Liberia: Movement against Representatives’ Senate Elections Rallies Voters to Reject 17 Lawmakers on December 8

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Monrovia –  A group, under the banner,  Movement Against the Election of Representatives to the Senate of Liberia (MATERSEL) has termed as greedy and over ambitious, the decision of several members of the House of Representatives to run for the Senate while they have not completed their respective terms.

There are 17 members of the House that are vying for senatorial seats in their respective counties in the ensuing December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial Elections (SSE).

They include Representatives:

  1. Thomas P. Fallah, Coalition for Democratic Change, District #5, Montserrado County
  2. Vincent Willie, Independent Candidate, District #4, Grand Bassa
  3. Isaac Blalu Roland, Independent Candidate, District #3, Maryland County
  4. Mambu Sonnie, Independent Candidate, District #2, Grand Cape Mount
  5. Emmerson V. Kamara, People’s Unification Party, District #3, Grand Cape Mount
  6. Deputy Speaker Prince Moye, CPP, District #2, Bong County)
  7. Julie F. Wiah, Independent Candidate, District #2, Lofa County
  8. Mariamu B. Fofana, All Liberia Coalition Party, District #4, Lofa County
  9. Jeremiah K. Koung, Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction, District #1, Nimba County
  10.  George E. S. Boley, Independent Candidate, District #2, Grand Gedeh County
  11.  Zoe E. Pennue, Coalition for Democratic Change, District #1, Grand Gedeh
  12. Edwin M. Snowe, Independent, District #1 Bomi County
  13. Nathaniel N. Bahway, Liberian National Union, District #1, Grand Kru
  14. Ben A. Fofana, District, Collaborating Political Parties #4, Margibi County
  15. Ivar K. Jones, Coalition for Democratic Change, District #2, Margibi County
  16. Francis S. Younge, Independent Candidate, District #2, River Gee County
  17. Alfred G. Koiwood, Coalition for Democratic Change, District #1, Gbarpolu County

MATERSEL said, while it acknowledges that there is no such law requiring member of the House of Representatives to resign before contesting in other elections, it believes that the decision of these lawmakers to abandon their unexpired terms to contest for the Senate is in inappropriate and may have a huge financial burden on the state if they were to be elected.

“Being a sitting Representative and contesting for another position is a clear attempt to portray how greedy, over ambitious, selfish and psychopathic those individuals are. They mean no good for Liberia and the people who voted for them and as such, we must resist them,” the group lambasted in a landmark statement issued in Monrovia recently.

It continued: “On that note, The Movement Against the Election of Representative to the Senate of Liberia hereby declare the following individuals as threats to the national coffers of the state. They should be resisted in every corner because their intention is to put another financial burden on the country by causing us to spend the people’s money on by-elections if any of them should win on December 8, 2020”.

In the statement signed by Denyuwa Eli C. Berrian and Richlue O. Burphy, Secretary General National Chairman respectively, MATERSEL said the economy is already shattered, and citing the WFP and World Bank, said more than two thirds of the population are still languishing in abject poverty, with 1.3 million living in extreme poverty with evidence that the situation is progressively worse.

Of recent, the group noted that there have been repeated uprisings and unrest in the motherland compounding to the preexisting issues us “irregular salaries and lack of adequate resources and health workers laying down their equipment, just to signal out how they have been getting maltreated in the health sector.”

It adds, “As you are aware, our health system plays a vital role which cannot be stressed enough towards the existence of the citizenry. Without a good health sector, people will get sick and die, which is currently already happening”.

The group pointed out that the agriculture sector has retrogressed desperately, with Liberia now spending US$100 million to import its staple food, rice.

Compounding the food production problem, the group noted, is the lack of a proper road network to transport local farmers’ produce to towns and villages around the country, stating, “Whatever food is actually produced then becomes a challenge to get to the market and eventually to the people, causing and unimaginable setback to the sector resulting in majority of their produce perishing. The education system is also suffering from regression in comparison to our peers in the sub-region.”

It added that school children who are incidentally the future leaders of the country are being cheated and robbed of their future because they are not being properly educated due of the low standards in the schools and the lack of priority given to the sector by the government.

It named the lack of resources, properly qualified teachers, oversight of schools in the sector, government support for poorer children as some of the many challenges faced in the sector.

“These are only some of the negatives that are tearing down the sanity of the nation’s democracy,” it said, adding that, while legislative staffers are protesting for salaries, NGOs flagging the dubious ways they have been treated, journalists are crying for security, civil servants dramatizing their demands for transparency and sincerity, Liberians cannot continue to sit folding their hands and pretending that nothing is happening.

It accused the aforementioned Representatives of avoiding the reality of the economic situation of the country and attempting to rob the little that should be directed to the struggling people, who as usual are always victims of their unfulfilled promises.

Writing further, the group said the people cannot continuously embrace the delusive phantom of hope that is being provided by these “state looters and regime stooges,” it is of the ideology that every government should focus on the welfare of the people above all else.

It called for Liberians to collectively work towards the sustainable development of the country through the appropriate and efficient utilization of state resources, adding “We should strive towards an adequate health, education, and agriculture sectors. Good schools and roads should be standard in the country, our teachers, nurses and all civil servants should be paid regularly and on time. Above all else we should not subject state resources to wasteful projects such as by-elections.”

Meanwhile, the group’s statement comes in the wake of the National Elections Commission (NEC) and the 54th Legislature’s decision to blend the by-elections of Montserrado District #9 and Sinoe County District #2 with the December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial Elections and National Referendum in a bid to reduce the cost associated with conducting the two elections separately.

The NEC, in September of this year said the amount of US$390,214.32 was needed to conduct the By-elections, with Montserrado County District #9 taking US$223,423.97, while US$166,790.35 was projected for Sinoe County District #2.

In a communication to House Speaker Bhofal Chambers seeking Legislative approval, the NEC Chairperson, Madam Davidetta Brown Lansanah said the budget presented to the Legislature was far less than it would have been if the by-elections were held separately from the December 8 polls.

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