The Collaborating Political Parties or CPP says it vehemently objects and will oppose any attempt to silence, suspend or remove Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon from the Senate.
“This is a planned and determined effort to silence critical and independent voices in the Senate, and eventually remove them. Dillon, being the loudest opposition voice in the senate, is the primary target”, observes CPP Chairman, Alexander Cummings.
The CPP in a press statement notes that the current investigation in the Liberian Senate is intended to silence Dillon’s advocacy for the interest of the Liberian people, force him into censorship, and eventually remove him from that body.
The opposition collaboration includes the Alternative National Congress (ANC) the former ruling Unity Party (UP) the All Liberian Party (ALP) and the Liberty Party (LP).
It expresses grave disappointment over the decision of the Liberian Senate to investigate Senator Darius Dillion for making comments critical of the Senate’s operations. CPP acknowledges the bravery of Sen. Dillon to expose bribery in the Senate, which understandably caused embarrassment to Senators, but maintains that this is done in the best national interest of Liberia.
It says Dillon has shown other lawmakers that they can no longer remain silent thus, putting the comfort of their colleagues over the interest of the people.
“Any attempt by the Senate to muzzle Dillon’s right to free speech as guaranteed by the Liberian Constitution is an attack on our democracy. Shame on the Senate for this reckless vendetta against Dillon, and shame on us the Liberian people if we allow this to happen, and do nothing”, Chairman Cummings, continues.
The statement recalls that the threat to remove Sen. Dillon began on the day of his induction when Senate President Pro-Temp, Albert Chie of Grand Kru County, did the dishonorable thing of threatening Dillon with removal from the Senate for declaring his assets and urging other senators to do the same.
It quotes Pro-tempore Chie as threatening Dillon, “…the power to remove you from here is not with the Liberian people; it is with us here; we alone have that power…. here we are master of our own rules.”
However, Dillon courageously continued to publicly expose and condemn the actions of the Senate, including huge salaries and benefits of senators, and corruption in the senate on a number of occasions, and recently objecting to the passage of the recast budget before debating it.The CPP strongly condemns the Senate, for it terms harassment and intimidation of Dillon for doing the right thing.
It further notes that Chie’s insistence to remove Dillon from the Senate unless he (Dillon) plays by secret and corrupt rules and joins the bandwagon of corruption is abominably disgusting and a betrayal of the Liberian people.
According to the CPP, Pro-Tempore Chie’s alleged failure to exercise leadership and ensure the independence of the Senate, has led to seemingly corruption-induced actions by the Senate, including the unconstitutional removal of an Associate Justice, and the surreptitious confirmation of many questionable executive appointees, often under allegations of bribery.
“He is the one who should be investigated and removed from the Senate. We call on all well-meaning Liberians to stand against this injustice and ensure that Sen. Dillon remains in the Senate to continue fighting for you. We must never allow injustice to prevail”, the statement, signed by secretary general Aloysius Toe, reads.
The current campaign to silence Dillon was initiated by Senator George Tengbeh of Lofa County, who has written Plenary of the Liberian Senate to investigate the opposition senator for allegedly denigrating the Senate.
Tengbeh’s communication which appeared on the Senate floor Thursday, May 28, alleged that Dillon’s willful and intentional behavior has cast a bad image on the Liberian Senate and individual senators.
He explained that on May 20, Sen. Dillon accused 23 senators, who affixed their signatures on the COVID-19 recast budget of receiving bribes, challenging him to provide proof.
According to Tengbeh, weeks ago Dillon deceptively told the public that he received US$6,500 as operational fund. “Senator Dillon knows fully well that he received more than that; he understates the amount he received”, he added.
However, Dillon has been credited for breaking the news, because no one in the public knew that senators on Capitol Hill received US$6,500 each, immediately after they endorsed the State of Emergency in a joint resolution until the loud-spoken opposition senator came out.
Liberians also hail him for disclosing how much each senator on Capitol Hill earns, something that prior to his ascendency to the Senate, was never public.