By: Varney Dukuly
Monrovia: The Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) has released its 2022 Legislative performance monitoring report, indicating that the leadership of the First Branch of government is being overly influenced by the Executive Branch, leading to imbalance in the overall governance process.
The report, among other things, noted that decision making process at the Legislature is predominantly supported by the majority constituting 74% mostly against the interest of the vast majority of people who are backed by minority lawmakers.
“The overall objective for monitoring the legislature: To Strengthen Legislators’ Performance Accountability,” the report added.
Tasked with the responsibility to make laws, represent and oversight, IREDD’s latest report said many lawmakers who are receiving lip-smacking support from tax payers are refusing to attend plenary sittings on Tuesdays and Thursdays of a week.
At a news conference held on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, the group Executive Director, Mathias Yeaney, disclosed that 7 Senators who frequently attended plenary sittings, scored ‘A’ for regular attendance.
But, 1 Senator fell below the passing mark and scored ‘F’ for low attendance times. According to him, 2 Representatives scored ‘A’ for regular plenary attendance times while 30 Representatives scored ‘F’ for low plenary attendance.
“The 2 Representatives who scored ‘A’ for high plenary attendance times are: Bhofal Chambers/CDC, Maryland County; Ivar Kokulo Jones/IND, Margibi County,”
“While the 20 Representatives who scored F for low plenary attendance times are: Lawrence Morris/IND. Dist. 1 Montserrado County; Thomas P. Fallah/CDC Dist. 5 Montserrado County; Samuel Regen Enders/IND. Dist. 6 Montserrado County;
Yekeh Y. kolubah/IND. Dist. 10 Montserrado County; Edward W. Karfiah/PUP Dist. 5 Bong County; Hans M. Barchue/IND. Dist. 1 Grand Bassa County; Mary M. Karwor/UP. Dist. 2 Grand Bassa County,” the report added.
For the Senate, it says the 7 Senators who scored A for high plenary attendance are: “Albert T. Chie/IND, Grand Kru County; J. Milton Teahjay/UP, Sinoe County; Abraham Darius Dillon/LP, Montserrado County; J. Emmanuel Nuquay/PUP, Margibi County; Simeon B. Taylor/ANC, Grand Cape Mount County; Numene T.H. Bartekwa/IND. Grand Kru County; and Gbotoe Kanneh/IND. Gbarpolu County.”
However the only Senator who scored F for low plenary attendance, according to the report, is Edwin Melvin Snowe/IND, Bomi County, “even though he represents Liberia at the ECOWAS but no activities report from his assignment.”
Giving honor to whom honor is due, the report singled out 6 Senators who were frequent in plenary’s participation and scored high marks. They include Abraham Darius Dillion/LP, Montserrado County; J. Milton Teahjay/UP, Sinoe County.
Other are J. Gbleh-Bo-Brown/IND. Maryland County; Numene T.H. Bartekwa/IND. Grand Kru County; Varney G. Sherman/UP Grand Cape Mount County; Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence/LP, Grand Bassa County.
Despite the accolade captured in the report for some lawmakers, the Liberian Legislature has been recorded as lacking political independence to effectively exercise its oversight responsibilities.
“IREDD’s monitors recorded that less than 10% of the 120 Government Ministries, Agencies and Commissions (MACs) that received direct budgetary support on a fiscal basis submitted budget performance reports;
They are: Ministry of Transports; Ministry of Internal Affairs; Ministry of Gender; Ministry of Post and Telecommunications’; Liberia Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (LEITI) and the Liberia National Police (LNP).”
The report indicates that there are other compelling issues still trending unresolved over the bicameral Liberian Legislature. It says the Legislature remains unaudited amid public calls for system audit supported by some legislators, including Senator Abraham Darius Dillon and Representative Yekeh K. Kolubah.
According to the report, appointment of legislators to specialized committees such as Ways, Means and Finance without basic subject matter expertise, mainly at the House of Representatives and the lack of automated voting machine to document legislators’ votes as well as Lack of functional website are major issues seriously impacting the works of the body.
However, the Legislature is yet to respond to the latest report coming from the Institute for Research and Democratic Development that provides monitoring of that body every year.