Liberia: Legislators Are Useless

opinion

Ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) executive and chairman emeritus of the ex-governing National Patriotic Party, Chief Cyril Allen brands members of the Liberian Legislature as a group of 'useless' people, who are unpatriotic and non-nationalistic.

Speaking to this paper via mobile phone Monday, October 21, in Monrovia, he noted that lawmakers do not have love for the people they represent at the Capitol, wondering how could 105 persons allot US$135 million of the national budget to themselves in a country that faces serious economic constraints and still want the people to believe they love Liberia.

Chief Allen laments the current earnings of legislators clearly indicate wickedness of self-seeking individuals, which is driving many Liberians now to only seek employment at the Liberian Legislature to amass wealth.

He says constituency or annual break that lawmakers enjoy every year, many of them do not go home to their people discuss bills they passed; instead, they run to foreign lands for vacation.

According to him, recent cuts in lawmakers' salaries and benefits came about because of shame, as their salaries and benefits shouldn't reach such skyrocketing level in the first.

He notes that wickedness being applied to Liberians by lawmakers is something that started decades ago, but Liberians are not doing anything about it.

Chief Allen, currently chairman of the governing council of the CDC, argues that while the 1986 Constitution of Liberia gives legislators statutory powers to decide salaries and benefits for themselves, it does not in any way suggest they should abuse such statue by persistent salary increment.

"I'm tired talking about these people because they're just useless people, who don't care about the people. Anyway, some of them used rice and cash to be where they are. Why will 205 elected Liberians get about US$135 million in this kind tight economy? That's wickedness and lack of love for the country they are leading," he further laments.

Allen, who chairs the board of the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation, accuses the National Elections Commission of sometimes bending the law to fit legislative aspirants, asking why would a sitting lawmaker for an electoral district contest for another district in another county when the Constitution talks about being a domicile of that district or county before contesting? He says it is only in Liberia these political variables are playing in the political field in the presence of the NEC that should regulate the process.

Commenting on series of protests being faced by the Weah administration, he says it is worrisome and troubling for Liberians to always take the streets as a means to stating their grievances and something should be done to stop such practice. But the very Constitution he talks about provides such right to the people whenever their peace and happiness is threatened.Allen argues that there are some people who could be over zealous in these demonstrations, which could lead to something else that Liberians would not want to see.

He cautions the CDC-led government to engage citizens thru round table discussions to reduce prevailing street protests here.The government is beset by growing dissent and protests over salary delays and other social and economic pressures.

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