Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Unsacred Shrine
Ibrahim Al-bakri Nyei

In the lives of traditional Africans, their posterity has been determined by the oracles who sit at the shrines to represent and interpret the wills of the gods to the people. The oracle priest also represents the will of the people and explains their agonies and demand to the god for solutions and recommendations. When the oracle priest lost his sanctity or moral consciousness, it is most likely that the gods will not favorably respond to the people. And at times when bigotry interferes in the discharge of his sacred duty, the people also lost reverence for his holiness. Consequently, misfortunes and all forms of sadistic deeds of man engulf the lives of the people, and their community suffers collapse with the erosion of rules and orders, and the rise of anarchy.

This analogy suits the lower house of the current Legislature in Liberia . From the elections of 2005, it had been the hopes of many Liberians that this legislature will restore the independence of legislative actions in Liberia if it had ever existed, or this legislature will set the basis and by practice interpret the true meaning of the ‘separate but coordinating’ branches of government as provided by the constitution. Unfortunately, the lower house of the 52nd National Legislature appears to be in my mind a shrine that had lost its sacred obligation to the people who see it as their way to posterity. From January 2006 to my pen time, there have been a cloud of controversy and disdainful happenings from that perceive honorable branch of government. The Representatives firstly exposed themselves to the Liberian people when they elected Edwin Snowe as Speaker disregarding his academic and political limitations and the U.N. Security Council travel ban on him. While people were preaching logic to them they were looking in Snowe’s wallet for response. The strength of his pocket overshadowed all realities and he succeeded. As I turn the pages of local dailies and raise radio volumes the more I am bedazzled about the news that emanate from the lower house. Very recently some lawmakers argued that the Acting Speaker lacks the education to assume the post as Speaker proper, some argued in his favor while some argued that the constitution is not clear on any pattern of succession therefore, they are calling for elections. Amidst all of these controversies, if the Acting Speakers pocket is responsive as Snowe’s was in the early days of their sitting, he would have mounted the post with ease, and the question of education reduced to the trash can as it happened before.

The house is so unconscious and sycophantic that they had currently endorsed the felonious crime of bribery and had made it synonymous to lobby, that any act of such, in their own terms, is considered lobby. The attempted removal of the former Speaker under the seeming alcoholic influence of money has been dubbed as lobby. When Speaker Snowe cross-jumped functions to negotiate diplomatic ties with Taiwan , realists thought that he would have been impeached, but his mastery of his colleagues backed by his responsive pocket kept the situation in his favor, and he offered an apology. His removal came finally when there was a source that financially manipulated the majority and was more profligate in that cause than he could individually do to survive. The Euphoria upset the whole country, as they were nicknamed ‘Pavilion Based’ and ‘Virginia Based’ for more than two months with no achievements or even an attempt. It seemed that the source was so lucrative and resolute to spend even life if the cause be than Snowe himself could to protect his royalty, because those who once fed on him were so robust and chauvinistic that they could not compromise anything Speaker Snowe but Rep. Snowe. Then came his resignation with the emergence of an easy-going Bong County Representative who, by popular affiliation, became Snowe’s deputy.

While the Constitution of Liberia did not use elementary terms to explain an ascendancy pattern in the leadership of the house, but the idea that resignation or other circumstances may make the office of Speaker vacant, was what brought a deputy speaker in the leadership of the lower house. Even in local arrangements there are deputies or vice heads that are visibly ceremonious, but are always potential heads in waiting. For the removal of Snowe, the work of the Liberian people was left untouched for nearly two month something that reflected the minds of the people to the grievous past. Today, we still sit and see a legislature that has become so porous to all forms of corruptions, bigotry and indecencies, that what they can individually collect has supersede their consciousness and functions as honorable men an women. They are sometimes accused of chasing investors who to exploit them or delaying a particular bill for handouts.

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