For the first of its kind as far back to the time even and throughout when the Pop was an altar boy has there been any such row at the Legislature on Capitol Hill over claim and counter claim of the dead body of a lawmaker that quickly turned into a 'firestorm' that hits the Capitol Building.
While it is a vivid reality that activities at the House of Representatives have not been all bread and butter; despite division seeping in due to dissatisfaction expressed by some members against the leadership style of the Speaker, Bhofal Chambers as being allegedly autocratic and partisan (CDC) driven, such row has been long coming but not expected in the manner and form it turned out to be on that fateful Thursday, April 25, 2019 between two opposing groups-CDC and Liberty Party..
Then all at once, the writing became crystal clear on the wall that the House of Representatives of the National Legislature is indeed speedily sinking into division as evidenced since the painful demise of Montserrado County electoral district #15 Representative Adolph Lawrence.
Prior to the demise of the Montserrado County lawmaker, there were looming divisions as some lawmakers grouped themselves into what they called "Independent Legislative caucus" (ILC) with the aim of restoring what they called the 'lost sanctity' of the House of Representatives under the leadership of Speaker Bhofal Chambers.
Speaker Chambers and trusted allied may have considered such group 'insignificant' prior to the death of Representative Adolph Lawrence, but the group is getting more powerful by the day with several vocal lawmakers including Montserrado County's electoral district ten Representative Yekeh Kolubah, Nimba County's electoral district eight Representative Larry P. Younquoi, Representatives Vicente Willie, Rustolyn Suacoco Dennis, Thomas Goshua, Jay Nagbe Sloh, Francis Dopoh, Beyan Howard among others.
Although the late Representative Lawrence was a member of the governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), but he was a stalwart of the ILC and a strong critic of the CDC and the leadership style of House Speaker Bhofal Chambers.
Following his death, his colleagues from the ILC took control of his remains and vowed to ensure he has an honorable burial. The ILC members usually have uniform during every occasion of the procession leading to the burial ceremony of their colleagues.
During the funeral rite on Friday April 26, 2019 at the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Broad Street in Monrovia, members of the ILC were attired separately from other lawmakers who were paying their last respect to the late Representative Adolph Lawrence.
They were dressed in black court-suit, red tie or bold tie with a red African hat as they trooped to the church.
Speaker Chambers, others Boycotted the Funeral Rite
What was more astonishing to family members and others was the apparent absence of House Speaker Bhofal Chambers, Representatives Moses Acarous Gray, and Thomas P. Fallah (all members of the CDC) from the funeral service of their falling colleague.
It's not clear what prompted their reported absence from the occasion, but the chairman of the governing CDC, Mulbah Morlu amidst tussle between CDC and Liberty Party about establishing ownership of Lawrence's remains later called on all partisans of the party to disengage and back-off from the funeral ceremonies of the late Representative Lawrence to avoid the recurrence of the riot at the House of Representatives on Thursday April 25, 2019 between supporters of the opposition Liberty Party and the CDC.
Representative Moses Acarous Gray on his official Facebook page said "over Representative Lawrence's funeral, CDC announced disengagement. Peace and stability matters. Rest on partisan Lawrence. Our last respect."
"If you noticed we told all our partisans to stay away because we don't want violence. Yesterday's incident was instigated by Senator Steve Zargo," he alleged.
The ILC along with others marched with the flag-draped coffin led by the fraternal organizations of the Catholic Church and colleagues and family members of the fallen lawmaker including his widow, Senator Nyonblee Karngar Lawrence amid tight security.
ILC On Speaker Chambers:
In their recent meeting with President George Manneh Weah, the ILC said they expect House Speaker Bhofal Chambers to reinvent his leadership style due to insistent complaints coming from his fellow lawmakers.
In their meeting with the Liberian Chief Executive, they outlined nine pertinent issues including several disagreements with the leadership of the Speaker.
The ILC is said to be made of few conscious representatives who think the same way and have reportedly been ignored by House Speaker Bhofal Chambers.
They alleged that the speaker is not paying attention to the entire membership of the House and has been putting up a none compliance posture. TNR