Liberia: The Rights of Makanvee Sheriff Were Equally Violated by the House of Reps.


THE ACTION OF MAKANVEE Sheriff and her relatives on the grounds of the Capitol on Tuesday may have been overboard, but it resonates with many Liberians who are fed up being taken advantage of our so-called lawmakers.

ONE MAY ARGUE that her action, as wrong as it may appear, grew out of the frustration and disrespect she may have experienced from a lawmaker who, perhaps, felt by virtue of his portfolio is above the law.

LAWMAKERS and other government officials violating traffic rules and endangering lives and properties under the guise of being exempt is becoming a menace in the country. We must not wait until the worst happens before we begin to revise the law. The immunities these officials have been granted by the Constitution are privileges, not rights and they must understand that.

THIS IS WHY we agree with the Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon when he opined that it is an intimidation and pure abuse of power for any Chamber of the Legislature to hold a citizen or any person in contempt for matters arising between a lawmaker or lawmakers and non-members of the legislature that are NOT cognizable before the Legislature in so far such issues do not “obstruct or impede” functions of the Legislature.

THE MONTSERRADO Senator cited Article 44 of the Constitution which states: “Disputes between Legislators and non-members (of the Legislature) which are properly cognizable in the courts shall not be entertained or heard in the Legislature.”

THIS IS WHY WE believe the that the rights of Madam Sheriff was equally trampled upon by members of the House of Representatives. Their action was clearly an act of bully meted against a citizen.

THE TRAFFIC LAW was never intended to be applied to a particular sect of people while others ride on with impunity.

HONORABLE MEMBERS of the Legislature and officials of government must act honorably. There is nothing honorable about violating traffic laws.

RENOWN LAWYER, Cllr. Tiawon Gongle is on record for describing the so-called amendment to the traffic law that gave them the right to use ‘third lane’ as chaotic to the traffic.

“I don’t like it but I’m not a legislator but I believe that it has the tendency to create a situation where more Liberian citizens would be considered first-class citizens and will create more chaos in the traffic,” said Cllr. Gongloe, who is also the president of the Liberia National Bar Association.

Adding to the confusion relating the term “vehicles owned or operated” those exempted from the traffic rules, is the fact that the amendment does not break down the terms and conditions and members of both houses and government never fully explained the amendment to the public.

THE LAW ALSO does not say anything about regular commuters who follow exempted officials in traffic in view of traffic officers.

THERE HAVE SO MANY incidents to prompt the police, ministry of transport and the legislature to have a relook at the traffic law and ensure that undue privileges to a sect of individuals do not continue to put lives and properties at risk.

OUR HONORABLE MEN and women must act honorably.