— MATERSEL National Chairman Burphy asserts; Wants Citizens Save Liberia from Spending on By-Elections
Richlue O. Burphy, national chairman of the Movement Against the Election of Representatives to the Senate of Liberia (MATERSEL), has called on patriotic Liberians not to vote for any sitting Representatives contesting the 2020 Senatorial elections.
MATERSEL is a new breed of movement established to instill political integrity in the country’s body politics to protect the coffers of Liberia as well as save the future from the embarrassment of ‘artificial by-elections after the December 8, 2020, senatorial elections.
A statement signed and released on Sunday, November 15, 2020, by its national chairman said in as much as “We acknowledged that, unlike the Code of Conduct that requires members of the Executive Branch of government to resign their appointed positions before contesting elections, there is no such law requiring Representatives to resign before contesting in other elections.”
However, the advocacy group takes an exception to what it calls “Greed” and “Self-perpetuation” in power to the detriment of the country by ignoring the passage of good laws but to create a condition to meet their ego.
Burphy said: “It’s regrettable to see 17 sitting representatives contesting in 13 counties with the mindset of creating 13 by-elections in the country. Where do they expect the government to raise such huge funding for the conduct of such unwanted by-elections? they are evil and shouldn’t be given air to breathe in our political sphere. If we mean to eradicate this despicable political lifestyle, we must start now. We’re the controllers of our own destiny and as such, we the people, the masses, can shift the pendulum of history by instilling correctness and ensuring that there will be no future replication.”
It can be recalled that in the 2019 Senatorial by-election in Montserrado County, the Government of Liberia provided the National Elections Commission (NEC) US$2.5 million to conduct it. Due to the deaths of two Representatives, the government is to provide for the NEC US$398,497.32 to conduct the December 8 Senatorial election, and two Representative by-elections; an amount some said at the time of submission that it was even little for the elections.
The issue of sitting Representatives and Senators contesting other electoral positions was once raised by Grand Cape Mount County Senator, Varney Sherman, going as far as carving a bill seeking to compel such lawmakers to resign their posts before contesting, but this bill was trashed out by the lawmakers.
Mr. Burphy maintains that the election of these sitting lawmakers is inappropriate and has a huge financial burden on the state.
“There are those sitting Representatives who are currently contesting the senate elections; something we’ve identified as not only devilish, baroque, plethoric, and unconscionable but also as giving rise to inferior judgment,” he noted.
Burphy further indicated that those lawmakers who have not yet ended their tenures, are engaging in a desperate political move that does not contribute to the growth and development of the country, but will instead plunge the country into deficit by the use of taxpayers’ money for the conduct of unnecessary by-elections.
He said as it stands, the economy of our country is already shattered and is resting in the abyss of despair.
Quoting WFP and the World Bank, Burphy said more than two-thirds of Liberian people are still languishing in abject poverty; moreover, 1.3 million are living in extreme poverty with evidence that the situation is progressively worse.
He noted that the aforementioned Representatives are avoiding the reality of the economic situation of the country and attempting to “Rob” the little that should be directed to the struggling people, who as usual are always victims of their unfulfilled promises.
“To name but a few: Due to irregular salaries and lack of adequate resources, health workers laid down their equipment, just to signal out how they have been getting maltreatment in the health sector. As you are aware, our health system plays a vital role which cannot be stressed enough towards the existence of the citizenry. Without a good health sector, people will get sick and die, which is currently happening,” he stressed.
Tragically, Burphy said, “The agriculture sector has retrogressed desperately. We cannot grow enough food to feed the nation, not even the staple food which is rice. Instead, we import more than 50% of the rice required for the nation and spend up to $100 million on rice import alone.”
He also referenced the education system “Suffering from regression in comparison with our peers in the sub-region.”
“Our children who are incidentally the future leaders of this country are being cheated and robbed of their future. They are not being properly educated due to the low standard in the schools and the lack of priority given to the sector by our government. Lack of resources, properly qualified teachers, oversight of schools in the sector, and government support for poorer children are just some of the many challenges facing the sector.
“These are only some of the negatives tearing down the sanity of our democracy amid the facts that legislative staffers are protesting for salaries, NGOs are flagging the dubious ways they have been treated, journalists are crying for security, and civil servants are dramatizing their demands for transparency and sincerity, and we cannot continue to sit folding our hands and pretending that nothing is happening,” he said.
He continued: “We cannot continuously embrace the delusive phantom of hope that is being provided by these state looters and regime stooged.”
At MATERSEL, Burphy said they believe in the ideology that every government should focus on the welfare of the people above all else. He said the people who voted for them should be prioritized and emphasis placed on their dignity.
“We need to collectively work towards the sustainable development of the country through the appropriate and efficient utilization of state resources,” he added.
“We should strive towards adequate health, education, and agriculture sectors. Good schools and roads should be standard in the country, our teachers, nurses and all civil servants should be paid regularly and on time. Above all else, we should not subject state resources to wasteful projects such as by-elections.”
He further said: “Being a sitting Representative and contesting for another position is a clear attempt to portray how greedy, over-ambitious, selfish, and psychopathic those individuals are. They mean no good for Liberia and the people who voted for them and as such, we must resist them.”
According to him, current Representatives should be resisted in every corner because their intention is to put another financial burden on the country by causing the country to spend the people’s money on bye-elections if any of them should win on December 8, 2020.