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The Threshold Bill Sets Teeth On Edge

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Stalled at the parliament for more than a year now, the threshold bill is again going through another examination for a possible passage. The delay observed in the passage of the threshold bill is setting teeth on edge amongst the population, owing to the fact that is not passed on time; it could delay the holding of elections. That is the noise in the market.

“Next year election is going to be though. The way I see things going on, is not going to be easy for any of the candidates.” Mamadee Fofanah, stylishly dressed in a brown gown, said in a taxi heading to Ganta the commercial capital of Nimba County. “Next year’s elections may be one of the best of our time.” He added. But James Wongbay who was seating next to him, kept casting a sidelong glance at him. “What happens you are looking at me like that?” Mamadee asked James.

“You are here talking about elections, do you know if there will be elections or not? Haven’t you heard about the threshold bill that is suffering from suffocation at the parliament? Sit here and talk about candidates.” James said, adding, “Please dress Mr. Candidate. I say dress, what happens, something is wrong with you hein?”

I straightened up thinking that Mamadee was going to react angrily, but it was not the case. Instead, he was very gentle in talking to James. “My brother, don’t get vex with me. Just tell me why this one wonderful threshold is not yet passed. What is really happening there? If it is suffering from cold I will buy the pills myself. This is getting serious.” Mamadee said. “You Mandingo people are always suffering from fresh cold so you think it is the only serious sickness. This is more than just malaria.” James replied. That made every one laugh in the car.

“Now, on a serious note, let me tell you what it is. Members of the House of Representatives passed the threshold bill recently at 46,000. And this is the third time this same bill is passed. The first time it was passed at 49,000 with one seat allotment to each county, but it was sent back by the executive branch for constitutional reason. It was passed for the second time at 40,000; the executive branch again rejected it for economic reasons, with President Sirleaf saying that the country has little resources which should be used wisely. She noted that passage at 40,000 will create more seats in the House of Representatives. This time around they blocked the bill, because according to them the Supreme Court has put a stay order on it.” James explained.

“Chief, but what that one means? When you say stay order, what that means?” the driver asked James. “Look, I didn’t tell you not to go to school, ok? In fact you are what tribe? You will pay me if I tell you.” James answered. “No leave that tribe business yet. Just tell me what it means. I will give you fifty dollars.” The driver said.

“Ok, let me tell you what. The stay order means that the parliamentarians should not talk about the bill; they should not pass the bill until the Supreme Court tells them to do so.” James said. That created a thunder of grunting in the car with every one grumbling together about what James said is the meaning of stay of order.

“So what is the reason why these legislators, executive branch, and now Supreme Court really want to do? We can’t keep going like this if the time of election is getting closer. No, this one here I think we the ordinary Liberians need to take action now because the legislators are not doing what we sent them there for. This is a complete disrespect to us. We put them there to protect our interest, now they are protecting their personal greed and interest. This is nonsense.” Mamadee hammered.

“Now, Mamadee, you are talking something. We the ordinary Liberians don’t have to sit and look at these ones who call themselves legislators lead us to another problem in this country. If this threshold bill is not passed, we cannot have elections. If elections are not held on time who knows what will be the consequences? This is not at all patriotic. This is complete craziness.” James said.

At that juncture, a lady, 56 years, who had been listening without saying a word, finally decided to break silence: “So you’re mean that if this thread whole not pass no election?” She asked. “Yeah Mah, that’s it.”

The rest of the people in the car answered together. “Ok,” she replied, “tomorrow I going to tell all the market women to get ready for action. We will march on these legeelators so they can know who get the land. We not going to sit down here and let them spoil the country again.”

“We have reached Ganta.” The driver said.

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