The Director of the Legislative Information Service (LIS), Mr. McCarthy Weh, who made the call, emphasized the fact that Liberians’ quest for a New Liberia is largely contingent on a legislature that is reform and transformation focused, as the body responsible for ensuring checks and balances.
He noted that to produce a reform-oriented and transformational legislature, voters must uncompromisingly reject and deny return of lawmakers to the Legislature who have reneged on engaging into meaningful policy formulation for improvement in the livelihood of citizens in the last six years.
Mr. McCarthy Weh who heads the knowledge-based information center of the Legislature, made the call in a press statement. The Information Service oversees the library, archives and research divisions of the Liberian Legislature. The bi-cameral department amongst other services provides institutional reform-tailored research for national growth and development.
In his release, he reaffirms his long held view over the years that the Legislature stands at the core of Liberia’s entrenched challenge of backwardness and underdevelopment; stressing that lawmakers’ failure to embark upon sweeping reform of their own institution, makes it highly difficult to meaningfully contribute in achieving national transformation.
He stated that the lawmakers themselves are to blame for the relentless public perception that the body is intrinsically corrupt due to its reluctance in championing attributes of transparency, accountability and openness.
For the mere fact that the first branch of government’s financial books have never been opened for review and/or audits, though a recipient of more than half a billion United States Dollars since 2006, justifies public perception.
He stressed that until (more) reform-minded individuals are voted and champions of transparency, accountability and openness assume leaderships at the President Pro tempore and Speaker-ship levels of the Senate and House, Liberia will continue to remain in the continual endless cycle of hopelessness and deprivation.
Director Weh who heads the research division of the Legislature states that statistics show the Liberian Legislature has received over US600m since 2006; while the current 54th Legislature has received budgetary appropriations amounting to more than US270m, far more than the previous two: 52nd (US106.5m+/-) and 53rd (US226.4m+/-). The Legislature’s research boss who is now a Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ referenced the biblical saying, “To whom much is given, much is required” as contained in Luke 12:48.
The Research Director laments that with this whooping amount received by the Liberian Legislature in general and the current 54th in particular, its state of professionalism is sadly poor.
He notes that the first branch lacks nearly every necessity required for its effective running – lack of WiFi/internet, persistent lack of stationery and needed office equipment, no public busses for its staffers.
Speaking of rejecting undeserving lawmakers, Director Weh is emphatically calling on: the religious community in Bomi County, all members of various political parties, members of the physically challenged community, petite traders and yana boys, youth and student groups, teachers and marketers, traditional leaders, civil society actors, and civil servants throughout Bomi County to categorically reject the re-election bid of Senator Morris Saytumah.
Mr. Weh states emphatically that Senator Saytumah has in the last six years turned the Senate’s Ways and Means into a criminal cartel against the knowledge-based information center in particular and other department in general, to the extent that budgetary funding to his department has not been forthcoming.
As a consequence of Senator Saytumah’s action, service delivery by the information center has been largely paralyzed during most part of his tenure since assuming the chairmanship of the Senate’s Ways,
Means and Finance Committee. Director Weh states that Chairman Saytumah is yet to account for US320,000.00 out of the US350,000.00 appropriated for the effective running of the information center,
the LIS Department. Director Weh regrets that even US50,000.00 approved by the Ministry of Finance (sometime around April of this year for the information center) and transferred into the Senate Central
Bank’s Account is yet to be released, while the Modernization Secretariat has since received its share of US50,000.00. Staffers have since begun to collect funds from amongst themselves to improvise somehow.
This singular cruel and unpatriotic act has led to the lack of internet since last year to present.
The now Pentecostal preacher, Director Weh, opines that God detests greedy, self-centered and oppressive personalities and leaders; therefore, any leader with insatiable greed for public wealth and perceived as embodiment of corruption, anti-transparency-and-openness, needs not serve in the public sector.
Such leader must rather be self-employed, noting that public sector is for self-less public service that will benefit most, if not all the population.
Director Weh expresses hope that those currently heading the Legislature and lacking reform mindset and transformation attributes must not continue to lead the august body into the 55th Legislature, noting that no reform-deficient and anti-transformation leader must steer the affairs of leadership at the highest level, come 2024 and beyond.
He divulges that the current legislature has received in appropriations and/or allotments, no less than US270 million in six years.
Yet, with no WiFi installation for internet services, lack of stationery and other vital office supplies, no transportation services for greater number of staffers, and other necessities, as it was seventeen (17) years ago (in 2006) prior to the crafting of the Legislative Modernization Plan.
This simply speaks to the fact that the institution is bereft of reform-oriented and transformational leaders; and beginning with the 55th Legislature, there must be that eagerly craved shift in paradigm.
It can be recalled in 2015 during the 53rd Legislature, Director Weh and the LIS submitted a twelvecount reform proposal to the then Speaker and President Pro tempore under the theme: Recognizing Need for Progress, Confronting Challenges and Proffering Reforms to rebrand and transform.
Since 2015 the bi-cameral has been pushing the legislative reform agenda, something that has led to some leaders of the Legislature antagonizing the department; the Director now Pastor however remains unrelenting for legislative reform and people’s transformation.
Should reform-oriented and transformational leaders be voted for the 55th Legislature in January, 2024, one can be cautiously optimistic that it will do better than the 52nd, 53rd and now the 54th Legislature,
Director Weh concluded.