Legislative Staffers To Stall Speakership Elections if…

By Mark N. Mengonfia

Monrovia-Jan-10-TNR: Some staffers at the House of Representatives have threatened to hold the 55th Legislature Speakership election hostage if their two months’ benefits are not settled.

On Tuesday, January 9, 2023, the staffers at the House of Representatives placed roadblocks thus preventing members of that august body from accessing the building with their vehicles. They demanded that the government pay them for the last two months of work as their bosses are being paid for the extra sitting called by the President of Liberia.

Some Lawmakers who accessed the building had to park their vehicles at some other places and treaded to the House of Representatives wing of the Legislature.

Representative Yekeh Y. Kolubah upon arriving at the grounds of the Capital Building told protesting staff not to discontinue the protest because, with the protests, they (Lawmakers) who are outgoing will get their share of the money.

The Montserrado, District #10, lawmaker who parked his vehicle at the roadblock and moved towards the protesting workers said, “Protest for your benefits, that’s the only way you will get it.” Some of the protesting staff attempted to take down the flags of the various counties as part of their protest actions.

One of the staffers was heard saying, “In Liberia, when you don’t protest, actions are not taken. That’s why if they do not pay, their Speaker election will not go on.” Others said, “We need our money.”

Their action caught the attention of the outgoing Nimba County Representative who chairs the House’s Committee on Rules, Order and Administration, Johnson Gwaikolo, and others.

Rep. Gwaikolo told the protesting staff that their money has already been allotted and the process of getting it out is ongoing. “We are here to let you know that progress is being made, OK,” the Nimba County outgoing lawmaker assured the protesting staffers.

He assured them that all would be done in their power to ensure that both Senate and representative staffers get their payment done by Friday. He additionally said, “Everyone has his/her inner way to act. I don’t like demonstration business.”

Rep. Gwaikolo had earlier made efforts for the workers not to protest but his efforts didn’t get the right results as the Legislative staff were bent on protesting as a means of calling for attention for their payment to be made.

With the message from Gwaikolo that the process of getting the funds from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, it remains to be seen whether the protesters will halt the process.

With the threat from the workers at the House of Representatives that if their money is not paid, the Speakership election might not go on as planned. This means that if they are not paid, the presence of state securities will be high on the grounds of the Capitol Building to counter the protesters on Monday, January 15, 2024, a day set for the Speaker and other members of the House of Representatives elections.

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