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Lawmakers Could Be Right, Only If…

When Members of the 53rd Legislature publicly announced, upon their return from their annual break in January, that they would be very “robust” during this sitting, very little was unknown of their intention. While some had understood them as suggesting a more realistic and nationalistic approach to doing the “people’s business” this time, others found it a bit difficult to comprehend such “robustness” owing to their failure to commit themselves to similar vow made in January 2012 upon returning from their annual Legislative break.

However, such description of their action has now revealed itself, considering the political developments emanating from Capitol Hill in recent times.The “robust” action of the Liberian Senate and House of Representatives initially began with the “Central Bank affair”  when they passed and concurred with, at the fastest speed ever, an amendment of the 1999 CBL Act to prevent the Executive Governor and others from seeking electoral office(s), as well as giving themselves the “power” to print the country’s currency and mint coins, among a few- a political decision has and continue to receive mix reactions from all quarters of the Liberian society at the cost of the image of the Legislature, especially before students, market women and men, as well as other beneficiaries of the CBL loan scheme, among others.

According to members of the Legislature, the action against the CBL and its governors would be extended to other public financial institutions to include the Ministry of Finance, national Social Security and Welfare Corporation, Liberia Petroleum Refining Company, as well as National Port Authority, among others. As a way of flexing their political muscles, the Legislators last week ordered the appearance of the Chairman and Board of Commissioners of the National elections Commission   or NEC on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 11:00am to show cause as to why the amount of US$1.9m should be spent ‘loosely and wastefully’ on vehicle rental.

NEC had budgeted the money to ensure a free, transparent and hindrance-free special senatorial election come October this year. But the representatives thought that the amount was too much money to conduct the election, describing such financial decision as a “waste of resources”. As good as the intention of the lawmakers may be, especially to ensure accountability and transparency, decision(s) of such nature must be holistic, and not only be to satisfy their personal interests as Liberians, they represent, continue to experience for the last two years.

It is no secret that legislations/bills, including the Decent Wage Bill and Code of Conduct that incorporate our national interest have either “die natural death” or continue to be intentionally delayed at the Capitol only because our lawmakers may not one way or the other benefit their individual interest. While we appreciate the fact that the Legislature would now be trying to exercise their “political muscles” probably to straighten up things in our country, such power must not only be exercised when their interests are either threatened or to be pursued. As representatives of the people of Liberia, the lawmakers must act/behave in consonance with the aspirations/wishes of the people who elected them to represent their interest.

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