-Sherman says of Konneh
Grand Cape Mount County Senator Varney Sherman has described a recent statement of Finance and Development Planning Minister Amara Konneh in the United States as total ‘stupidity’. According to Senator Sherman, such comments lack merits for any discussion by the Plenary of the Liberian Senate.
In Plenary on Thursday, 7, May 2015, in Monrovia, he cautioned his colleagues against considering Minister Konneh’s statement as serious on grounds that such comments were made out of ‘stupidity’, and that going after him would be a complete waste of the precious time of the Liberian Senate which had a lot of serious issues to deal with.
“That statement is just stupidity. There are some ministers who make stupid statements at times; I think we should grant such statement no credence,” the Grand Cape Mount lawmaker said.
Cllr. Sherman comments were in response to a communication written by Bomi County Senator Sando Johnson, requesting Plenary to cite Minister Konneh for mroe clarity regarding his recent statement made at a gathering of Liberians in the United States.
The communication, dated April 30, 2015, quoted Minister Amara Konneh as saying: “the Liberian Government, since its ascendency to power, has collected US$3.1 billion in revenue, and that 60 percent of that money is being spent on government administration which includes allowances, salaries and other benefits to government officials which represents 40,000 people out of the four million population.”
The letter also quoted Minister Konneh’s statement as saying that if the course of operation of the Unity Party-led government did not change, there would be ‘another April 14th Rice Riot-style incident in Liberia’.
But the veteran lawmaker argued that Minister Konneh was very protected by the Liberian Constitution regarding his freedom of expression like any other citizen, and that being minister in the government did not stop him from speaking his mind.
But Sen. Sherman was strongly debunked by Lofa Senator Steve Zargo, who said Konneh’s statement had security implications, and that such statement should not be taken lightly.
Sen. Zargo added that Minister Konneh must appear before the Senate’s Plenary to explain what he meant in his US statement. Zargo noted that Liberians were already worried about the draw-down plan of the United Nations Mission in Liberia or UNMIL, while the Liberian Finance Minister will be predicting wars.
Also speaking in Plenary, Senator Francis Paye of Rivercess County indicated that if the government had actually generated such amount, his county was yet to received its allotments from the Social Development Funds for about four years.
Adding his voice to the debate, Senator George Weah noted that the amount of US$3.1 billion was such a huge money, and that despite the claims by Mr. Konneh, the country still lacked pipe-borne water, electricity, improve health care, as well as education, among others.
The Senate than voted 12 for, nine against to summon the Finance and Development Planning Minister to appear before plenary to provide clarity on Tuesday of next week; but the decision was thwarted by Grand Gedeh County Senator G. Alphonso Gaye, who filed a motion of reconsideration. Minister Konneh will not appear until the motion can be tried and defeated by the rest of the senators.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor