-In Legislative Participation-IREDD Report
By Reuben Sei Waylaun
The opposition Unity Party (UP) has topped the governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) in legislative participation times during the first session of the 54th Legislature according to the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) full monitoring reporting under the theme: “Promises Fulfilled.”
At the House of Representatives, the report says a total of 849 participation times were recorded over the period January to September 2018.
IREDD said of the participation times, the opposition Unity Party (UP) performed highest with cumulative participation of 282 participation times followed by the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC with 213 participation times.
They were also followed by the People Unification Party (PUP) with a total of 164 participation times. Others are Independents (86); LINU (20); ALP (16); MDR (16); MOVEE (14); LP (13); VCP (11); LTP (9); MPC (5) participation times accordingly.
The report also said at the Liberian Senate, a total of 1146 participation times were recorded during the period. The UP attained 509 participation times while the Liberty Party came second with 125 participation times. The ruling CDC attained 103 participation times; the National Patriotic Party (102); NDC (100); IND (65); NUDP (40); ANC (33); APD (30); PUP (23); and MDR (16) participation times cumulatively.
On lawmaking, the organization recorded 15 bills passed by the House of Representatives during the period under-review. “Of that number, the Senate concurred with the lower House on ten (10) although the President vetoed one of the bills; the Mineral Development Agreement between the Government of Liberia and Humingburg Resources-Liberia Inc. Essentially, nine bills emanating from the House of Representatives were passed into law during the period.”
“At the Senate, IREDD recorded twenty-two (22) bills, twenty (20) of those bills are pending concurrence at the House of Representatives. It pleases IREDD to note that two of the bills she has long advocated for (Local Government Act and Land Rights Act) which originated in the Senate were finally passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the President on September 19, 2018.
It is important to note that participation time as defined by IREDD does not measure the quality of the debate, just the number of times a representative spoke on the floor of plenary,” the report.
At the House of Representatives, the governing CDC topped with 898 out of the 3,568 present times recorded by the organization during the period under review, while the Unity Party (UP) obtained 835.
Others are IND (535); PUP (206); LP (152); ALP (131); MDR (76); LINU (53); LTP (52); VCP (47); MOVEE (45); MPC (39) present times cumulatively.
“Total “absences” for the period was 838. Of this figure, CDC lawmakers toped the absent times with 219 times cumulatively. The UP absences amounted to 144 times; the PUP (199); Independents (160); LP (53); ALP (22); MPC (13); MOVEE (10); VCP (5); LINU (3); and the LTP (2) absence times cumulatively. For the category of “distant” which accounts for lawmaker’s not in session or attending plenary but are out on official duty either abroad or in his or her district, the total recorded figure is 272 “distant times,” the report.
“The “excuse” category which denotes absences based on letter written by a lawmaker seeking excuse from plenary for other reasons was 30. In the “sick” category which is official excuse due to illness, the total “sick” times recorded was 28. Of this number, Representative Munah Pelham Youngblood of the CDC accounted of 26. IREDD observed that on average, for every three times a representative attended session, he or she was away from session one time.
“Comparing the attendance record of the representatives of three parties, the CDC scored 4 As, 6 Bs, 6 Cs, 4 Ds and 2 Fs. The UP obtained 7 As, 6 Bs, 3 Cs, 1 D, and 3 Fs. The LP obtained no A, no B, 3 Cs, and 1 D. A record of attendance between 90-100% equals “A”; 80-89% equals “B”; 70-79% equals “C”; 60-69% equals “D”; any average below equals an “F” grade,” the report.
IREDD said it’s record of attendance encapsulates averages of whether a lawmaker was recorded “present, absent, distant, excused, or sick” during the plenary period.
House of Senate
“A total number of eight hundred and seventeen (817) present times was recorded by IREDD for the period. The UP topped with 321 present times followed by the LP with 88 present times. Others recorded were CDC (70); NPP (64); NDC (63); Independents (40); NUDP (35); PUP (29); APD (29); LDP (29); and, ANC (25) present times cumulatively. Total “absences” for the period was 122. Of this figure, UP lawmakers were absent the most times (29). The NDC absences amounted to 15 times; LP (14); CDC (8); NPP (10); MDR (10); PUP (8); ANC (7); APD (7); LDP (7); NUDP (3); and, Independents (2) absence times cumulatively.
“For the category of “distant” the total recorded number is 103 “distant times.” There were 7 in the “excuse” category and in the “sick” category; the total “sick times” recorded was 43. Of this number, Senator Geraldine Doe Sheriff accounted for 28.
As with the House of Senate, IREDD observed that on average, for every three times a Senator attended session, he or she was away from session one time. Comparing the attendance record of Senators of three parties, the CDC scored no A, with only 2 Bs. The UP obtained 3 As, 3 Bs, 2 Cs, 1 D, and 1 F. The LP obtained no A, no B, 1 C, and 2 Ds,” the report added.
Meanwhile, in terms of county presence at plenary session, Nimba County scored the highest with an average attendance score of 88% while Bomi County ranked least at 45.2%. In between these scores, Margibi ranked second with an average attendance of 87.4%, followed by Rivergee in third with an average of 86.2%. Others are: Maryland (82.6%); Gbarpolu (81.9%); Bong (81.5%); (Grand Kru (81.5%); Lofa (80.9%); Sinoe (78.3%); Grand Cape Mount (77.5%); Montserrado (76.2%); Rivercess (76.1%); Grand Gedeh (70.3%); and, Grand Bassa (67%).
The report added “highlighting the highest and lowest performing counties, for Nimba, which has nine representatives in the House, one representative scored an “A” grades with the other eight each getting “B” grades. For the least performing Bomi County, two of the three representatives scored “Fs” and the third obtained a grade of “C”.”
“In the Senate, Grand Gedeh County scored the highest with an average attendance score of 89.2% while Montserrado County ranked least at 28.57%. In between these scores, Rivercess ranked second with an average attendance of 83.3%, followed by Maryland and Grand Kru in third with an average of 82.1%. Others are: Rivergee (79.7%); Lofa (79.7%); Bomi (77.3%); Sinoe (77.3%); Margibi (76.2%); Grand Cape Mount (77.5%); Grand Bassa (71.4%); Nimba (70.2%) and Bong (52.4%);
“Highlighting the highest and lowest performing counties in the Senate; Grand Gedeh County which ranked highest scored an “A” and a “B” grade. For the least performing Montserrado County, Senator Geraldine Doe Sheriff, the lone Senator for much of the legislative sitting, scored an “F” which was largely due to her illness,” the report further added.