An official of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) has described the ongoing rivalry at the House of Representatives as “deeply troubling and worrisome.”
Bartholomew B. Colley, Acting Chairperson of the Commission, noted that the situation has the adverse implication of violating basic human rights that are largely dependent on laws enacted by the legislators.
“The reckless and willful display of shameless power and insensitivity to the already pitiful conditions of the citizens speak volumes to the political culture that we are building,” Colley said.
He observed that the split and internal bickering at the Lower House has not only paralyzed the functions of the House itself, but has taken it down to its lowest ebb, thereby denying the people their basic social services, including health and education.
He said the House is an integral part of the first branch of government which, according to him, has the constitutional duties to make laws, provide necessary oversight and to ensure the fulfillment and realization of the fundamental rights of the people.
Colley made the remarks when he addressed journalists last Thursday at the Commission’s head office in Congo Town, Monrovia.
The Lawmakers, Colley admonished, should conduct themselves, at all times, in line with the Constitution and the people who, out of moral integrity, elected them to the ‘Honorable Office’ to guarantee their freedom from fear and want.
“Today, the House, which should have been a very strong and united force to collaborate with the Senate and the Executive as well as the Judicial branches of government, is divided into two separate factions, just because of Speaker J. Alex Tyler’s refusal to recuse or resign his post since he was linked to a bribery claim by a foreign-based company,” Colley stated.
He, however, called on the Lawmakers to be mindful of their responsibilities to the nation and do away with egos and political clichés that are stalling national development.
The bickering in the Lower House is also compromising the protection and promotion of the political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights of Liberians, he said, adding that the situation also poses a serious challenge to the peaceful holding of Presidential and Legislative Elections in 2017.
“Let our Lawmakers exemplify true leadership by demonstrating their trustworthiness, reliability and selflessness,” Mr. Colley said.
Speaker J. Alex Tyler, together with Senator Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County and others, is at the center of the Global Witness Report that alleged they took bribes to change the Public Procurement Concession Commission Law in favor of the British Sable Mining Company in its bid to mine the iron ore rich Wologizi Mountain in Lofa County.