Liberia: Political campaigning paralyses Liberian parliament

Monrovia, Liberia (PANA) – Liberia’s 103-member parliament has gone into semi-coma as the lawmakers in both the upper and lower houses have taken to the campaign trail to seek votes for themselves and political parties in the ensuing presidential and legislative elections slated for 10 October 2017.

A little over 2.1 million registered voters will go to the polls to elect a president out of 20 contestants, while the voters will choose 73 members of the lower house of parliament out of nearly 1,000 candidates, around 150 of them females.

The 30-seat upper house is not concerned in these elections, but party loyalty and individual interests have seen some of them join the bandwagon to galvanize support for their political parties or aspirants of their choice.

For example, Vice President Joseph Boakai, who is president of the Liberian Senate, is running for the presidency as are Senators George Weah, Oscar Cooper and Prince Johnson, while Senator Jewel Taylor, ex-wife of Charles Taylor, seeks the vice presidency.  

With virtually no legislative functions ongoing, the Capitol Building, which houses the National Legislature, is like a graveyard with a few staff lingering in the corridors and literally having nothing to do as a result of power outage.

Apparently, important bills like the Land Rights Act would have to wait for the stage of the political campaigning theatre to draw the curtains for business as usual to resume for the lawmakers.

Ironically, a group of petitioners that had gone to the Capitol Building Tuesday to seek redress on matters related to the declining economic situation, decided to pull out of the grounds of parliament after waiting hours in vain, without finding a single lawmaker who would listen to their grievance and receive their petition.

“It is inconceivable that individuals paid by taxpayers’ money would abandon the people’s business for their personal interest. These lawmakers work only two days a week, can’t they use the other days to do own thing?” one angry petitioner asked.

And, as the case is now, the Capitol Building might not bustle in about a fortnight until the 10 October polls are held and the post-election dust settles.
-0- PANA PTK/AR 4Oct2017

04 october 2017 18:35:30

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