Liberia: ‘Independent Legislative Caucus’ Rallies for Speaker Bhofal Chamber’s Removal
Monrovia – “Today the campaign begins for the removal of a coward Speaker, who lacks leadership skills to lead and charisma to govern and unite people in the House of Representatives. Moving onward, I will do no business with Speaker Chambers because he is not my Speaker,” Representative Francis Saidy Dopoh, District #3 lawmaker, River Gee County.
Report by Lisa T. Diasay, Contributor
His comments come in the wake of the absence of Speaker Bhofal Chambers and other key members of the Montserrado County Legislative Caucus from the funeral of the late Rep. Adolph Lawrence, which was held recently at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Monrovia. The late Rep. Lawrence was a member of the Montserrado County Legislative Caucus; a member of the Independent Legislative Caucus (ILC) and vocal on the leadership of Speaker Chambers.
Chambers and some members of Montserrado Caucus, majority of whom are from the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), have come under serious criticisms and condemnations for their refusal to attend a colleague and partisan’s funeral, which many believed would have been walkway for reconciliation.
Some members of the Independent Legislative Caucus (ILC), with majority of its membership from the House of Representatives have been alluding to the lack of leadership ability to control happenings in and out of chambers.
The House Speaker represents District #2 in Maryland County in the Legislature.
The ILC’s chair on Governance and Economy, River Gee County’s District #3 lawmaker Dopoh is of the strongest conviction that Chambers should be removed in order to change the style of leadership.
In an interview with journalists in Monrovia, Rep. Dopoh outlined denials of communication and reservations on the floor from members of the ILC block; shielding of government officials from providing information to satisfy the work of oversight by the Legislature in connection with the constitution and inability of handling Legislative matters as some of the reasons for their move for his removal.
“Let me state this, I will personally campaign for the removal of Speaker Chambers because he is cruel, with no trace of leadership ability anywhere in the Liberia or the world. I don’t care whether he is from the southeast, but the truth must be told and the right thing must be done to help our people,” Rep. Dopoh stated.
He further maintained that as it is stated by some key stalwarts of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) ‘Cleaning the Mess’, that cleaning up must firstly start from the body that makes law.
Rep. Dopoh noted that the Independent Legislative Caucus is prepared to push on the agenda for reform and change within the House of Representatives in order to rebrand the institution for respect to the constituents which they represent. “The ILC was never formed to remove the Speaker but to ensure a better reform and he will be removed base on the ‘issues’ and not on ‘hearsay’.
“This Speaker needs repentance because he is continuously in error with the way he has been proceeding on legislative matters, especially with the disorder of the flow in session and the late start of session, which contravene our rules; Speaker Chambers must go,” Rep. Dopoh said.
All seems to be steady as the Speaker is currently losing grips with his colleagues hosting corner meetings aimed at his removal and close allies are currently contemplating on crossing over to the Independent Legislative Caucus.
Another member of ILC has a different view on Speaker Chambers’ removal. Montserrado County’s District #4 Representative Rustonlyn Suakoko Dennis, who is also the Co-Chair of the ILC, believes that dialogue with the Speaker on the above listed issues would serve better on records than to rush to his removal.
“I don’t believe majority members of the ILC will just want to remove the Speaker like that, I think it will be good to hold a meeting with the Speaker and outline all of our grievances to him and hear him out and it is the right way,” Rep. Dennis.
Rep. Dennis pointed out that Speaker Chambers needs some time to adjust and digest the current leadership in parliament. “I will be the last to remove him if votes were taken because I don’t undermine people, even though I believe that many persons currently in the House possess the characteristics of being Speaker but let the current Speaker be given some time and proper dialogue”.
With all these criticisms and counter reactions, the Office of the Speaker is yet to release a statement. Legislative reporters pulled in on Speaker Chambers to inquire from him but to no avail as he was preparing for Monday’s leadership meeting.
Critics believe that the current waves of attack against Speaker Chambers are flashbacks to the last days of former Speakers Alex Tyler and Edwin Snowe. They believe Speaker Chambers must take cue from the criticisms coming at him to take the correct measures and actions to ensure that the House of Representatives maintains a respectable and responsible status.