Liberia’s Chief Imam, Sheikh Ali Krayee says the Legislature here is the most useless branch of government, suggesting the need to abolish it.“…So in my view the legislature has been the most useless branch of Liberian Government because throughout history, we have seen them only seconding the motion from the presidency,” Sheikh Krayee told local broadcaster Prime FM Wednesday morning, 7 November in Monrovia.
In reaction to President George Manneh Weah’s proposal to the Legislature to repeal tenured positions, Imam Krayee says he has no interest because former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf wanted those positions created “and the Legislature created them.”According to him, now that President Weah wants tenure positions repeal, he is sure that the Legislature will also abolish them.
“And anybody who understands, we are talking about tens of millions of United States Dollars spent on people to second president’s motion, then why not abolish them?” Sheikh Krayee wonders.He recalls that during the True Whig Party (TWP) era, the Legislature was about “so say one, so say all,” saying why Liberians should continue to pay “for so say all.”
Even during the regime of slain President Samuel Doe, Sheikh Krayee recalls that when Doe shouted, Legislators panicked; and when imprisoned former President Charles Taylor roared, “they fell in line.”Similarly, in former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf’s regime, the senior Muslim Cleric says he “saw the dribbling that took place from the Executive, the Legislature.”
“Oh, one moment it was [dethroned former House Speaker Edwin] Snowe, another moment it was [dethroned former House Speaker Alex] Tyler,” he continues.In as much as lawmakers here can only stand for what the president says, Sheikh Krayee suggests that they should rather not be there to burden Liberian taxpayers with spending of unnecessary money to keep them at the Legislature.
“Let the one say … and let us accept it because what the one says is what they always say,” he explains.The Senior Muslim Cleric further said that he knows it’s in the Constitution, but he sees it as an issue for national debate, even though he avoids suggesting the need for referendum on abolishing the Legislature.
“I said, I do not expect, based on my utterance … that the legislature will be abolished. I know it’s a constitutional issue. But I’m speaking this way so that they will stand up to their responsibility,” he continues.Sheikh Krayee observes that the people are not impressed by the working of the Legislature, saying he will explain himself if he were called by lawmakers on the basis of what he has expressed against them.
The Chief Imam indicates that he would inform them that he is not unaware that there are honorable people among them, but the general image of the Legislature throughout history has not been encouraging.“But we are saying that the general image of the Legislature throughout our history has not been encouraging and they have to work on it,” he adds.
Sheikh argues that in less than a year, there is already a report that 44 percent of [those surveyed] say the performance of the Legislature is poor.He expresses serious disappointment over the operation of the legislature here.What appears even more troubling, Imam Krayee says often after elections, elected lawmakers would abandon the parties on whose tickets they were elected and jump ship to the ruling party.
Out of sudden, he says these lawmakers would say this president is the best. He said they soon change their tongues soon after that president’s tenure expired. These, lawmakers he continued, would again run to the party of the next president and say it is the best.
By Winston W. Parley