Newly indicuted Montserrado County Sen. Abraham Darius Dillon is warning Senate President Pro – Tempore Albert Chie to rethink his “foolhardy” decision to threaten him (Dillon) with removal from the Liberian Senate for declaring his assets and reducing his salary to give back to the people.
“To threaten a Senator with the most popular mandate in the country was foolhardy on the part of the President Pro – Tempore. I’m sure he will rethink that,” Sen. Dillon warned Monday, 19 August in Monrovia.
In response to Chie’s threat, Dillon reminds the Pro – Tempore that the boss of the executive branch is the president, while at the legislative branch, the bosses are the people who elect the lawmakers.
Dillon ponders how declaring assets and reducing one’s money to give back to the people can warrant a person’s removal from the Senate.
“There is no law that says when they expelled you, you can’t contest in the by – election that is supposed to fill your vacancy. Every time they attempt that thing and do it here politically I will contest again and the people will elect me again,” Dillon asserts.
On the day Mr. Dillon was being inducted into office at the Liberian Senate on Thursday last week, Grand Kru County Senator Albert Chie shockingly threatened the opposition lawmaker with expulsion from the Liberian Senate if he does not follow the Senate’s rules.
That threat came from Mr. Chie just minutes after Mr. Dillon who won the Montserrado County Senatorial by – election on the ticket of Liberia’s four collaborating opposition political parties had declared his assets and challenged other senators and public officials to follow his example.
Liberia’s Code of Conduct for public officials requires declaration of assets and liabilities prior to taking office and thereafter, do the same at the end of every three years, among others.
But officials here appear to defy public pressure to respect the law and declare their assets in support of the fight against corruption and to reduce public perception of public officials’ lack of transparency.
Sen. Chie warned last week that while the people of Montserrado County elected Mr. Dillon, the power to remove him from the Senate is not with the people, but the Senators alone have that power.
He told Dillon that legislative politics is practical and different from textbook politics.
In addition to declaring his assets and promising to publish them, Sen. Dillon says he will only accept a salary of US$5,000.00, instructing that any amount above this should be deposited into an escrow account for social development purposes.
He promises to cooperate with his colleagues at the Senate and respect them, because it is cooperation that will bring about progress.
However, Dillon assures Liberians that where he needs to stand up for the country and the people, he will do so even if he will have to stand alone.
Additionally, Mr. Dillon announces that he will be encouraging the formation of the Collaborating Political Parties Legislative Caucus comprising of the Unity Party (UP), Liberty Party (LP), Alternative National Congress (ANC) and the All Liberian Party (ALP).
He notes that these four parties have legislators, announcing plans to bring them together to form a collaborating legislative caucus that will speak with one voice both in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Mr. Dillon wants the formation of this union so that the political parties will not be issuing one statement against something, while the caucus members will be doing something else at the Legislature.
“If we say Elton deal is bad, then no lawmaker from any of the four parties supposed to support or vote for Elton deal. It means we are contradicting ourselves,” he says.He assures Liberians that the caucus members will stand together.By Winston W. Parley