Liberia: Is Senator Dillon Biting More Than He Can Chew?


Senator Abraham Darius Dillon is once again on a parade. Still trying to shake his tail off proven allegations that he accepted bribe to pass the state of emergency and economic stimulus package, the Montserrado County Senator appears to be biting more than he can chew.

And this time, it seems he may have gotten the unsuspecting public and the media on his side. Senator Dillon is out and about claiming that his colleagues, like the merchants of Venice, want to exact a pound of flesh from him.

His recent showboating stemmed from a letter written to the plenary of the Senate by his colleague, Senator George Tengbeh of Lofa County. According to Senator Tengbeh, Senator Dillon accused his colleagues of receiving bribe to pass the recast budget.

And before the process could begin, the senator has started the spillage of blood. Taking his colleague's letter out of context, he has run to the public claiming falsely that his colleagues are out to expel him from the Senate because he dared raise issues of accountability and transparency.

The public, hoodwinked by the gimmicks of Senator Dillon without further investigation, appears to have fallen for one of Senator Dillon's usual artifices. This has put the Senator on a roll. Like the story of the gingerbread man, he's running down the hill unstoppable while making a mountain out of a molehill.

However, the public and the media should be aware that Senator Dillon has a dualist character. He says one thing and does the other, and is known for filibustering and showmanship which are nothing more but a storm in a teacup.

For example, the Senator and his supporters claimed that recast budget was passed without inviting the Minister of Finance or officials from the Ministry and this runs contrary to the public financial management law of 2009.

Granted that they may be right. However, Senator Dillon, rather than running to the Supreme Court to place an injunction on the action of his colleagues because he believes it violates the PFM law, runs instead to the court of public opinion.

Yet Senator Dillon, the prodigal son of the late Cllr. Charles Brumskine and special assistant to a former solicitor general who promised to uphold the legacy of the esteemed statesman, claimed his inspiration stemmed from the revered lawyer. Notwithstanding, he's only talking the talk but not walking the walks of the leaned counselor.

Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, fearing that the 2017 elections had suspected foul play, ran to the Supreme Court, not the court of public opinion as his errant prodigal son is doing.

Cllr. Brumskine's name would go down in history as one of the guarantors of Liberia's democracy because he, rather than riling the public and creating unnecessary distraction like Senator Dillon, used the courts to address his concerns.

Significant issues of governance cannot be brought to public opinion for judgement when every means is not being exhausted. If the Senator claims to be saving the state, he must tell us what he has done and intends to do. Cllr. Charles Brumskine left an instructive lesson on this and it remains puzzling how it appears to be lost on him.

Also, Senator Dillon claimed his colleagues in the Senate are out to expel because he revealed their salaries to the public. However, Senator Dillon, playing on the anemic memory of Liberians, has forgotten that when he served as chief of office staff in the office of a senator, his former boss Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, then Senator of Bong County, remarked at a program in Washington DC, USA that they raked in US$12,000 in monthly benefits and earnings.

This is the same revelation Senator Dillon made upon taking office but would yet claim his revelation was noble. The sad truth of the matter remains, the salaries of members of the Legislature have always been out there, since the revelation from then Senator Taylor.

Coming to equity requires clean hands or else the motives remain suspect. If the letter of Senator Tengbeh is anything to go by, it appears once again that the public was bamboozled by the Senator that the operational funds were US$6500.

"Honorable President Pro-Tempore and distinguished colleagues: In an interview about several weeks ago, Senator Dillon deceptively told the public that he received an amount of US$6,500 as operational funds. Senator Dillon knows fully well that he received more than that. The senator intentionally and cunningly understates the amounts of money he receives[ed] from the Senate. This is gross dishonesty on the part of the Montserrado County Senator and it has no place in the Liberian Senate. It is honorable to disclose fully and criminally to disclose partially."

So, if Senator Dillon truly believes in all of the values he espouses daily on social media, why is he escaping from an investigation from his colleagues over his spurious allegations and would rather claim it's an attack on his right to free speech?

The protection of the rights of free speech is guaranteed by the Courts. And the Senator knows this and should know. Calling for brimstones, hail of fire will not cut ice for the chicaneries of "attack on free speech" when the courts are available are the last recourse.

Senator Dillon continues to bite more than he can nibble in his bamboozlement of the public. In the fullness of time...

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