Legislators Plan “State of the Nation” Boycott? – Accuse Executive of Undermining Legislative Function
Plan by some Rural Lawmakers of the House of Representatives to boycott President George Weah’s State of the Nation Address to the National Legislature is being discussed, according to Grand Bassa County District #4 Representative Vincent Willie and Montserrado County District #10 Representative Yekeh Kolubah. Representative Willie who disclosed this on the OK FM morning talk-show and buttressed by Mr. Kolubah in a phone call said the boycott plan was due to the failure by the Executive Branch to remit the funds for the Legislative Support Projects to the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE).
Appearing on the OK FM talk-show on January 15, Representative Willie said that the LSP District Support Funds (DSF) are provided in the National Budget but noted that the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning has failed to release the funds to LACE. The Grand Bassa County legislator said he heard that the Executive Branch is saying that the LSP/DSF is not a priority.
“If the development of my district is not a priority, then I will not sit under the voice of anyone; my brother, they will get the other side of me if this issue is not resolved,” Willie said apparently in an outrage.
Touching on impediments caused the Legislature by the Executive Branch of Government; the representative told the station that the Executive Branch has been undermining the function of the rural representatives, saying that they have been denied their amenities that should facilitate works within their respective districts.
He spoke of how they have not been given their official vehicles since their election into office, neither have they been given fuel or gasoline for the past three months that should enable them to be in touch with their districts. “Since I was elected, I have not been issues my official vehicle; the vehicles I ride to got to work with government plates are my personal vehicles;” he said noting that none of us has gotten a vehicle.
While the lack of vehicles has been a problem at the House of Representatives, the Grand Bassa County lawmaker pointed out that executive officials are riding luxurious cars. The Speaker who should make the case of the legislators, Willie indicated, puts himself first and has changed cars.
Lawmaker Willie said that Capitol Hill will be “shaking, watch and see; if you are Speaker, you should know that to retain the job lies with your colleagues,” he asserted. He told the talk show hosts that “the President must get the message that there are issues that must be resolved or we will not sit under any voice be it that of the Speaker or the President”.
“If our legislative support projects are insignificant, it means that no district will sit under the President’s voice, especially when there are no project supported and vehicles to take us to our people,” he noted, saying, “The action of the Executive branch is calculated to undermine us the legislators; we are the people’s representatives and you want to treat us like pempem boys.”
Apparently referring to the Speaker Bhofar Chambers, Representative Willie said in leadership, you must lead by example. There is a Bassa Parable that says: When you want all; and you are greedy for the big one, you will lose all.”
Soon after the phone lines were opened, the first voice that was heard was Representative Yekeh Kolubah of Montserrado County District #10 who buttressed his man to answer previous question posted to the guest as to how many are of them are prepared to boycott the President’s annual message?
“Watch and see, Watch and See, watch and see! We are not boys, we are men. This President wants to put our districts against us. He said developing our districts is not a priority so he cannot dignify it,” Representative Kolubah said.
He agreed with his colleague Willie and said that if development for their districts is not a priority then listening to the President’s message at is not also important and not a priority because the message is supposed to be for the people.
Another caller also agreed that the district support funds for legislative projects have been driving development initiatives in past regime, and noted it is important to restore it.