Liberia: Lawmakers Must Blame Themselves for Not Taking Pay for Four Months

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THE INDECISIVENESS of lawmakers to return to the Capitol adds absolutely no insult to the injury Liberia is already enduring. In essence, it would save the country hundreds and thousands of dollars they are desperate to pocket in exchange for doing what the president wants – printing new banknotes. 

THE FUNDAMENTAL questions are being ignored amid increasing unconfirmed reports that some lawmakers have already endorsed the printing of new money. These are accounts that are quite improbable to authenticate now, however; we are wary that the economy would go further in abyss if these lawmakers do business as usual by giving the green light for the printing of money avoid of an informed decision.

“THEY DON’T WANT a situation where they will come and have to wait for the finalization of why they were called back, so they are waiting for that to be done,” said Isaac Redd, Director of Press for the House, in defense of his bosses decision not to return to an extraordinary session.

ADDITIONALLY, another lawmaker said: “You cannot owe us four months’ arrears and expect us to come back and work. We haven’t gotten our gas for months, so why should we come back? If we come back, they will feel we are making extra money, so they wouldn’t take our salary issue seriously.” 

LAWMAKERS WERE expected to return for an extraordinary sitting on November 18, 2019 and were expected to stay up to December 11, 2019, according to a release from the Senate’s Press and Public Affairs. President Weah’s Communication to the Legislature requesting it to return is in consonance with Article 32(b) of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia. 

THE FRAMERS OF our Constitution were wise compatriots. They did not separate power and give the Legislature specific powers in order for the President to have his will. There must be check and balance in every democracy. It allows for scrutiny in order to forestall possible national problems like the ones we find ourselves. 

NOW, IT APPEARS that the possibility of returning is incumbent upon the lawmakers getting their salaries. We think it’s a shame that lawmakers are toothless and are often cornered by the Presidency. Not getting salary for four months is definitely a by-product of their cowardice and rubberstamp legislative functions that have manifested over the years. 

WE HAVE WITNESSED several flawed legislative proceedings including the massively failed attempt by the government to obtained two shady loans. The handling and so-call 4G passage of legislations have created inklings with some decisions backfiring.

LAWMAKERS RATIFIED a certain Eton and EBOMAF loan deals against the advice of several of our international partners. Thankfully, the two deals were a complete flop after being questioned by critics but the lawmakers were again insensitive. It turned out even more shambolic when the lawmakers said that they will ratify any loan deals even if it “comes from the devil”. 

THE REMNANTS of that cluttering failed loan deals still hover and might not go away any time soon. It adds to several other missteps of the George Weah administration that would have been checkmated or averted by the lawmakers who should have maximized their oversight responsibility as ascribed to them by the Constitution. Unfortunately, like many Liberians, we too, think that the Legislature has a big role in this country’s ong standing problems.  

THEY HAVE SO much power but toss them to the Presidency in exchange for lobby fees. Now, they are victims of an imperial presidency they have also help created. The poor state of the economy is also the making of the lawmakers; hence, they too must bear the brunt.

THE FRAMERS OF our Constitution were wise compatriots. They did not separate power and give the Legislature specific powers in order for the President to have his will. There must be check and balance in every democracy. It allows for scrutiny in order to forestall possible national problems like the ones we find ourselves. 

DISAPPOINTINGLY, that check and balance as implied in our organic law are seemingly extinct because the Capitol is filled with lawmakers who are either conflicted, corrupt or cowardice.    

WHETHER OR NOT lawmakers will get their salary and benefits when they return in January or they will have the audacity to approve the printing of new banknotes without asking the hard questions, is squarely based on the pecuniary benefits for them and not the state. Our reliance is the several questionable decisions we have seen them make in the last couple of years.     

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