Liberia, The Arrogance Of Power: And You, Too, Senator Dillon?
SENATOR ABRAHAM DARIUS Dillon rode on the coattails of a nation unhappy with the state of affairs of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change government.
A DWINDLING ECONOMY, a leadership battling criticisms of neglecting its grassroots base and an ever-growing sense of urgency that Africa’s oldest republic had once again been betrayed by leadership gaffes which has rocked the very foundation of freedom and independence of a country lingering in abject poverty, abuse of resources a recurring dilemma of economic and political malaise.
IN HIS CANDIDACY, Liberians saw a light, a beacon of hope for a national legislature that has lost its way. From the era of Samuel Kanyon Doe’s reign in the 1980s, to Charles Taylor and former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberians have shown their resentment to the status quo and a body mired in sycophancy and the inability of elected officials to enforce checks and balances to hold the government’s feet to the fire.
LAST AUGUST, Mr. Dillon backed by the four-party alliance representing the former ruling Unity Party, Liberty Party, Alternative National Congress and All Liberian Party, cruised to an emphatic victory in the Montserrado County Special Senatorial race. In final numbers representing results from all 1, 790 polling places or 100 percent in the Montserrado County Senatorial elections, Mr. Dillon secured a total of 102,549 votes for 55.74 percent to Wie’s 63,971 votes for 34.77 percent.
HE FOLLOWED UP his victory last December, after only a year in office, and defied the odds in clinching victory from the ruling party’s candidate Thomas Fallah, receiving 202, 880 votes, representing 61.31% of the total of 98.29% of the polling places.
SINCE HIS ELECTION, HOWEVER, Senator Dillon has made a lot of elementary mistakes and proven time and time again that he lacks the political maturity to soldier on at the helm of those languishing at the bottom of the economic ladder.
We will continue to hold officials of government’s feet to the fire no matter where the chips may fall. If Senator Abraham Darius Dillon is truly the light shining in the dark legislature as he professes, he must live up to the expectations of the top billing of the task he has embarked on. Any sycophants in his circle, telling him otherwise by singing his praises and chanting the songs he wants to hear, is simply leading him down a path of self destruction, to his own detriment – and his own political demise.
THE SENATOR HAS BEEN embroiled in one controversy after the next to his own detriment and disappointment to his many supporters, followers and many who believed in his quest to bring change to the Senate as a voice of change and a voice of reason.
SHORTLY AFTER HIS ELECTION, the Senator found himself embroiled in a US$40,000 jeep scandal.
THE FACT of the matter is Senator Dillon has been a victim of his own creation, raising the bar so high for even himself, and maybe his own detriment.
IN SEPTEMBER 2020, the Senator was embroiled in a controversy regarding a US$40,000 Jeep he accepted as his official car. At the time, Senator Dillon’s supporters reminded him of his previous criticisms against lawmakers riding expensive vehicles.
LAST APRIL when the Senator who had vowed to be the eyes and ears of a nation that had lost trust in a national legislature which had become notoriously renowned for accepting brown envelops in exchange for passage of virtually every major legislation or anything of interest from the Executive Branch of government, found himself in yet another controversy.
MORE RECENTLY, the Senator found himself battling allegation that he along with 29 other members of the Senate had received US$6,500 each as compensation for the passage of President George Manneh Weah’s COVID-19 stimulus package.
IN HIS DEFENSE, the Senator argued that each lawmaker was given USD$ 6,500 from allotment made in the National budget as operational funds, insisting that the money was legal as it went through all the process of acquiring legal pay from the government. “With all my big mouth about integrity, if I had taken bribe to unearth by any news agency or individual, I would resign today but this is a legitimate money, as probably unfair and untimely it may have been this money is legitimate.”
