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Liberia: Disenchanted Lawmakers Threaten to Remove House Speaker, Deputy Speaker Moye for Refusing Salary Cut

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House Speaker Dr. Bhoafa Chambers and Deputy Speaker Prince Moye are accused of not supporting the Gov’t’s Harmonization program and refused to allowed cuts in their salaries and basic allowances

Capitol Hill, Monrovia – A group of angry members of the House of Representatives have threatened to remove House Speaker Bhofal Chambers and Deputy Speaker Prince Moye for their alleged refusal to allow cuts in their salaries and allowances. 

“This is unfortunate for the Liberian people, and being the head of the Unity Party Legislative Caucus, which is the biggest opposition political party blog in the Legislature, I want to inform the Liberian people that if Speaker Bhofal Chambers maintains his salary at US$40,000 per month, that is US$29,000 by allowance and US$15,000 gasoline allowance, we will resist it upon our return. There will be a revolution here.”

– Hanson Kiazolu, Member, House of Representatives

Addressing reporters after a tense session at the Capitol Building late Wednesday, October 9, the lawmakers led by Rep. Hanson S. Kiazolu (Montserrado County District #17) alarmed they had gathered that Speaker Chambers and his Deputy, Moye have refused to cut their salaries.

The Office of the Speaker was reached for comments but a spokesperson stated the office could not comment immediately. He said the Speaker is expected to address the media today, Thursday, October 10.

Deputy Speaker Prince Moye could not be reached as his office was closed when our reporter checked in. He could not be reached on his phone, either.

Rep. Kiazolu was joined by his colleagues including Reps. Rustonlyn Suacoco Dennis (Montserrado Co. District #4), Francis Dopoh (River Gee County District #3) and Ellen A. Attoh of Margibi County District #3.

Rep. Kiazolu, who also chairs the opposition Unity Party lawmakers noted that it was unfortunate for the civil servants and the Judiciary to allow cuts in their salaries, yet the Speaker, who earns a combined total of US$40,000 as allowance (US$29,000) and gasoline (US$15,000) monthly would refuse to allow cuts.

According to him if the Speaker and his Deputy ignore the harmonization program as initiated by the government, there will be repercussions upon their return from the constituency break.

 “This is unfortunate for the Liberian people, and being the head of the Unity Party Legislative Caucus, which is the biggest opposition political party blog in the Legislature, I want to inform the Liberian people that if Speaker Bhofal Chambers maintains his salary at US$40,000 per month, that is US$29,000 by allowance and US$15,000 gasoline allowance, we will resist it upon our return. There will be a revolution here,” said Rep. Kiazolu. 

When asked by reporters what evidence they have that could back their claims, Rep. Kiazolu and his colleagues stated like civil servants, there were cuts in their salaries and allowances, but they have gathered that the two top lawmakers are not being affected.

Further pushing their claims, they accused the Speaker of highlighting the achievements in terms of major decisions and laws passed by Plenary during its ‘Second Sitting.’

“If this Speaker fails or refuses, along with the Deputy Speaker to accept such cuts, and that they received pay equal to the amount that they have been receiving prior to the harmonization process, we will work with our colleagues to mobilize a resolution for their removal. Because it is unfortunate and it is not in the interest of the Legislature and the people they represent.”

– Francis Dopoh, Member, House of Representatives
Rep. Hanson Kiazolu of Montserrado County’s 17th Electoral District is leading the charge to condemn Speaker Bhofal Chambers and Deputy Speaker Moye for allegedly refusing cut in their salaries and allowances

Also Speaking, Rep. Dopoh insisted the harmonization program was now a law passed by both Houses pending President Weah’s signature.

Through the harmonization process, he said the Vice President’s salary has been cut to US$14,000, while President Weah gets US$7,000 as take home pay. 

President Weah is on record for waiving 25 percent of his monthly income.

Prior to the harmonization, the Office of the Speaker received US$29,000 as allowance, Deputy Speaker Moye, US$25,000 and President Pro Tempore, Albert Chie made US$28,000.

Rep. Dopoh stated he could not confirm whether the salary of Pro Tempore Chie was harmonized, however, there are indications that Speaker Chambers and the Deputy Speaker are not supporting the salary cuts.

Rep. Dopoh: “If this Speaker fails or refuses, along with the Deputy Speaker to accept such cuts, and that they received pay equal to the amount that they have been receiving prior to the harmonization process, we will work with our colleagues to mobilize a resolution for their removal. Because it is unfortunate and it is not in the interest of the Legislature and the people they represent.”

‘Shithole Assembly’

For her part, Rep. Rustonlyn Suacoco Dennis, in a US President Donald Trump-styled comments, asserted that the Legislature will be a ‘shithole’ assembly if it is established that Speaker Chambers and Deputy Speaker Moye refused to cut their pays and nothing is done. 

“We will be leaving a salary of US$8,500 to literally US$5,000, and a gasoline cut from US$2,220 to US$1,100; something that we all agreed to do with heavy hearts looking at the present reality,” she said.

“It shocked me to know that our Speaker and Deputy Speaker will have a gasoline of US$15,000 and say no, they don’t want to reduce it. You have a salary of US$29,000 and don’t want to reduce to US$19,000. For me in a clear sense, I will say it will be a shithole assembly if the House will sit there and allow the Speaker and Deputy Speaker not to adjust and we adjusted.”

Supporting her colleagues, Rep. Ellen Attoh noted that the decision for salary cut was a national responsibility and as such, all officials should abide by it. 

“We are people of integrity and our word should be our bond. The fact that we all agreed on it holistically, I think we should live by it. I will add my voice to the many voices to say there will be serious actions taken. We are not going to take it lightly,” she vowed.

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