The chairman emeritus of the former governing National Patriotic Party (NPP), Chief Cyril Allen, has descended on President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf over what he calls the Liberian leader’s ‘categorical’ statement against members of the Legislature.
Chief Allen says he does not like the manner in which President Johnson-Sirleaf conducts certain portions of the Government of Liberia (GoL), citing the president’s dealings with the Legislature as an example.
Listen to Chief Allen: “You [President Johnson-Sirleaf] go abroad and make a categorical statement; denounced the Legislature, humiliate them and come back and tell us it’s a family matter. That’s not your family, this is not a family.”
He pointed out that: “You [President Johnson-Sirleaf] cannot humiliate duly elected legislators in public and come back in the corner and say I am sorry,” adding, “this is political gangsterism, we all know it.”
It can be recalled that on Friday, September 28,2012, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf asserted that members of the Legislative Branch of the GoL are “aggressive in terms of their own interest,” a statement members of the House of Representatives detested, calling on the Liberian President to retract same.
The Liberian leader’s assertions were in response to a question posed to her by a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), on Friday, September 28, 2012, during a CFR’s meeting in New York, the USA.
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Following President Johnson-Sirleaf’s address to members of the CFR on the achievements and challenges of her leadership, in the CFR’s 28 September 2012 meeting, Professor Bernadette Atuahene of the Fordham Law School, a member of the CFR asked the Liberian leader: “I wanted to talk briefly about this issue of corruption.
"One way to fight corruption is to give people increased salaries. But what we see now is in the 2012-2013 budget law -- each lawmaker is entitled up to US$30,000 in benefits. So at what point do we go too far and at what point is this idea of good governance or legitimacy corroded by these kinds of salaries we're giving the legislators, especially since other -- you know, in order to balance the budget, we're expecting all sectors of societies to take cuts, but legislators, lawmakers are still receiving these very hefty salaries?
"I just want to get your thoughts and opinions on how that fits into your vision of good governance and perhaps your critique or -- of that particular practice?”
In President Johnson-Sirleaf’s response, which generated laughter among those attending the CFR meeting, she stated: “We didn't give it to them; they took it.”
“We're still fighting that battle.” She added: “We have a Legislature that's aggressive in terms of their own interest. And there's a public protest against their salary levels because -- particularly in the light of our inability to increase civil servants' pay.”
But Chief Allen averred that the Legislative and Executive Branches are separate under the governance process of the nation, indicating that it is not a family matter to humiliate the National Legislature in front of a foreign audience and come back home and apologize.