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Editorial

Legislative ‘oversight’ must be clearly redefined or scrapped

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Sadly, when attempts are all focused on winning the battle against the deadly Ebola virus disease across Liberia, there were also distractions in certain quarters. Nimba County in the north of the country continues to showcase itself as the point of distraction at the peak of the war against Ebola. Leaders of Nimba may seem not to be too concerned about the more than four Hundred, fifty thousand lives to protect against the deadly Ebola virus, but the continuous “greed for power and cash.”

And that’s why the entire county administration and Legislative Caucus are on Capitol Hill in Monrovia to display the power-play, while the cities, districts, towns and villages are at the mercy of deadly Ebola. And on the basis of ‘sentiments and solidarity’, the greater power was placed in the hands of the Nimba Legislative Caucus by members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, September 24, 2014 against the county administration headed by Superintendent Von Zonklay. While we may not want to delve into the political row between the county administration and Nimba Legislative Caucus, the issue of “oversight”  as attached to the Legislators by the 1986 Constitution of Liberia may as well be responsible for conflict.

It is no secret that once the issue of ‘cash’ as it relates to the County or Social Development Funds, is at the core of the governance of the county, ‘oversight’ on the part of Legislators becomes so entrenched to the disadvantage of not only the county administration, but also citizens. And failure on the part of the county administration to submit to such ‘oversight’ power of the Lawmakers, it becomes “gross disrespect and what-have-you” to them- that may be the situation with which Nimba County continues to be faced.

A ‘vote of no confidence’ was, on Tuesday, September 23, 201, unanimously passed by members of the House of Representatives against Superintendent Von Zonklay and Assistant Superintendent for Development  Teko Yorlay for, what the ‘honorable’  men and women  called gross respect to their colleagues from Nimba. Bong, Margibi, Montserrado and Sinoe, sometimes ago, experienced similar unfortunate situations, with humiliation from members of the House of Representatives, and now, it’s Nimba.

In a rational mind, ‘oversight’ would rather point to a ‘monitoring role’ to ensure the successful implementation of specific programs and programs targeted by the county sitting, and not the direct involvement of the county Legislators in expenditure or purchase of materials- through exercising direct influence over the Project Management Committee or PMC as we may have had in some of the counties, including those in political rows. Such situation has either resulted to delays in implementing or concluding county projects.

This why, as the Constitution Review Commission reviews the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, the issue of ‘oversight’ as it relates to the power of the Legislators must seriously be considered. Such provision must either be clearly redefined or scrapped to avoid the continuous conflicts between the Legislature and Executive Branches of Government.

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