Liberia: Speaker, Deputy Face Opposition

House Speaker Bhofal Chambers and his deputy Prince Moye are being threatened with removal from their respective positions by other members of the House of Representatives over the duo's alleged refusal to reduce their salaries in line with government's harmonization exercise.

Legislative reporters were informed Wednesday, 9 October that salaries for members of the House of Representatives will be cut from US$8,500 to US$5,600, but Speaker Chambers has refused to cut his salary which is allegedly in the tune of US$29,000.

Rep. Hanson Kiazolu of Montserrado County District #17; Rep. Francis S. Dopoh of River Gee County District #3; Rep. Ellen Attoh Werh of Margibi County and Rostonlyn S. Dennis of Montserrado County District #4 are leading the campaign for Chambers and Moye to join other lawmakers in reducing their huge earnings.

The aggrieved lawmaker's threat remove Chambers and Moye from offices comes after both Representatives and members the Liberian Senate had their huge earnings cut during the scrutinization of the National Budget for its passage.In a conversation with legislative reporters on Wednesday, the concerned Representatives said they and the people of Liberia have been seeking the reduction of lawmakers' salaries.

After reducing their salaries, the four lawmakers indicate that they will not sit and see Speaker Chambers and Deputy Speaker Moye continue to make the same salaries they made prior to the harmonization exercise that has affected other lawmakers.The Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led - government of which Chambers and Moye are stalwarts brought about the harmonization exercise in the wake of financial constraints facing the regime.

According to Kiazolu, lawmakers have agreed to cut their salaries by 31%. He says while he welcomes the deduction in their salaries, they however captured that the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker are against the deduction.

He adds that even the Judiciary has accepted the harmonization exercise and had its salary reduced by 16%.On the contrary, Rep. Kiazolu notes that the leadership of the House of Representatives has decided not to reduce its salary, noting that this is not in the interest of the Liberian people.

Also speaking, Rep. Francis S. Dopoh warns that they will lobby with other Representatives to remove Chambers and Moye if they continue to receive the same pay they were receiving ahead of the harmonization exercise.According to him, Chambers and Moye will be removed because they are not in the interest of the Liberian people.

For her part, Rep. Ellen Attoh Werh says it is unfair and unjust for the House to agree as a body that it will be affected by the harmonization exercise, and yet Speaker Chambers and Deputy Speaker Moye would shy away from the decision.Additionally, Rep. Rostonlyn S. Dennis of Montserrado County says they were briefed by the Ways, Means and Finance Committee Chair that representatives' pay will be cut from US$8,500 to US$5,600.

She says they accepted the cut with a heavy heart, noting that it is shocking that the Speaker has a salary of US$29,000 and he doesn't want to reduce it to US$19,000.

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