Lawmaker Describes Legislative Corruption As ‘Disturbing’

Nimba County Distric#9 Representative Johnson N. Gwaikolo has described information surrounding corruption at the Legislature as ‘disturbing.’

Since the inception of the Maryland County Representative Bhofal Chambers as Speaker of the 54th House of Representatives, there has been series of corruption reports though he promised to rebrand the Legislature.

In an exclusive interview with The Monrovia Times, Representative Gwaikolo said the continuous news about corruption at the Legislature is disturbing; adding that they are charged collectively and institutionally as people who are corrupt.

Speaking last week Thursday, the Nimba Lawmakers condemn in the strongest term the act of corruption, the use profane languages or insults and other non-legislative issues.

He expressed that most at times they are collectively charged because those who voted them don’t understand the full legislative workings as such they are all seen as corrupt and unpatriotic.

“I take it simply because the full legislative workings are not clearly understood by the general public or electorates because of that the people see every one of us as corrupt, rude or immoral,” Representative Gwaikolo said.

Representative Gwaikolo noted that despite disagreements among legislators, the public should understand that the Legislature is a political house and as such people must not pay attention to what seems to be a misunderstanding among them because they will not do anything to the detriment of the country.

“I can say without any fear or contradiction that every lawmaker wants this country to move forward, adding that “we may be passing different route but we have the same objective that is to make Liberia a better place for every Liberian,” he noted.

According to Representative Gwaikolo, despite all of the disagreements among them and the misconduct of some of his colleagues, there are actions that questionable or punishable at the Legislature that when they go into ‘Executive Session’ or secret session they raised those issues for redress.

The Nimba District#9 Lawmaker clarified that it is not that some of them are not speaking on behalf of their constituents like the way others are doing it but they are doing their advocacy more professionally and responsibly even though they sometimes get criticized for not speaking widely or insulting like others.

He said, “It will be unfair to cast as precious on an institution like Legislature and this is based on just the lack of understanding of the legislature.” Speaking of Constitutional deficiency, Representative Gwaikolo said the Constitution of Liberia has some deficiency that provides the Executive the strength to override the functions of the first branch of government (Legislature).

The Lawmaker said it not that the Legislature doesn’t have power but it is because of those deficiencies within the Constitution that allow the Executive to become powerful as such the Legislature is seen as a ‘rubber stamp.’ For instance, he said cabinet ministers and directors are appointed by the President but their performances are subject to legislative oversight meaning if a cabinet minister is not performing in the view of the legislature and they can’t fire or sack that minister but recommend to the President for dismissal and most at times those recommendations are not taken into consideration by the Executive.

Representative Gwaikolo who served in several interim governments and representing Nimba County indicated that their role as lawmakers is to advocate, providing social, infrastructural and other services to the people or electorates.

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