of Emergency that was declared to deal with the Ebola virus has expired. The President must also be cognizant of the fact that she authorized the holding of the Mid-Term Senatorial elections on December 16, 2014, confirming that rallies, parades, and demonstrations could be safely conducted”.
Mr. Brumskine, in his concluding statement said, “I therefore call upon you, Madam President, to yield to the talks on the streets of Monrovia and throughout the length and breadth of Liberia, as many perceive your action as being politically motivated for selfish reason; pay attention to the voices from the corridor of power, partisans and non-partisans alike; and for once, listen to those who you may perceive as adversaries, but who generally speak out of love for our country. Please now: REVOKE, REPEAL, and CANCEL EO#65.”