— Sen. Prince Moye
Check and balance in democratic governance makes it compelling to have three branches of government; namely, the Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary, with each branch conducting its affairs without the interference of another branch.
However, check and balance allows one branch to follow up on the performances of the other in line with the laws governing the entire system, and it is in this vein that newly inducted Bong County Senator, Prince Moye, has promised to join forces with other like-minded Senators of the 54th Legislature to hold the Executive Branch accountable in the execution of the country’s budget which is the major working tool.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer on January 13, 2021, Senator Moye who has served as Bong County Representative for nine years and was elected in the December 2020 Senatorial mid-term election to serve a new nine-year term, stated: “I am going to see to it that the budget execution is not left with the Executive. The budget is the development tool that the country has to work with, and its execution should impact the lives of every Liberian and not used in a particular segment alone, leaving the rest of the country out.”
Acknowledging the people of Bong County for electing him overwhelmingly in the recent election, Senator Moye asserted that, “in as much as I was consulted to represent the interest of the people at the level of the Senate, nothing more, nothing more than their interest. No other interest but the Liberian people’s interest.”
He added that as a former co-presiding officer and Ways and Means Committee Chairperson in the House of Representatives, he will liaise with his colleagues whose interest is the country to use their oversight responsibility to see to it that the national budget is executed to the letter.
“We are going to see to it that what is placed in there for CARI, for example, for CB Dunbar, for Bong Technical College, for Zwedru Multilateral; what they have in there, let them have it on time,” Senator Moye asserted.
The Bong County Senator, who was inducted into office on Monday, January 12 along with four others, contended that the revenue envelop of the country is performing well but clinics, hospitals, schools and feeder roads are not touched.
“The budget has two sides — the revenue and expenditure,” he explained. “You have to receive before spending, and when you are receiving so much, it means you are performing and therefore have to spend. Spending must not be restricted to one segment of the country and others be left out completely.”
According to Sen. Moye, “spending the national budget in one segment of the country” reflects the reasons for which Liberians voted the way they did in the December 8, 2020 senatorial election.
Referencing the election, Senator Moye said: “I went across the county (Bong) to campaign and we all saw how the results went across the country. By the results, you know that our people are not happy with the way they are governed.”
He said if the Executive were using the budget to impact the people equitably and evenly, the ruling party would not have gotten the results it got in the election after putting up candidates across the country.
He noted that Liberia’s budget of US$530 million, used during the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Administration, which saw a lot of areas functioning well, is what the country still uses; yet things are falling apart.
“We used the same US$530 million during Ellen Administration and there were lots of activities; drugs in clinics and hospitals, and schools were way, way performing. Community colleges were performing and teachers were not sleeping in the banks because of no money. We still have the same $530 or more million and you hear cries of the people all over. This means that something is wrong somewhere, and perhaps the Committee on Ways and Means that is supposed to have oversight of the budget is not effective,” he added.
As he takes on his new task at the Senate, Senator Moye said there is no way that he can skip the Budget Committee, which needs representation from each county, and he will ensure that he views that performance of the financial budget every two weeks and if anything goes contrary to what allotments are for, the Deputy Minister for Fiscal Affairs or the relevant authority will be invited for questioning and onward action.
“We are going to put our feet down to correct the wrong,” Senator Moye said.
Senator Moye’s disclosure of plans to hold the Executive in check signals a tough time that the George Weah Administration may face with the upper House. In many instances, the President, who has the spending power and serves as the head of government, has influenced the Legislature most of the time to go his or her way. Now, with the Senate dominated by more opposition and independent candidates as a result of the December 8, 2020 mid-term election, President George Weah may have no easy ride to the achievement of his agenda given the level of scrutiny that can now be expected.