The lazy work attitude exhibited by Liberian lawmakers on their Jobs has been over the years reported by the local media and some civil society and non-governmental organizations. Some institutions have repeatedly reported about lawmakers staying away from the session, or making no contributions to discussions on the plenary floor intended to better the livelihood of the citizens.
This attitude is seemingly getting noticed not only by the media, public and civil society groupings, but by lawmakers themselves who see their colleagues’ action as a complete disservice to the people who elected them to serve as their representatives at the level of the legislature.
On Tuesday, September 2, during one of their regular sessions, Representative George Mulbah (NPP-District #3-Bong County) raised the issue about his colleagues’ attitude to travel out of the country in the wake of the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus that has led to the imposition of a state of the emergency.
In his argument, the Bong County lawmaker requested plenary to instruct the House Committee on Rules, orders and administration to present a listing of all Lawmakers who have legitimate excuses to travel out of the country or into their districts during these periods of state of emergency.
Representative Mulbah said: “Mr. Presiding and honorable members it is about time that plenary as the highest decision making body gives a timeline to all lawmakers to return to work and jointly work with the executive to address the current situation in the Country.” In keeping with plenary rules, lawmakers are only allowed to be absent from a session for 14 days with approval from the speaker anything to the contrary is in violation of the plenary guideline.
Article 87 (A) of the Liberian constitution calls for the Legislature to immediately convene in special session if they are on agriculture break and remain in session during the entire period of the state of emergency.
In a motion filed by Representative Tokpah Mulbah (CDC-District #1 Bong County) and former deputy speaker of the 52nd National legislature, he called for the plenary to in consultation with the office of the speaker and the Committee on Rules, Orders and Administration write those lawmakers staying away from session instructing them to return to work within 72 hours.
The motion was seconded, and amended that the 72 hours be extended to one week to provide some lawmakers out of the country more time to return which he accepted, but failed to say in his action what punishable measures will be instituted against violators.
Some of the lawmakers that have been absent from session for the past three weeks include; Samuel Gayah (UP-District #1 Bomi County), Edward Karfia (NDC- District #5 Bong County), Gerthrude Lamin (UP- District #3 Gbapolu County) Emerson Kamara (LTP- District#3 Grand Cape Mount County), George Blamo (UP-District#1 Grand Kru County) Eugene Fallah Kparkar (LP-District #1 Lofa County) on sick leave, James Biney (NPP-District! Maryland County) and Bill Twehway (UP-District#1 Montserrado County)
Others include; Munah Pelham, Larry Younquooi (APD-District#8 Nimba County), Jeremiah Mccaulay, (NDC-District#2 Sinoe County) and Jefferson Kanmoh (APD-District #1 Sinoe County).
Recently similar action was taken by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ordering all officials of government under the Executive Branch of Government who traveled out of Liberia without excuse to return home or risk dismissal from government. Two weeks after the President’s order it was announced that some government officials have been relieved from their post, though the Executive Mansion failed to resell the names of officials affected by the action.