Nimba County District #8 Representative Larry P. Younquoi has said that the tyranny of the majority of lawmakers is killing the first branch of government.
Younquoi’s statement came amid controversy over majority members’ vote at the House of Representatives calling on Montserrado District #10 lawmaker Yekeh Yarkpawolo Kolubah to submit himself to police investigation following recent violence that erupted when a year-end children’s party he hosted went chaotic.
Speaking on Wednesday when he appeared on the Truth Breakfast Show (TBS) in Paynesville, Rep. Younquoi said: “We are relegating this legislature to nothing, because I have never seen a branch of government so willing to turn its members to any investigation board, particularly to another branch as we are doing now with the case of Rep. Kolubah.”
He expressed opposition to Rep. Kolubah’s views on several other issues of national concern, saying, “whatever is the case, Kolubah deserves his legislative respect and attention.”
“As one of the elderly persons in the House, and more so with at least eight years of legislative experience now, I have always told Kolubah he has not gone to the House of Representatives to be embittered all throughout. I have also informed him most often that it is sometimes good to pretend to people with your laughter, and once in a while, get angry when need be. In that case, people will see the reason to listen to you, but every time you come you are angry, and bitterness is not a good thing to do in expressing your disagreement with the majority,” Rep. Younquoi said.
He said if President George Weah or anyone else in the Executive branch or anywhere else has any problem with Kolubah, they should follow the legal channel works, but not to disrupt his party for kids that had been supported by his international friends.
“For us to know the truth about who is responsible for the riots that left some people, including children, wounded at the children’s party, we should have conducted our own investigation instead of throwing him out to others as if he is less important to us,” he said.
Younquoi said the precedence set will haunt members of the House of Representatives as in the case of removing Representatives Edwin Melvin Snowe, former lawmaker of Montserrado District #6, and now lawmaker for Bomi District #1, and Alex J. Tyler as Speakers.
Younquoi, who is the head of a new block known as the “Independent Legislative Caucus,” said the suppression of critical views at the House of Representatives by those “tyrannical majority” is worrisome.
He said while he is not in cahoots with anyone to remove Speaker Bhofal Chambers, it saddens him that Chambers, who once portrayed himself as one of the brightest brains in the Lower House over the years, has now become more of a partisan Speaker than a Speaker for all.
“My group of independent Legislators wants to bring sanctity, not just sanity, to the Legislature, but the independence that was enshrined in the Constitution for all the branches of government must be upheld. We are almost a sub-branch of the Executive. Suppression of critical voices is leading us to narrow our space, and expand just what the Executive wants. I am saying this to mean that Representative Acarous Gray alone will say two or more statements on the floor, and no other person will be given the chance to speak,” he said.
He said during Plenary discussion on the EBOMAF and ETON proposed loan agreements, Gray made all the motions and not much time or attention was given to those from opposition political parties simply, because Chambers, who presides, is a Speaker of the ruling party.
“Let them give us the chance to speak, but should not continue to suppress the alternative voices,” Younquoi admonished.
He said it will be good for a head count vote to make sense in parliamentary proceedings, instead of a certain group of people overshadowing everything.
“If you get the number, you will win but not to stop others from making their case. You cannot claim to be a transparent leader while behaving in a wrong manner and step,” the Nimba County Lawmaker said.
House in error for reviewing concessions
Rep. Younquoi said the majority block’s decision, which has led to the formation of a committee to revisit and review all concession agreements in the country, is in error and should not have been given credence by the public.
“We should have just written a very powerful letter to the President, calling on the Executive branch to review the concession agreements in order to ascertain as to whether the concession companies are living up to the task as agreed upon during the Legislature’s endorsement of their operations in the country,” he said.
According to him, it is belittling that the House, which the Executive should report to after all the findings, will now be the one reporting to the Executive.
“Imagine lawmakers going to ministers and directors for information in order to get their job done. It sounds funny and highly reduces us to nothing,” he said.
Concerning the conduct of the national population census, Rep. Younquoi said the government must do all it can to conduct the census in 2019, or it will be extremely irrelevant to conduct it next time apart from 2028.
“We should have had this census conducted in March of 2018. It should have been carried out before the representative and presidential elections.
“Now it is out of constitutional provision for us to conduct the census, but based on legislative amendments and motions, we have agreed that the census must be held in 2019. And interestingly, we agreed that US$3 million as part of the initial budget of US$19 million as requested for by the Liberia Institute for Statics and Geo-information Services (LIGIS), be placed in the national budget to get it done in time,” Rep. Younquoi said.