Abraham Darius Dillon’s quest to be elected in the Liberian House of the Senate, like any other political hopeful, was hinged on a plethora of campaign promises. But for him two, among his many pledges, sank well in the minds of voters: make public his assets through declaration and in print and take only five thousand United States dollars as pay monthly.
He had belabored the issues of exposing monthly earnings of law makers to the public, taking only the amount of five thousand United States dollars off whatever amount there is as monthly salary and committing the balance to public account for county development to the extent that all eyes were turned to his direction for fulfillment. Of course, these two pledges had not only been the heavy political load weighing Dillon’s back since his election to the Senate, they were capable of breaking his back come 2020 senatorial midterm elections. Hence, the urgent need to consider these promises for fear of political fluidity.
Therefore, it was not surprising when Hon. Dillon went ahead to declare and publish his assets in less than a fortnight after winning the Montserrado Senatorial by-election. News of the supposed fulfillment of his second political promise – salary issues – gained as much currency recently in Monrovia, generating public views about the difference he seems to bring to bear on that august body.
While some serial callers to radio morning talk-shows lauded Hon. Dillon for keeping to his word in fulfilling his campaign promises to the Liberian people, others were of the view that Dillon is playing political games with the Liberian people. The two opposing group of callers are not at each other’s throat for any selfish interest, though. I think their debate is healthy for future political directions to the rest of the political actors in the country. But care must be taken if one is to weigh in on these views. Firstly, it takes a serious-minded person to keep to his promise. Doing this shows that the person is not double-minded as we are told in the Holy Book, because such traits further indicates how stable that person is in all his ways. But, mind you, a phrase is added to this: “in all his ways,” not in some.
When I got wind of Hon. Dillon’s disclosure of salary structure at the house of senate, I said, ‘wow! This man is indeed stepping up his game to show to the Liberian people that there are some very clean people in our midst.’ Then I refused to attend to a visitor knocking at my door when the honorable began exposing the long-kept secret of the actual salaries Liberian lawmakers make per month. “The total monthly take-home-pay of each of my colleagues here is USD$15,325.00 (Fifteen thousand three hundred twenty-five United States Dollars).”
I suddenly heard a hiss of teeth. The hiss was so sharp that I had thought my radio set performed a miracle by raising its own volume. But that was not so. My good friend at the door was also listening and, at the mention of the figure, he frowned and hissed his teeth outside. When I finally attended to the visitor, I realized he’s an editor of a newspaper. “You kept me outside all this while to listen to this political gibberish? Comrade, the salary issue of each lawmaker had long been structured even when this man was the chief of office staff (COS) in Senator Jewel-Howard Taylor’s office. And what’s about the vehicle – is he rejecting it, or selling it to buy a cheaper one?”
The last question my visitor asked was critical. When it came to the issue of the vehicle, which Hon. Dillon said qualified the test and procedures of the Public Procurement practice, he referred to both his admirers and critics who were advising him not to take it as bad people. “You are offering me a bad advice. Accepting the car given to the office of my predecessor, late senator Sheriff Doe, by government and now passed onto me, has nothing to do with my good intentions.” But the vehicle in question cost USD$40,000.00 (Forty thousand United States Dollars)
Hon. Dillon’s argument for accepting the vehicle is that it would be used for three years. So, the cost of the vehicle divided by three is that value of car he would prefer in a country like ours whose economy is so much challenged. My visitor and I quickly set out to do the calculations, and we realized that indeed each year of the vehicle’s use would be some USD$13,000.00. But when I invoke some rudimentary lessons I had had over the years in Philosophy which primarily focus on reasoning, then I realized that Hon. Dillon has got to do more in convincing ordinary Liberians on the issue of not replicating the wasteful and flamboyant lifestyle of his fellow lawmakers in the house of legislature. The point is, you see a lot of unnecessary spending by the state at the level of the legislature which has a trickle-down effect on a poor Liberian farmer in the village who can hardly fend for himself let alone his family, and you intend to go all out to make the difference. But then you turn around to tell us that because PPCC best practice was followed in procuring a vehicle costing USD$40,000.00 for you, then any advice to discourage you in accepting that offer is wicked.
The honorable should know that that house is the place of offer, and the offer he just received wholeheartedly is a tip of an iceberg. For ADD, as he is referred to during votes counting in the Montserrado by-election, to refer to people this early that they are giving him bad advice should signal something to conscious mind.
One staunch admirer of Hon. Dillon said, just as the initials in his name suggests, the honorable will add something significantly to the house of the Legislature for the betterment of ordinary Liberian people. Ok, we will wait and see but for now, gullibility is the issue in the public. Please use both of your ears to follow Dillon’s public statements from now onwards, after all he is not all together a stranger in that house of the elders.
I rest my case.
By R. Webster Nyian