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Opinion

LOOKING INSIDE FROM OUTSIDE – The Threshold Bill

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For two years now, the threshold bill has been lingering within the corridors of the Liberian Legislature on one hand, and between the Liberian legislature and the Executive Mansion (now at the Foreign Ministry) without any sign of passage.

From all indications, the delays in passing the threshold are result controversies around who gets what, in terms of decrease or increment in the number of sears in the House of Representatives.

In recent times, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf recommended a threshold of 54,500 on grounds that government could not afford the cost of maintaining the additional representatives and staff, after she vetoed the bill already passed by the legislature.

Again, that was rejected by the House of representatives who then preferred 46,000 to the 54,500 suggested by Madam President who had once proposed 48,000 before of was initially passed at 45,000 by the Legislature.

The House and some members of the Senate insisted on the 46,000, rejecting Madam President’s justification for the 54,500 threshold because of the number of Commissions created with huge salaries and benefits.

What’s happening here is that someone somewhere us in this mischief only because of selfishness not being cognizant of the constitutional implications, and as a result of such mischief, the President has introduced a new factor, thus keeping the threshold at bay.

In the mind of any well-meaning Liberian, individuals who represent smaller counties in the Senate and House of Representatives are indeed responsible for what’s happening and any further delays in the process leading to the holding of general and presidential elections in Liberia come 2011 will be their responsibility.

These attitudes were very deliberate and senators and representatives of these counties will have to pay bitter prices, if there should any delays in the holding of elections years.

From what we have followed since the introduction of the threshold at the Liberian legislature two years ago, there is no reason why by now the bill is not passed.

Civil society organizations (not the ones programmed to kick against the bill at 46,000 or 48,000), pressure groups and Liberians against these delays must rise up to the challenge to pressurize those responsible for this threshold to pass it now or else, we will have ourselves to blame.

And the questions shall be asked—where were you and what did you do, citizens?

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