Following recent compliant by Speaker MoustaphaCisséLôof the ECOWAS Parliament that some parliamentarians only sign for per diems and leave session, the plenary of the Liberian Senate has demanded delegates from Liberia to make report.
The Liberian official delegation to the ECOWAS parliament is headed by Montserrado County Senator George MannehWeah, who was recently accused by Senator Prince Yormie Johnson, a member of his delegation of abandoning him at Abuja Airport in Nigeria during security screening.
Speaker Cisse’ Lo in a memorandum dated 10 February described the practice of parliamentarians signing in and abandoning session as “betrayal of confidence reposed in us by the West African populace who are anxiously looking up to us to turn their checkered fortunes.”
The Speaker: “At a personal level, I need hardly emphasize that this conduct is not benefitting our highly exalted offices as representatives of over 300 million citizens of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).”
The memo intimated that most members of the Parliament, who are in the habit of not staying for the entire duration of session, do so immediately after collecting their stipends for the entire period they are supposed to stay for session/meeting.
The senate plenary here has requested Senators Johnson and Weah to make comprehensive report within one week on their activities at the Parliament.
Both senatorsare the Liberian Senate’s permanent representatives to the regional parliament.
Plenary took the decision on Thursday, 23 February following a communication from Grand Gedeh County Senator G. Alphonso Gaye, requesting that the two individuals give comprehensive report on activities of the ECOWAS Parliament and their participation in debates and issues affecting the sub-region.
According to the communication dated February 21, since the induction of the two senators by plenary of the Liberian Senate, there has been no indication of any report submitted on their deliberation that could benefit the ECOWAS region in general and Liberia, specifically.
Senator Gaye noted in his communication, referring to a memorandum from the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, which disclosed the unprofessional behavior of some of its members, who receive per diems, but do not attend session, noting that it is very regretful and disappointing.
“As Liberia’s representation to regional and international bodies is cardinal to our development agenda, it is important to ascertain that our representatives are not among those unprofessional people, who are robbing that regional body. In this regards, I am requesting the plenary of the senate to mandate our two representatives to the ECOWAS Parliament, Senators Prince Johnson and George MannehWeah of Nimba and Montserrado Counties respectively to present in open session a comprehensive report of their presence since their induction and the report should contain the issues discussed and the decisions taken by that body,” he said.
Following the reading of the communication, River Gee County Senator Matthew Jaye proffered a motion that the senators present their report within one week. The motion was overwhelmingly voted in favor.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne