No More “Free Money” for Legislators Who Refuse to Work

President-elect George M. Weah


By Keith Neville Asumuyaya Best


“The campaign is over, and it is time to do the Liberian People’s work. Our quest is for all Liberians to work together to move the country forward; in the interest of the people, let’s work!’’ -President-elect George M. Weah

Sounding a bit subdued after all of the recent activity, some honorees and guests almost missed the steel that the president-elect’s words carried for the many who were —many who followed his speech.

It was nothing less than a jeremiad (a warning) that took the form of—and brought back memories of—one of those clinically delivered soccer goals, delivered years ago, by one of the world’s best: Liberia’s George Oppong Weah!

Last week, another clinically crafted-goal, delivered—this time by a president-in waiting, Weah’s message was crafted as an indirect word of caution—advice.

Addressed to members of the Legislature: the president-elect made it plain and simple: “…put aside politics and work in the interest of the country.”

Those who caught on could not have gone away believing that his words meant anything more, or anything less than what he had intended.

And that, “coming from a fledgling (baby-bird) of a politician that—no one but a handful, a few months before, would have stooped (lowered or bent himself) to credit with such a concise (brief and snappy) and yet, profound (thoughtful and deep) summary of the political and economic mess (morass) that today represents the reality, into which 2018 has ushered, albeit, dropped Oppong Weah, with his nation and people in tow.

What more could have been asked for? The program was styled as a commencement-exercise—at which diplomas were handed out.

The ambience (atmosphere) shifted and a slow-creeping, serious new air that 2018 injected, slowed the high-stepping and swirling celebrators, changing the national mood. The electorate soon recognized that indeed, Unity Party had been dispatched (sent off into retirement), and it was time to reflect.

Gradually, the tempo toned itself down, as the gradually evaporating “Monkey, Come Down” celebratory hoopla was replaced by news that government coffers were near-empty?

With vice-president-elect, Jewel Howard-Taylor along-side him, all eyes shifted to the newly-elected president-in-waiting, George Oppong Weah, when he and the nation’s first female vice-president ever, showed up last weekend for the scheduled, certification program.

Six eager recipients from the Legislative Branch, also elected to serve across from the executive branch’s, two head-honchos—had been summoned as well, by the National Election Commission, NEC. They, also, would be promoted.

The honorees were awarded certificates of merit for their successful capture of seats at the Executive Mansion and at the Legislature—the result of the nation’s 2017 presidential and legislative elections that began on October 10 last year, and a run-off between the two finalists, that was staged on December 26, 2017, the day after Christmas.

The credentials handed out, officially announced to the Liberian public and to the world, whom the individuals to be certificated had been and how—in exchange for regular monthly paychecks—they would be expected to “help move the country forward,” in the words of President-elect George Oppong Weah.”

But, president-elect Weah, many pundits believed, little guessed that the occasion would take the shape of an actual or real commencement exercise, with him serving as the valedictorian (dux, top student of the class) who had earned the right to speak on behalf of his fellow graduates.

Legislators money gbi-nez too serious

For reasons best known to himself, the president-elect went out of his way, again to remind all, that he and that everyone else elected to serve, would be expected to do his share of the work. That included Legislators he earlier had reminded,“…to put aside politics and work in the interest of the country.”

For some reason, he did not say anything about the tight money situation in the country; and though there may have been no need to, that didn’t mean that everything is alright.

For quite some time, the masses had been crying, complaining about their representatives’ unusually, strong and serious behavior when it came to money-business:

“The country aint gah natin, while Liberia’s Legislators still think that what was going on last year will continue forever. Our Legislators make more money than every other Legislator around the world, including the U.S., with more money than any other nation—except, maybe China.

Secondly, the Legislature always has been said to be ‘the first branch of government,’ and should have little or no problem living up to that billing (important name or position), instead of killing themselves over money.

As Senator Prince Y. Johnson was heard crying when he heard the public talking about the plenty money they were paying themselves: “Nobody better not tessay my munyehn.”he was heard saying publicly.

Next, the Legislature in which the Coalition for Democratic Change(CDC) has been reported as having more members than all of the other parties, and should be displaying less gluttony (excess, greed) than has been reported, especially given the party’s numerical strength and the benefits it commands.

The Final and worse part about it is that most of those that claim and profess the titles and leadership of the counties—mainly the legislators, seem unwilling to do a blinking thing about their county and their people.


No money in the bank?

What the incoming president seems to be suggesting, is that beginning from day one, “walking on money” and doing nothing to earn it, will not be accepted by this NEW government, this NEW nation, or by this “hopeful” generation of Liberians, given how much—better still, how little—has been found “in the bank.”

We are talking about funds that might have allowed the incoming government a head-start at something constructive, over the next few months!

The ordinary people seem to agree! Getting elected can no longer mean a free, ‘big-belly- foot’ for lazy people who refuse to do the work they were employed to do—and go around boasting about it. Therefore, before starting their new jobs, those elected must be TAUGHT and made to understand that each must bring development and progress to his or her county and its people—that is, if they want to get paid! Doing nothing for big pay ‘tahn fini.’ As the Kpelle people say: [ahr-kpeh’]!

What the above translates to is: that the minute this new corps of employees starts forgetting that they are working for money, the common people must demand their Constitutional rights from the Executive and the Judiciary and even from the Legislature itself, that seems not to really know what they are doing in that ‘huss,’ they keep singing about.

Neither of these groups is a privileged class—above the law; they are ordinary people like everybody else and should be monitoring and pressuring each other as the Constitution implies and anticipates. dictating that each does his or her work, and does it effectively.

In other words, “You make sure I do my work, and I make sure you do yours, in order for us to get paid; not just, you eat and I eat—or, you eat more than I, and then we start fighting.”

We are talking about the ‘checks and balances’ that the Constitution orders and anticipates (expects, awaits). That is what working for the people is about. So, those who say they big-shots, they big-shots for deh- sef (themselves). If they want for people to look at them like big-shots, then they need to leave the office, (ain’t b’long them) start their own business, make their own money, and get their (hand) out of the hard-working, common people’s government.

You don’t work, you will not eat. The “work” the people talking about, can be found in the counties—not sitting down in the Capital Building, talkin’ ‘bout: “We eehn neh “Huss.” Remember J. Mills Jones’ comment some time back: “dah na’ you pa ‘huss’! Ae b’lohn allor we!’’

Grand Kru County

So let’s listen to what a Tuesday, August 8, 2017, “FrontpageAfrica” article, that we had been looking at, over the season, had to say about our legislators. Rodney’s Sieh’s article described Grand Kru County as “…a land that time (and the Liberian nation and people) seemed to have forgotten.” But serious Politics means taking care of business—something that those looking for free cash just do not understand or want to do. They think and behave as though this Liberia b’long them and nobody else—again, because, they say, they in the “Huss,” (somebody elected them).

Elected them to do what? Drive around talking ‘bout: ‘dat mah burf wregh,’ as we heard from someone named Nuquay, say the other day. He needed to get out there and do his running, and stop trying to intimidate (scare) the people he said he would deal with after he got elected. That was not the way for beginners still learning how to run for office, to talk.

‘Dah mah tahn to eeht,’ for many, seems to be the only thing some of these runners seem to care about. But that time fini nahn. Those who think that they have bought a free ride on the money train need to get serious about their jobs.

Getting elected doesn’t mean a free, ‘big belly foot’ for workers who want to play lazy. But, not knowing any better is not their fault alone: they must be TAUGHT and made to understand that development and progress is a right that belongs to every county.

Members of the Legislature are elected to help ensure that these benefits are brought to each county and their people: the same people who chose them to represent and work for them—that is, if those who are supposed to get paid, are willing to do the work for the money that should be coming to them.

Doing the work means rolling up their sleeves and getting busy; if the work is too hard, let them go and sit down, instead of driving around in tinted-glass, air-conditioned cars, showing off! If not, they will have to be pushed out. That should give some of those “wi-ah in neh Huss” people, the right people to practice their “impeachment” work on.

The question these “honorables” have to deal with, is the same question that the Creator asked Adam after Adam was told what to do and what not to do, but disobeyed God: “Who told you that you were naked,” God asked him? “Or, that you had the ‘wregh’ (right) to do whatever you chose to do on your own, with responsibility to no one? Or that something was your birthright; or that ‘your time had come’—to do any disobedient thing you wanted to do?”

Clearly, these elected officials who do not know what their job description is, might find themselves in the same boat as Adam; and like him, they should soon find out—that the game the older ‘Huss’ members were playing, is over.

According to most of the people interviewed for that Frontpage article, their county lacks everything that makes a town habitable: roads, potable water, clinics, supply of goods, etc. (continue). Those people they had voted for—to serve the county and its people—did not give a damn about them after they were elected.

“Wiah people nah tuppae”

“Their representatives probably think that “working in Monrovia”—as they claim—means that they work for the Monrovia people,” one resident observed. “Da Monrovia people who elected them?” The gentleman wanted to know. Buah Gee, second only to Careysburg in terms of age, was described by another person living there, as “as a country all by itself, with nothing to show.”

“Our people are not stupid, as some people try to suggest; they just don’t know any better—just like the people we elect, who do not have a clue about what’s going on. They think it’s all about “being in the Huss,” instead of getting their butts out of the “Huss,” and finding some work outside to do: “WORK THAT WOULD BENEFIT ALLOR US,” someone from another county threw in.

Aren’t there countries out there, that have a mechanism, (method, system, device) that within a very short period, using the courts or the democratic process, could quickly penalize or remove from office, those elected officials that fail the electorate (voting public) by doing nothing for their county? Someone who said he was a teacher, wanted to know. What is Good Governance saying? Ehn dah governance gbenez (business) too? Anyway, let’s see what Oppong and Jewel will do. We hope for the best!



  1. It is good that Pres Elect Weah and VP Elect Jewel are coming from the Senate. As the saying goes, CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME. The Pres knows what each legislator receives in salary and benefits. More than a US Congressman! We learn that the Legislature budget is 10 times that of the Ministry of Agriculture. In order to be able to feed ourselves, the agriculture sector needs adequate support to train extension technicians, research scientists, and technical assistance.
    We pray that Pres Weah makes the agric sector a priority! God bless you Pres Weah and VP Taylor.

  2. It’s too early to heap praise on the new incoming government of Liberia. But in all fairness, credit must be given to where credit is due. Put bluntly, the Weah-Taylor team is shaping up to be a winning team.

    There are many ways in which money can be saved. One of the ways in which the Weah-Taylor team could save money at the end of the day for Liberia is this: Do as the Ministry of Education does…. The Ministry of Education early on had decided to empower public schools to purchase two sets of uniforms for students. High school students wear one set of uniforms and all elementary students wear one set of uniforms. So, in the case of the the Liberian National Assembly, all of its members must be given one set of cars. The common practice at the present time is clumsy. Some legislators have Toyotas, others drive Hondas, Fords, Cherokee jeeps, etc.
    It would be cheaper to the taxpayers of Liberia for one set of cars to be purchased for members of the Lower House and another set for the members of the Upper House.

    Buying auto parts………
    Cars must be maintained. I drive a Toyota, but maintenance is required. To get auto parts for my Toyota, I do not go to three different countries. Similarly, if one set of cars are provided for the members of the Liberian Assembly, it’ll be sensible and cheaper to order auto parts from Japan, provided that Japanese automobiles are being used by them. But if the members are given a variety of automobiles, the government is forced to buy auto parts from five different countries in order for cars to be serviced.

    What sense does it make?

  3. Great post F. Hney. I also think in such a case, it would be viable for the GoL to utilize and revitalize the General Services Agency (GSA). I remember GSA had a motor pool, that provided and serviced all vehicles of the GoL. If this is done, there would not be so much waste. GSA should order government vehicles and vehicle parts, so that the motor pool is able to service only government vehicles. If government officials buys their own vehicles, then its their responsibilities.

  4. With transformational change the theme of the Coalition’s campaign message, President – elect GMW is signalling that it won’t be business as usual. What a way, at the beginning of a brand new year, to wow the vast majority Country and Congua downtrodden, if you ask me.

  5. Liberia, a country rated as the 4th poorest Nation in the World, can not afford such luxurious compensation packages for Government Officials; most especially the Liberian Legislators. Government should not be a place to accumulate wealth. It’s a place for “TRUTH PATRIOTS” to show their “TRUTH PATRIOTISM”. Compensations should be adequate; not excessive.

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