Caution to Dillon a New Low for Pro Temp: Albert Chie, a Dishonorable Man Is Wrong for Liberia’s Senate

Senate Pro Temp Albert Chie

WHEN THE LEADER of the Liberian Senate openly attacks an incoming Senator who did the honorable act of declaring his assets prior to taking his seat in the upper house of the national legislature and declaring his intentions of leading the charge in slashing his salary in the wake of a dismal economy, it summed up the crux of everything that is wrong with Liberia and why the country continues to find itself engulfed in a recurring state of uncertainty.

IN HIS QUEST FOR THE Senate, Mr. Dillon made it clear that should Liberians put their faith in his candidacy he would reduce his salary to the minimum of five thousand United States dollars (US$5K) and serve as a light in the darkened legislature and expose things done in secrete at the once they don’t border on National security.

AT HIS INDUCTION THURSDAY, Mr. Dillon stayed true to his words, presenting his assets declaration while prevailing on the Secretary of the Senate to publish them. Mr. Dillon went on to ask his colleagues in the three branches of government to do the same even though he alluded that it is not constitutional to do so.

MR. DILLON’S act, even if symbolic is just what Liberia needs at this moment in time.

A POST-WAR NATION in the midst of a rugged political turmoil and an economy spinning out of control, has seen many Liberians struggling to make ends meet and many parents unable to send their kids to school, much less feed their families.

IN THE MIDST of it all, corruption has remained the constant threat to Liberia’s bourgeoning democracy.

IN BOTH THE LOWER and upper house of the national legislature, lawmakers have stood by and failed to offer a recipe for success while idly standing by and failing to provide oversight and checks and balance of the Executive Branch of Government.

AT THE HELM of the Senate is Albert Chie, who prior to becoming Senate orchestrated the fire sale of most, if not all of Liberia’s natural resources. From the controversial Oil Block 13 to Western Cluster saga, Mr. Chie has been the man behind the scenes, selling Liberia for cheap and amassing massive wealth for himself.

MR. CHIE SHOWED HIS true colors Thursday, taking aim at Mr. Dillon, instead of embracing a fresh face to the Senate promising real change and innovation that has been lacking in the national legislature.

SAID MR. CHIE:  “Here, the rule of the Liberian Senate is the Bible of the Senate and this is a political house. You do what it says. You were elected by the people of Montserrado County but from today’s date you belong to the Liberian Senate that is why the framers of the constitution stated that the power to remove you from here is not with the Liberian people it is with us here, we alone have that power.”

THE PROTEMP CONTINUED: “Here Mr. Senator we act beyond Part party lines. We act and think independently, no party dictates to us. Within six months Mr. Senator you will understand that we do serious business here because legislative politic is Practical and different from church book Politics here we are master of our own rules.”

TO THE CONTRARY, Mr. Chie’s argument is wrong for all the wrong reasons. He has failed to exercise leadership and enforce the independence of the Senate. Joining the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change compromised that independence.

TODAY, BOTH the Speaker and Pro Temp belong to the same political party, as the President, thereby making it difficult to ensure checks and balance between the legislative and executive branch.

WHAT MR. CHIE did Thursday is poised to have a chilling effect on Liberia’s emerging democracy currently in the midst of a turbulent turn toward the obscure.

MR. DILLON SAID nothing wrong Thursday to warrant the Pro Temp suggesting that he could be removed by his peers if he fails to play by the secret and corrupt rules that have brought nothing but disgust to the legislative body from ordinary Liberians.

WHAT MR. DILLON did was simple and commendable. “As a first sign to our commitment we made during our campaign I announce that I will work with the senate to try to reduce our salary, so today considering the economy situation our people are face with, I Senator Abraham Darius Dillon will only accept a salary in the amount of 5K any amount more will be deposited into an escrow account of the county to go toward social development programs of the county. I call on my colleagues in the legislative, Executive, Judiciary branches to please do same. In furtherance to this commitment I also publicly submit my assets to the secretary of the senate. Even though it is not required by law to publish assets but as a sign of transparency and ethic, good leadership and morality should guide us as rational leaders to publish their assets and liability, we came to serve our people and it is our people we will serve.”

IF MR. CHIE DOES NOT understand the language of what Mr. Dillon said Thursday then he clearly does not understand what is happening in Liberia today.

THE COUNTRY is on the brinks of an economic meltdown. The international community including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have made suggestions to the government to slash unnecessary spending and reduce the massive wage bill.

THE GEORGE WEAH-LED government has been trying to make this happen by cutting the salaries of regular civil servants and cutting the wage bill.

IF THOSE elected to serve Liberians have a problem with what Mr. Dillon said Thursday and what the international community has proposed to help curb the declining economy, then Liberia is in serious trouble.

THOSE ELECTED to serve cannot have a problem while claiming to support President Weah’s Pro-Poor Agenda, for which the Pro Temp and others have been flocking to the President’s corner.

MR. CHIE MUST issue an apology to Mr. Dillon and those who gave him their votes to serve as a Senator.

HIS UTTERANCE Thursday speaks volumes to how far removed the legislative body is from the plight, pain and suffering of those languishing at the bottom of the economic ladder.

WHAT MR. CHIE has shown by his attacks on Mr. Dillon, is that he and his peers in the Senate and their counterparts in the lower house, lack understanding of Liberia’s problems and do not deserve to be given another chance when voters head to the polls in the 2020 Mid Term elections.

TAKE NOTE Liberians, of the measure of those you elect to serve; take note of their sincerity and whether or not they have the ability to put country before self – the most important ingredient for anyone with an ambition to serve. Anything short of that is a recipe for failure and an avenue for  neglect.