Monrovia – Senator Prince Y. Johnson, a member of the Liberian delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament has described Senator George Manneh Weah’s failure to attend full sessions at the regional parliament as “bad”, noting Sen. Weah is the only one on the Liberian delegation who leaves sessions prematurely.
Sen. Johnson made the statement during a telephone interview on the ‘Bumper Show’ on ELBC Radio Wednesday evening.
Senator Johnson’s comment was in relation to a memo issued by the Parliament citing that a good number of its members have not been demonstrating the expected measure of diligence through regular attendance of session as well as other important meetings and/or missions.
The Speaker of the Parliament, Moustapha Cissé Lô from Republic of Senegal in the February 10 memo, described the practice of signing in at session and abandoning the process as “betrayal of confidence reposed on us as by the West African populace who are anxiously looking up to us to turn their checkered fortunes”.
The Speaker: “At a personal level, I need hardly emphasize that this conduct is not benefitting our highly exalted offices as representatives of over 300 million citizens of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).”
The memo intimated that most members of the Parliament who are involved with not staying for the entire duration of session do so immediately after collecting their stipend for the entire period they are supposed to stay for session/meeting.
To curb the practice, the Bureau has decided to withhold 40 percent of allowances due members of the Parliament, only to be released at the end of the entire session/meeting. Also, payments, as a matter of policy, would be made through banks.
In radio interview on Wednesday, Sen. Johnson said though the memo was opened and addressed to everyone, it was silently hard hitting on Senator Weah who, according to him, is fond of leaving sessions halfway to attend other personal activities. He added that among the Liberian delegation, it is only Sen. Weah who goes and sign for his stipends and leaves.
Senator Weah excused himself from the ECOWAS Parliament session to pay a courtesy visit to the Ghanaian President Nana Addo Danqua Akuffu-Addo in Accra.
But in reaction to Weah’s short stay at the Parliament, Sen. Johnson said, “He should have remained here. There are procedures here; when you come for one week, it’s one week, two weeks, it’s two weeks,” Sen. Johnson said.
In his own defense, Sen. Weah said he arrived in Abuja, Nigeria on Feb. 9 and was in session when the Speaker read the memo on Feb. 10.
He said after reading the letter, the Speaker asked to meet with all heads of the various delegations - a meeting which he attended on behalf of the Liberian delegation. “I then asked for excuse to meet with President Addo’s schedule,” Weah said.
Weah’s expressed dismay over FrontPage Africa’s previous story that it was essentially because of him that the Speaker wrote the memo.
“It is sad that they will write such story informing the Liberian public that it is because of me the parliament is making the decision.
“Rodney ended in jail the other day because he did not authenticate his story and what happened. The Liberia 14 years of unrest is because of misinformation to our people and we have grown from that era. We are peaceful and the press needs to be very responsible."
"We are a team here at ECOWAS, we have done so much and all the things we fight for, some of what Liberia is benefiting from, and I hope they realize our team spirit and don’t try to break our team.”
Senators Prince Y. Johnson and George M. Weah of Nimba and Montserrado counties, respectively, and Representatives Jefferson Karmoh, Edwin M. Snowe and Fata H. Siryon of Sinoe, Montserrado and Bomi counties, respectively, constitute Liberia’s representation to the regional parliament. Sen. George Weah heads the delegation.
In May 2016, Weah failed to deliver the country report at the Parliament but rather called on Rep. Snowe to do the presentation on his behalf.