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|Grading Liberian Lawmakers Part II: Who's Been Naughty; Who's Been Nice?||| Print ||
|Written by FPA Staff Writer|
|Monday, 24 December 2012 00:05|
Monrovia - Dogged by a bitter fight with the executive branch over a number of burning issues including the passage of the 2012/2013 national budget, calls for apology from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf over comments .... Follow Part I.
Ballah G. Zayzay, Representative, Margibi, District #2, Unity Party
Biggest 2012 Hits: The Margibi lawmaker sponsored a bill for the establishment of the Harbel college and was instrumental in the allotment of over forty thousand (US$40,000) in the national budget through the Ministry of Education for the Institution.
The lawmaker received accolades from youths of his county for supporting tertiary education through the introduction of the bill that created the Harbel College in September 2012 during the year under review.
The Margibi County lawmaker has also been in the forefront of efforts to establish a sports academy in Liberia. He submitted the bill and made a passionate appeal for a collaborative effort with the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL) for a smooth passage of the “Sports Academy Bill”. The bill remains in Committee Room of the House.
Representative Zayzay is on record for appealing to his colleagues at the Legislature to increase the monies allotted to education during the drafting of the current National budget. He is currently constructing a bridge in Zuawien, Margibi County.
Representative Zayzay has won popularity with the people of his district and county in general during his tenure and he has had a cordial working relationship with the people as he is always touching base with them to get their views on critical issues.
Biggest 2012 Miss: A stalwart of the ruling Unity Party and Margibi County District #2 Representative who believes there is no such thing as hardship in the country, sometimes ago told a group of intellectuals that the high unemployment rate and poverty is due to laziness and weakness amongst Liberians.
2013 Outlook: The lawmaker has held series of interaction with the people of his district and is looking forward to a fruitful working relationship during the next year.
Gabriel Smith District #3, in Grand Bassa County
Biggest 2012 Hit: The Bassa lawmaker during the year under review advocated for about 7.2million to be appropriated for the procurement of hitech medical equipments to address the health need of Liberians.
His conviction is that with such facility, ordinary Liberians who cannot afford seeking advance medical treatment abroad will have quality health service given them right in Liberia.
Rep. Smith, introduced the Coastal Defense Act of Liberia to be passed into law. The Bill seeks to address the problem of coastal Erosion in Liberia.
As an advocate on environmental issues, his move came as a result of the global phenomenal of Climate change and global warming which he said is taking a serious toll on the Liberian Coastal cities.
Rep. Smith defended the bill by highlighting to his colleagues that Buchanan and Monrovia have been the worst hit and that the bill when passed will create the legal framework within which the Government will take responsible actions aimed at addressing climate change.
At the National Democratic Institute’s policy seminar for legislators in September this year the lawmaker put forth some concrete proposals such as an alternative method for selecting members of the Elections Commission, which would regulate presidential appointments.
The Bassa lawmaker also introduced the ‘Resource pre-export value addition Act’ which seeks to mandate companies exploiting resources from Liberia to process a required percentage of their products into semi-finished and/finished product before export.
Rep. Smith believes this will add value to Liberian resources while at the same time create more employment for qualified Liberians.
Biggest 2012 Miss: Representative Smith and other Bassa Lawmakers could not interview in the public fight between Bassa Lawmaker Byron Brown and River Cess James Baney during a feud over the remains of the latter’s dead wife. This incident was a disgraceful situation that the Bassa Caucus could have worked to avert.
2013 Outlook: The lawmaker seems to be looking to continue his advocacy on environmental issues as he has done during the year under review.
Bhophal Chambers Representative, Maryland, County District #2
Biggest 2012 Hit: Representatives Chambers remains one of the few opposition voice in the house and a strong critic of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
During the year under review the Maryland County lawmaker called on his colleagues in the house to prevail upon the Executive branch to demilitarize the country, citing budgetary constraints.
The Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) lawmaker argument came against the backdrop of the present condition of the military in Liberia, in terms of support deficit.
Rep. Chambers is on record for accusing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of appointing her relatives and family members to serve in government. The lawmaker who has been at odds with the President over differences that emerged over an oil palm concession in his district, accused the President of not being truthful to the Liberian people about her son Robert Sirleaf’s role at National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL).
Representative Chambers has also been in the forefront of anti gay advocacy in the legislature leading to the passage of a bill criminalizing same sex relationships. He called on President Sirleaf to state a clear position on the issue adding that he will lead a campaign to "impeach" the President if she fails to make known her position.
Biggest 2012 Miss: Representative Chambers during the year under review criticized former British Prime Minister Tony Blair for raining what he called undue praises on President Sirleaf during the Brit’s visit to Liberia. Rep. Chambers accused Blair of accepting kickback from the President thus his showers of praise. Chambers remains an active and vocal member of the legislature, seizing any given opportunity to strike a point and remains one of the key voice of the people he represents even though critics of the lawmaker believes that he overly criticizes the President even when she does the right thing.
2013 Outlook: The lawmaker is set to continue his line of advocacy and criticisms on the hard issues and will continue to direct his criticism to where others dare not go.
Alex Tyler, LAP, Bomi
Biggest 2012 Hits: As head of the 53rd legislature, House Speaker Alex Tyler has led the way for a more rigorous body this year, either in terms of seeking their own interest of working in the interest of the people they were elected to serve.
Even though during his address to members of the house during the closing ceremony of the 1st session of the house of representatives of the 53rd legislature House Speaker Alex Tyler praised the body for doing the work of their “bosses- the people, with no small amount of uncommon zeal” the house of representatives still is yet to convince the public that it is ready for business.
During the year under review, the diversity of political parties represented at what he calls the “people’s palava hut,” were forcefully put across and equally heard and attended to according to Tyler. Over twenty-five (25) bills were passed and signed into law during the year under review under Tyler’s gavel.
But with an additional fifty (50) bills still in committee room, covering a vast array of subjects and interests including support for rural community radio, to community colleges; to support for Liberian businesses and entrepreneurs; to energy and tax reform. These bills also include the minimum wage bill; observers are holding their cards to their chest as this means a dent in the record of the Tyler leadership.
Biggest 2012 Miss: As the oil bloc fight continued lawmakers led by Speaker Tyler and President Pro Tempore Gbezhonga Findley, threatened to go public with what they claim is financial records of the president’s son in exchange for oil blocks. This move would later come to be dubbed as a blackmail attempt by Tyler and Cohorts including Rep. Edwin Snowe of District #6 who would later apologize to the first family for the accusations levied against them.
Speaker Tyler is also on record for threatening to defeat any bill that seeks to legalize same sex relationships. The house under Tyler has also come under a barrage of criticism for not doing anything to increase civil servants salary during the budget debate. The body was also accused of taking bribes from the executive to get things done in committee rooms, hidden from the glare of the public.
The House under Tyler was engulfed in a bitter wrangle for months with the executive over several issues including the president’s assertion before the United States Council on Foreign relations that ‘We didn’t give it to them; they took it’.
The house led by Tyler sought an apology from the President and it took the timely intervention of members of the National Traditional Council of Liberia to break the deadlock between the two branches.
Tyler’s leadership also brought some sanity to that body on the issue of respect in the case of acting Monrovia City Mayor Mary Broh, Broh was somewhat tamed because of the strong stance of the lawmakers in both the senate and the House for what many called gross disrespect to the body. It took the President’s intervention to call a truce.
Keeping bad company with Representative Edwin Snowe would later delve an almost fatal blow to Tyler’s relationship with his fellow partisan President Sirleaf.
2013 Outlook: Tyler is hoping for a more cordial relationship with the executive branch to do the work of the People.
Grade C: As leader of the House Tyler bears the burden of excesses