A group consisting of several women and Civil Society Organizations under the banner, Liberian Women Can Lead (LWCL), is calling for the postponement and separation of the National Referendum from the midterm Senatorial elections.
The group said such will enable Liberians to know and understand what exactly is in the national referendum. The midterm elections and referendum are scheduled for December this year .
But the Liberian Women Can Lead (LWCL) group is urging the NEC to schedule the process for March 2021, to enable what it described as adequate public nationwide awareness and education to Liberians.
In a position statement issued by the group, it revealed that the National Elections Commission that is clothed with the responsibility to conduct the national referendum has not done any symbols of the preposition nor begun any civil education on the referendum in accordance with the law.
“It is glaring that the National Elections Commission (NEC), the body constitutionally charged with the responsibility to conduct the Referendum has neither done any symbols for each of the propositions, nor begun any civic education on the propositions for the understanding of the public consistent with Article 92 of the 1986 Constitution,” the group said in its statement.
- The Woman group in their statement furthered that the lack of public awareness and civil education coupled with the lack of symbols for each of the prepositions may negatively impact the outcome of the referendum.
Members of the Liberian Women Can Lead (LWCL), group who signed the statement includes, former Gender Minister Julia Duncan Cassel, Human Rights Activist Una Kumba Thompson, and Representative Rosanna Shack or Rivercess County amongst others.
They argued that Liberians are only accustomed to voting for faces and not symbols, stressing that political activities surrounding the midterm senatorial elections have overwhelmed what they described as less publicised referendum.
The group with a loud and resounding voice is calling on the government of Liberia to ensure 50% women representation in governance including affirmative action, eliminate harmful cultural practices against women and girls throughout Liberia.
Citing Article 1 of the 1986 constitution, the group said, it is the right of the people to alter and reform their benefits and when their safety and happiness so required.
The group which sees the proposed referendum as a national and patriotic endeavor which has a long time binding effect wants adequate fundings to the National Elections Commission (NEC) to enable it create symbols for each of the prepositions.
They also wants to create and sustain civil education and awareness on the referendum throughout Liberia to enable citizens vote for or against each preposition from an informed position.
The civil society grouping also wants to increase and sustain awareness of the referendum through the information services of the Republic and encourage stakeholder organizations and international partners to conduct massive education nationally including sub-national districts and grass roots levels.
The group also wants the language of the constitution gender neutral avoiding the usage of just men and now men/women calling for non discrimination against persons with disabilities in government with affirmative action.