THE SENATOR WAS LATER forced to backpedal on his position and decision to accept the money, telling a news conference, recently: “We set the standards, and we have without doubt become the compass for integrity, openness, transparency and accountability in public service. The focus is placed on us and the public scrutiny of what we do, and how we do it is in place. We indeed welcome and embrace the scrutiny, the criticisms, the rebuke, etc in good strides. We hold no ill-will toward anyone for placing the premium focus on us, whatever the motivations may be. We may not always be right, but we will continue to strive to do our human best to be at our best. This should help to keep us on track for our own good and for good of the country. And indeed, God is in control.”
THIS WEEK, Senator Dillon finds himself embroiled in yet another scandal, this time regarding his recent flight to the United States of America where he reportedly flew on Business Class.
SENATOR DILLON triggered the latest controversy when he posted a photo on Facebook of himself in the business section of a Delta flight en route to New York.
AMID THE CRITICISM and a FrontPageAfrica publication, the Senator took to social media to criticize the publication, terming it as a lie. He posted a screenshot of the original ticket he purchased from Monrovia to New York routing through Accra on Asky and Delta Airline, stating that he flew economy but walked into the business cabin to talk to a foreign friend whom he did not name – something that FPA has discovered was untrue.
IN HIS OWN WORDS, Senator Dillon wrote:
So, I purchased my own TICKET, not from Govt coffers; not taxpayers’ money. I can use my personal earnings to choose to fly any section on a plane, but I always choose to spend judiciously and or to my own convenience as I feel necessary.
Now, as can be seen from the screenshot of my Electronic Ticket, I purchased ECONOMY class seat from Monrovia to America. The photo of me seated in economy class was also posted. During the flight, I walked over to chat with a foreign friend in the business class section of the plane. And now, I see the naysayers and spin-doctors running with “Darius Dillon flew BUSINESS class.”
This is why I always laugh out loud when people make themselves look so dumb and silly WITHOUT making honest effort to know or find out the FACTS/TRUTH before running around in the name of being “moral police”!!
Ya’ll go find another LIE again so I can beat ya’ll with the TRUTH!! Hahaha
A FRONTPAGEAFRICA Investigation this week established that the Senator deceived the public when he said he never flew business class on his recent fund-raising trip to the United States of America.
OUR INVESTIGATION revealed that while it is true that Senator Dillon flew Economy on Asky Airlines from Monrovia to Accra, his economy class ticket for the United States was upgraded in Accra where he flew Z Class on Delta Airlines from Accra to New York.
LIKE MOST OF THE SENATOR’S lapses, he and supporters have become accustomed to launching barrage of attacks on social media, branding the messenger, the media as blackmailers and labeling them as opposition to the Senator, whenever the Senator commits one of his gaffes.
THESE REFRAINS ARE SIMILAR to the ones the current administration of President George Weah often find itself struggling to fend off.
WHILE WE EMBRACE Senator Dillon’s stance on the issues in the Senate, he is not now or will ever be above reproach.
WE ARE COMMITTED TO hold the Senator to the same standards we hold President Weah and his officials.
WE RAISED THE ISSUE in 2018 when Finance and Economic Planning Minister flew First
Class to Beijing and raised the flag when President Weah named a 37-member delegation to his recent visit to France.
IT IS OFTEN SAID that uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. Senator Dillon should expect nothing less than what we have dealt others if he fails to live up to the reasons he was elected.
JUST IN CASE he forgot, Senator Dillon was elected on a mantra of change, to serve up those running afoul of good governance. He was not elected to have his supporters make excuses, or draw contrasts and similarities to what president Weah and his officials are doing or aren’t doing wrong.
MAKE NO MISTAKE, WE WILL CONTINUE to hold officials of government’s feet to the fire – no matter where the chips may fall. If Senator Dillon is truly the light shining in the dark legislature as he professes, he must live up to the expectations of the top billing of the task he has embarked on the cards he has been dealt. Any sycophants in his circle, telling him otherwise by singing his praises and chanting the songs he wants to hear, is simply leading him down a path of self-destruction, to his own detriment – and his own political demise.