Liberia: Two Bong Representatives Thrown out of Session for Raining Insults at Each Other

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Capitol Hill, Monrovia – Two members of the Bong County Legislative Caucus, Representatives Marvin Cole (District #3) and James Kolleh (District #2) were thrown out of the House’s regular session on Tuesday for their unwholesome behaviors.

Reps. Cole and James Kolleh were engulfed in a heated argument in Plenary when the Director General of the Central Agriculture Research Institute (CARI) Dr. Victor Sumo was being grilled following his appearance before the House.

To the surprise of their colleagues, the lawmakers’ arguments soon degenerated into acrimonious verbal attacks as both of them rained insults at each other.

The disagreement and harsh exchange of words first ensued between Rep. Cole and Rep. Edward Karfia, (District #5, Bong), whose constituency CARI is situated. Karfia is considered as the political father of Rep. Kolleh and is credited for immensely supporting Kolleh in the by-election that landed him to the Legislature.

During Dr. Sumo’s cross-examinations, Karfia expressed disappointment over what he called the poor state of CARI under the leadership of Dr. Sumo, who he said had gone through the rank and file of the institution before ascending at the highest administrative position. He named salary disparity, the lack of funding for research purposes and government’s refusal to pay retired workers’ pension benefits as the most pressing issues at the institution that needed urgent attention. 

Rep. Cole disagreed; stating that most of the issues raised by Karfia are not in the purview of the CARI’s management as they are tied around budgetary allocations.

During the heated exchanges between Cole and Karfia, Kolleh sprung in defense of Karfia, much to the annoyance of Cole. Then the insults began to rain.

Rep. Marvin Cole: “Guess what, I can call people to disgrace you. You don’t have gangsters more than me. You usele** man, I will deal with you. I got security, I got manpower. I will deal with you. You are risking your very life.”

Rep. Kolleh: “I dare you! You are not a man. You can’t do anything to me. You will only touch him (Rep. Edward Karfia) in my absence; not while I am present. That will be your last.”

With these exchanges, Deputy Speaker J. Fonati Koffa who have had enough on his plate ordered the Deputy Sergeant-at-arms to escort them out of the Chamber.

Observers have turned the acrimony among the Bong County lawmakers as the fight for supremacy in the county going toward the highly anticipated 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections.

Meanwhile, the plenary has mandated the CARI’s Director General to submit to the House’s Specialized Committee investigating allegations of bad labor practice at CARI.

Members of the Committee including Representative P. Mike Jurry of Maryland County accused the embattled CARI’s boss of being recalcitrant towards the Committee. Rep. Jurry said the Committee visited CARI as part of its investigation but the Director-General refused to cooperate.

He was backed by fellow Committee members Reps. Ivar Jones of Margibi and Prince Tokpah of Nimba.

The appearance of the CARI’s boss also stemmed from the specialized Committee’s complaint to plenary; accusing the CARI’s Boss of ignoring its work. The Committee implored the indulgence of Plenary to invite the Director General to address the matters of salary disparities, harmonization, bad labor practices, and his refusal to appear before the committee to resolve the matter that is causing constant disruption in the institution’s activities.

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