Liberia: Deputy Speaker Frowns On Delinquency of Lawmakers

Members of the House of Representatives in the 54th Legislature have returned at the Capitol with their usual lackadaisical and delinquency on the job, barely one week after their annual break, prompting Deputy Speaker Representative J. Fonati Koffa to frown on his colleagues for not reporting for work on time to serve the people.

The 54th Liberian Legislature resumed work this week for its 5th Session but it seems that less than half of the 73-lawmakers are showing up for work, just 14 days in the New Year, and five days after their annual break.

Speaking during the second day sitting of the 5th Session of the House of Representatives on Thursday, January 13, 2022, Representative Koffa lamented that it is unfair for his colleagues to not come to work on time.

His remarks followed an inquiry by Rivercess County District#2 Representative Bryon W. Zahwea, why for the past two session days they have not reported for work in time in accordance with constitutional mandate.

Rep. Zenway noted that most of them have decided and agreed not to come to work in time because, in the previous year, they had conducted sessions from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

For the past year, this paper observed that members of the House of Representatives went to sessions very lately.

However, Deputy Speaker Cllr. Koffa notes that under their rules, it is very clear that sessions must start at 10:00 am and any lawmaker reporting late for work violates the status, a habit he terms as disgraceful.

He says there are video footages of the Speaker and few members waiting for the others to come to begin session.

"It's embarrassing to your colleagues and it is also embarrassing to this Body and what are the people thinking about how you conduct your business?" He asks.

The Deputy Speaker notes that it seems that the only time lawmakers show up in their numbers is when it's time to receive their benefits. He wonders what benefit is due them when they fail to come to work on time and do the Liberian people work for which they are being paid from the national coffers.

He warns that this should be the last time for lawmakers to fail to show up at 10:00 a.m. for session.

Cllr. Koffa, who presided during Thursday's session notes that it is very easy for a member to inform the Chief Clerk if he or she will not report for session for whatever reason, but deliberately not showing up is not the right thing to do.

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