Liberia: Defiant Speaker: Once-Outspoken Chambers Entangled in Public Rebuke with his Gavel on the line
LONDON; MONROVIA – As a leading opposition voice during the reign of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Representative Bophal Chambers was a force to be reckoned with, taking on the former President on key issues that propelled him to an unrivalled status as a leader amongst his peers. Now, Speaker of the lower House, Chambers has come under fire from critics and supporters alike, baffled over his sudden reversal of politics that has many scratching their heads.
In recent months, the speaker has been taken to task by his own peers over the manner in which he has been trying to shield what some say is his kitchen cabinet – Reps Thomas Fallah and Jeremiah Koon, who were involved in the L$16 billions saga. And he is constantly at war with the former president, which is personal.
More importantly, the speaker’s constant defiance of the international community is resurrecting past ghosts now coming back to haunt him.
First was war crimes court, now no submission to international investigation into the missing billions. Yet, he is constantly pushing the house to 4G everything. His major agenda items were failures. He did not bring up the citizenship priority of the president, and he was at the fore pushing through two bogus loan bills.
And his many blunders since inauguration when he recognized someone to second a motion that was not yet a member of the house. Most ridiculously, he openly breached the Constitution when he said that President Weah promised to make him Speaker of the House couple of years before his ascendency at the Executive.
Said Chambers: “I also want to thank His Excellency Ambassador George Manneh Weah, who saw in me two years ago, and told me that ‘whatever it is, when things happen in our way,’ you will be the next Speaker of the Republic of Liberia.”
He is still in his radical mode and has not yet graduated to a leader except for the fact that he bought a new house and a car for 12,0000 car.
Lawmakers Shun Chambers
It is becoming glaring that the recent Press Conference held by House Speaker Bhofal Chambers that could undermine the ongoing investigation has become a National embarrassment and that the Press Conference by the first amongst equals was a one man decision even though it has sparked public outrage against the the body.
Aware of the embarrassment of his comments, Chamber came out to deny some of the very things he said. To make matter worst some of his colleagues have distanced themselves from his controversial comments and warned him to stay clear of the investigation.
Since his Press Conference, the Mary Land County lawmaker has received criticism from government officials from the Executive and some of his own colleagues.
Sources from the Executive Mansion have also confided in this paper that President Weah is not happy with Speaker Chambers and has asked him to retract the statement.
In response to that request from President Weah, the office of the Speaker issued another Press release denying all of the comment’s he had said at the press conference on Thursday 18 October 2018. The Speaker, in the release, claimed the media misinterpreted him even though there are audio and video available from the Speaker proving the contrary.
A release under the signature of Chamber’s Political Officer, George Watkins says “the insinuation or disinformation in the Liberian media on the reportage about the Speaker ranting against the probability of the House of Representatives putting up non-compliance posture with independent investigators on account of the “LDR 16-Billion “is far-fetched and disingenuous to the actual intent and statement of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Even though the speaker had accused the Media of misinterpreting, he had earlier rejected the possibility of submitting to the foreign investigators.
“The people from the FBI know contemporary Democracy; they know contemporary constitution. They will never think of inviting the House of Representative for an investigation doing so will be a failure on their part,” he said at a press conference on Thursday at the Capitol.
“There was some speculations that the chief clerk [of the House] was invited and if that is true it was an oversight and people involved have settled that, but this body cannot be invited for investigation.”
Chambers left alone
A day after the Speaker’s Press Conference, a group of Lawmakers distanced themselves from his comments stating that Speaker Chambers position was not at the approval of the House of Representatives and that he acted alone.
The lawmakers accused Chambers of using the office of the Speaker to launch a stinking attack on former officials of government, and to paint a controversial picture of defiance and non-cooperation by the 54th National Legislature regarding the ongoing investigation on the alleged missing L$16 billion saga.
“These unilateral and personalized comments’ emanating from the Honourable Speaker is a Lone statement and position that do not represent the condensed decision of the House’s Plenary and the Leadership of the House,” the lawmakers said in a statement.
“As members of the 54th National Legislature, we welcome the investigation on the current 16-billion Liberian dollars, and remain cooperative to ensuring a logical conclusion in the interest of the Liberian people.”
According to the lawmakers, because of the integrity of the 54th National Legislature matters any or all members of the Legislature who for any reason are to be subject to investigation should comply with extent provided for in the Law, and in the interest of the Liberian people, while warning the Speaker to refrain from use of the House’s platform in “launching his attack on the former officials of government”.
They warned, “Doing so will sway the debate in a non-productive manner to the detriment of the Liberian people.”
Lawmakers include that rejected the Speaker’s statement concerning the ongoing investigation are: Francis Saidy Dopoh, Representative, District #3 River Gee County, Thomas Goshua Representative, District #5 Grand Bassa County, . Dowoin T. Gleekia Representative, District #6 Nimba County, Richard N. Koon Representative, District #11 Montserrado County, Hanson S. Kiazolu Representative, District #1Montserrado County, Yekeh Y. Kolubah Representative, District #10 Montserrado.