12 January 2018

Liberia: Ellen Dealt Big Blow

Photo: Liberian Government
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

What appears as a big blow has been dealt President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's push for the passage of several bills before leaving office in few days' time.

Members of the 53rd she summoned into an emergency session to act on 13 bills Thursday adjourned for good without acting on any of the bills, an action experts will disappoint the departing President.

Instead of passing the Bills as wished by Madam Sirleaf, lawmakers only sent them into committee rooms, fully aware of the extinction of the august body.

According to our reporter, the lawmakers' action demonstrates tacit resilience against last minute machinations, suppressing her desire to have the bills passed before leaving office.

Madam Sirleaf had summoned the lawmakers into 9- day Emergency Session to enact the 13 bills into law, but that proved impossible as none of them was given attention.

"I wish to thank your Honorable Body for the brief return to duty in keeping with my request in accordance with Article 329d) of the constitution. As you know the main reason for the recall is to obtain legislative actions on some important draft Bills of vital important to the economy and revenue generation that have been pending with your domain," the President communication's noted.

Prominent among these Bills submitted by President Sirleaf are the Investment incentive Agreement between Liberia and Dangote Cement Liberia Ltd, An Act to name certain roads and bridges in Liberia, A Bill to amend chapter 22 subsection 22.76 (a) of the national Police Act and the Land Rights Bill.

This paper could not establish whether the lawmakers' action was due to lack of sufficient time to peruse the Bills in terms of importance to the nation, or a reaction to the President's alleged withholding of their salaries.

It was reliably learned that the President allegedly holds the salaries of members of the legislature particularly the House of Representatives, using same as preconditions for the passage of the Bills.

The Executive mansion has since denied the reports.

A source recently told this paper that the President was demanding the House of Representatives to pass into law some instruments submitted by her before she can release their legitimate benefits.

"The President is yet to pay us for the past eight months now in the tone of about one million United States dollars, even though she has cleared her entire executive and the Liberian Senate. But she was brave to tell us that she will only release our salaries when we pass her Bills she has submitted," our source confided in the New Republic.

Meanwhile, the purpose of said recall was never met as the 53rd legislature has finally closed to resume Monday, January 15, 2018 under a new body as the 54th legislature.

According to our reporter, almost of the Bills submitted by the president were sent in committee's room.


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