It is no doubt that the Liberian Legislature is the most powerful of the three branches of the Liberian Government, considering the fact that its members are Constitutionally capacitated with the responsibility of exercising major functions in the general interest of the nation and its people.
Such functions include law-making, oversight, as well as representation, others. In consonance with the functions of law-making and representation, Legislators equally have the power to ensure the well-being of those in whose interests they supposedly work as Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill in Monrovia. Ensuring such well-being of the people they represent entails actions for their betterment and development.
It is against the foregoing backdrop that Margibi County Senator Oscar Cooper may have emphasized the urgency of better salaries and incentives for staff/workers of the Liberian Legislature because he and his colleagues were earning too much. In other words, Senator Cooper, during the recent passage of the 2015/2916FY budget, disagreed with his colleagues in the Liberian Senate for failing to increase the salaries of their staff, as well as their benefits by reducing theirs (Senators) by half.
Sentiments further grew among staff/workers of the Capitol Building and other Liberians for the Margibi County Senator when he went public with the issue after the Senators had unanimously passed the national budget without any consideration for their staff/workers.
Of course, such advocacy may not have gone down well with the Leadership and majority members of the Liberian Senate – a situation that now driven a wedge between him (Cooper) and his colleagues so much so the former is reportedly being threatened punitive action(s).
This is indicative of the recent emotional expressions of President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate Armah Jallah in the Central Liberian Town of Gbarnga calling on Senator Cooper to first take the lead if and only if he was serious.
To confirm the reported action against the Margibi County Senator, President Pro Temp Jallah disclosed that he and other members of the Senate were handling the issue of Senator Oscar Cooper to appropriately deal with such very soon, adding that the Senator’s statement has attracted the attention of Senators.
If there is any attempt by Senator Jallah and others against Oscar Cooper in terms of suspension or whatsoever, there must be a halt as a way of preventing any future internal and public embarrassment on the part of the Senators.
The Liberian Senate should have lived its true meaning as ‘House of Elders’ by exhibiting all of the positive attributes of ‘elders’ by listening to such clarion call by Senator Cooper to put smiles on the faces of employees of the Senate, other than choosing not to dignify such.
The Senators’ decision not to give any credence to the well-being of their own staff/workers only exposes the personal agendas being pursued at the Legislature under the canopy of representation and law-making.
It is clear that the Margibi County Senator’s advocacy was not self-center, but exemplary of the dignity that must befit those who serve the Legislators in their various offices at the Capitol and their constituencies across the country. Moreover, beginning with staff/workers of the Capitol would serve as a stimulus to further pursue the interest of Liberian civil servants in terms of salaries and benefits, perhaps, in the next fiscal year budget.
We urge the President Pro Temp to now tale the lead by exercising true leadership in this matter; this means, he and others must avoid pursuing their planned course of action(s) against Oscar Cooper, a conference must be hosted between the leadership of the Senate and Senator Cooper for a common ground, outside of the public.