Will ‘The Real’ Bhofal Chambers Please Stand Up!!!
NO MEMBER OF Liberia’s national legislature haunted former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf than Bhofal Chambers. The District No. 2, Maryland County representative took the Sirleaf administration to task on numerous occasions, but was even more vocal against the former administration’s spending more than $200 million in lobbying fees to foreign firms in the United States.
CITING A U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT REPORT, Chambers charged that between 2006 to 2009, 102 lobby payments were tracked by foreign lobby trackers, amounting to an alleged $263 million.
MR. CHAMBERS as a member of the opposition and a regular lawmaker was so angry with what he described as corruption and bad governance by the Sirleaf administration that in December 2011, he refused to shake hands with the former President at a program marking the certification of winners of the 2011 presidential and legislative elections.
THAT WAS YESTERDAY. Since his election as Speaker of the Lower House of the National Legislature, the Maryland County lawmaker has taken a 360 turn against the very issues he once despised, overseeing a body that has so far refused or rejected oversight of bills, legislation and shady nominations while remaining silent on critical issues and issuing vile threats against peers in the lower house speaking truth to power and addressing a number of missteps by the speaker’s office.
LAST WEEK, three members of the lower house, Rep. Jay Nagbe Sloh of Sinoe County District 2, Rep. Thomas Goshua of Grand Bassa County District 5, Beyan Howard of Lofa District 5, Rep. Adolph A. Lawrence of Montserrado County District 15, Rep. Yekeh Kolubah of Montserrado County District 10 and Rep. Vincent Willie of Grand Bassa District 4 took the speaker to task and accused him of lacking leadership ability to ensure the standardization of all benefits of Lawmakers, delay in the provision of Legislative Support Project funds to foster developments, Duty-free gasoline among others as some of the internal issues that need executive session discussion.
THE SPEAKER IN RESPONSE, has threatened to punish any member of the lower house who raise questions about alleged improprieties unfolding in his office.
TODAY, SPEAKER CHAMBERS, like the Pro Temp of the Senate, has become a key ally of the Executive branch, lowering the possibility of any imaginable sign of checks and balance, thus shattering the hopes of many who voted in hopes that those at the helm of power would address their needs, seek their interests and keep other branches of government in check.
AS A RESULT, Speaker Chambers has turned a blind eye to a number of issues dogging the Executive branch of government, specifically, the missing LD16 billion and the infusion of US$25 million into the economy.
TO DATE, the lower house as well as the upper house have failed to get to the bottom of the scandal and have made no effort to ensure transparency and accountability.
AS AN OPPOSITION, Chambers was a regular on talk radio, trumpeting the ills in society and holding the previous government’s feet to the fire. As an incumbent, it appears the fire has been lost and the once-fiery lawmaker has lost his way.
WE HOPE and pray that Mr. Chambers would channel his past and find the fire in his belly and begin asking critical issues about the current administration.
IT IS NEVER TOO LATE to change and never too late to realize when one has taken his eye off the ball. But the future of Liberia is at stake and it requires the political will to carry out due diligence and hold government feet to the fire.
THE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN the Sirleaf government and what we are witnessing with the Weah-led government are glaring. This is why we hope that speaker Chambers can muster the courage to revisit his old self and raise critical questions about what is unfolding in Liberia today.