Liberia: ‘Independent Legislative Caucus’ Meets Pres. Weah; Alarms Speaker Chambers’ ‘Poor’ Leadership
Monrovia – Lawmakers of the “ the Independent legislative caucus” say they expect House Speaker Bhofal Chambers to reinvent his leadership style due to insistent complaints coming from his colleagues.
The lawmakers, who are members of the House of Representatives, recently held two meetings with President George Weah aimed at brokering a truce amid increasing discontent at the Capitol.
During the meetings, the lawmakers outlined nine pertinent issues including several disagreements with the leadership of the Speaker and the repeated criticisms of the President by Montserrado County’s District #10 Representative Yekeh Kolubah.
The lawmakers informed the President that Rep Kolubah does not have a personal issue with him rather his criticisms are based on fundamental issues affecting the state.
Details of the meetings were disclosed to FrontPageAfrica Tuesday by Grand Bassa County’s lawmaker Vicent Willie, who has been speaking on behalf of the aggrieved lawmakers since they first met the President on Sunday.
Hon Willie, who shared photos of their first talks with the President on Facebook Sunday, claimed that their bloc is made of “few conscious legislators that think the same way” and have been ignored by Speaker Chambers.
“We’ve been rising this thing from the day we arrived at the Legislature up to current; we have flagged several issues and it was based upon the poor management and the way things were being handled in the house,” said Willie in an interview with FPA.
The Grand Bassa County’s District Four, who won the 2017 elections as an independent candidate, claims that “Speaker Chambers is not paying attention to the entire membership of the House” and has been putting up a none compliance posture.
“We were elected to make law but if you put your hands up in the session and the Speaker cannot recognize you or take your view that undermines your work as a lawmaker.
“The Speaker does not recognize us – if you sent your letter, your letter will not surface on the floor and when you raise issues, he doesn’t listen,” Rep Willie alleged, adding that the Speaker has been blatantly violating the standing rules of the House including his recent dissolution of several standing committees.
Amongst several other issues also discussed with President Weah, Hon Willie said prime amongst them was a concern about the delays in the disbursement of funds by the Ministry of Finance for the implementation of Legislative Support Projects across the 73 electoral districts.
He stressed that many lawmakers are blaming Speakers Chambers for ignoring their repeated calls for the implementation of Legislative support projects.
“Because he wants us to be seen as not working for our people so he refuses to exercise his leadership to ensure these projects are done for our people,” he claimed.
“That is why we have been concerned because the Speaker is not committed to ensuring that the ministry of Finance disburses these funds.”
Following these meetings, Willie says they “will now watch and see whether or not his leadership will change” to ensure that “the platform will be created for us to do what we were elected to do”.
However, the “independent” lawmakers’ sit-down with the President has been criticized by many with some alleging that their move to complain the Speaker to the President undermines the Legitimacy of the Legislature and validates entrenched perception that the legislative branch of government is a rubber stamp.
But Hon. Willie argued that they had not gone to complain Speaker Chambers but rather to mitigate the intensifying political feud.
He, however, said the meeting was successful and that the “President created the room for dialogue which we have welcomed”.
“The president cannot come and solve our problem in plenary but the enabling environment can be created for every one of us to work for the country,” he said.
The independent legislative caucus has become known for their critical stance against the leadership of Speaker Chambers while many of them have openly criticized several policies of the Weah-led government.
They bloc started as four members but has now grown into a caucus of over 20 members due to their “persistent critical stance against the Speaker’s Poor management of the house,” Willie said.
He added that their advocacy is not an attack against the President but an antidote to the dismal handling of the House’s proceeding by the Speaker.
“Becuase our colleagues are not happy – even some of those who are around him are not even happy because of the way he’s leading and these are silent supporters of the Independent Legislative Caucus. They want to speak but they are around him.