Clarification Letter Links:
- 10/08/2014 Clarification Letter (Page 1)
- 10/08/2014 Clarification Letter (Page 2)
- 10/08/2014 Clarification Letter (Page 3)
The President of Liberia in a letter, to the House of Representatives, seeking to clarify her earlier request for Emergency Powers, demonstrates how contemptible she is of the people of Liberia.
In her earlier letter the President requested Emergency Powers to abrogate Article 24 of the Liberian Constitution. Her request read:
7. Article 24 of the Liberian Constitution (1986). Appropriation of Property
The President may, by proclamation, appropriate any private property or prevent the use thereof in order to protect the public health and safety during the state of emergency without payment of any kind or any further judicial process. Provided however, that the property will be released to the rightful owners upon the end of the state of emergency and that the government pays for any damages thereto.
I argued that the President should not be able to seize private property and leave the citizens no ability to have the process reviewed by a court. Secondly the idea that the government alone would decide what the damage would be and what it would pay for is particularly specious.
On October 8, 2014, the President made the following clarification to the legislature:
Article 24 of the Liberian Constitution (1986) Expropriation of property. The President may, by proclamation, appropriate any private property of prevent the use thereof in order to protect the public health and safety during the state of emergency without payment of any kind or any further judicial process. Provided however, that the property will be released to the rightful owners upon the end of the state of emergency and that the Government pays for any damages thereto.
The death tolls brought about by this disease have been overwhelming particularly in counties like Lofa, Montserrado, Bong, Margibi, Nimba, Bomi and others. We are advised by both national and international health authorities that victims of the Ebola virus must be buried and laid to rest in isolated places and not in any ordinary public graveyard or cemetery. Such a number of deaths we have seen and experienced, present a problem as a public cemetery are very few and inadequate. Therefore the government of Liberia will use any available land in any town, village or city conducive for the burial of Ebola victims whenever the safety of the people or dwellers of such community demands. Such land to be used will be released or returned to the rightful owner upon the end of the state of emergency. The provision of Article 24 of the Constitution will therefore be affected or suspended whenever and wherever necessary.
So the President's original request was not only deliberately vague and deceptive. It was a lie.
Her initial demand was to be able to appropriate ANY private property, not any available private property. Any available private property includes occupied dwellings, cars, trucks, pencils, pens....ANY private property. Now she explains she actually wants any available land. Would it not be easier to have the Ministry of Lands Mines and Energy and CNDRA identify possible cemetery sites and purchase them from the owners?
Would it not be safer to build crematoriums in each county / location, as Min. Lewis Brown said they already had plans to do?
Based on her clarification the President wanted to appropriate private property, turn it into a cemetery, and then return the cemetery to the rightful owner. What "DAMAGE" would the government pay for. Does this President not understand that turning any land into a cemetery make that land UNUSABLE to the owner for any purpose? This explanation is so odious, and dishonest, it is not even worthy of any consideration.
This was never about cemeteries. It was a flat out attempt to be able to dispossess citizens of any property the president and her minions identified and wanted, and deny them any judicial redress. There is no sane person, who believes turning vacant property into a cemetery and then returning it to the rightful owner, leaves the land usable for any other purpose. Congratulations Flomo Zayzay, the government has just returned your 25 acres and it is now a cemetary...enjoy!
This lady continues to try to take Liberia down the road to perdition.