House Speaker Bhoffal Chambers and Senate President Pro Tempore, Albert Chie have urged protestors to abandon the June 7 demonstration because, according to them, most of the issues raised by the planners, the Council of Patriots, need considerable time to be addressed. Meanwhile, House Speaker Dr. Bhofal Chambers has argued that protests over the years have bad omen, referencing the bloody April 14 rice riot and April 12 coup d’etat.
The remarks from the Senate’s Chief Administrator and the Head of the House of Representatives followed a closed-door courtesy visit to the Legislature by the United Nations Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, at the head of a delegation including the Ambassadors from ECOWAS and the African Union, held in the office of the Speaker, at the Capitol.
Speaking to journalists on Friday, May 24, 2019 also in the office of the Speaker, the two legislative leaders said they discussed a variety of issues including the economy, the impeachment of Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh, the planned June 7 protest, among others.
Speaker Chambers, speaking rather sternly, expressed disappointment that the protest organizers, some of them being his colleagues in the House of Representatives, would form part of the controversial demonstration. The Speaker’s remarks come amid recent complaints by several other members of the House of Representatives concerning what they describe as his poor leadership in the House, especially when presiding over legislative activities that have not met due diligence requirements or are simply unconstitutional.
In his remarks following the meeting with Dr. Chambas and others, the Speaker stressed that during the tenure of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, worse things occurred, including the bankruptcy of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL), which did not prompt a protest. Instead, he wondered why the Weah Administration, which has spent under two years in office, cannot be given the chance to fulfill its mandate to the the Liberian people.
The Maryland County District #2 Representative said that planners of the protest have no good intentions for the country and according to him, it is very disappointing for the planners to abuse the opportunity given them on May 14, when they were expected to express their ‘grievances’ in front of the President and international partners, but did not.
The Grand Kru County Senator, for his part, indicated the government needs time to tackle those genuine issues, though he did not state how much time. However, he said with time the government could ably address these challenges, therefore the planners should cut-off the protests and Liberians should, according to him, shun the demonstration.
The House’s Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Bomi County District #1 Representative, Edwin M. Snowe, Jr., who leads the Liberian delegation at the ECOWAS Parliament was the only lawmaker along wwith Senate President Pro Tempore and the House Speaker who met the UN and ECOWAS delegation. He reserved comment.
Also on Friday, the the UN Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel also meet the Council of Patriots in a closed-door meeting.