Former Foreign and Finance Minister Augustine Ngafuan has called on members of the House of Representatives to put their bitter past behind them and move on in the national interest.
He urged the newly-elected Speaker of the House of Representatives, J. Emmanuel Nuquay, to be magnanimous in victory by making honest and credible overtures to members of the House who opposed the recent leadership change at that body. "As much as possible, include them and don't marginalize them in the running of the House," the Former Foreign Minister stressed. Ngafuan made the statement recently in Ganta, Nimba County when he served as one of the facilitators at a three-day Reconciliation and Image Building Retreat of the House of Representatives. Speaking on the topic, "Institutional Image Building," Ngafuan proffered a number of suggestions that he believes could help improve the image of the Legislature in the eyes of the public. He stressed that whenever lawmakers effectively fulfill their core functions and expectations as enshrined in the Constitution and are perceived by the general public to be doing so, they build a positive image of the Legislature. To be effective in fulfilling their core functions, especially lawmaking and oversight, Minister Ngafuan proposed the strengthening of the research capabilities of the Legislature and that of the offices of individual lawmakers. He also urged the lawmakers to give more support to the Legislative Budget Office (LBO) so that it can be more effective and proactive in assisting the first branch of government make more informed decisions on fiscal instruments like the budget and its outturns. To improve the public image of the Legislature, Minister Ngafuan urged the lawmakers to also direct more financial and logistical resources to their respective press bureaux. He asked the lawmakers not to pass any serious bill without subjecting it to public hearing where experts and lay persons can proffer their views on the positive and negative implications of the bill. "You are called ‘Honorable,’ so be a man or woman of honor. One of the most convenient things to do is to sit down on Liberia, an honorable man or woman stands up for Liberia. A man or woman of honor does not try to adjust his/her conscience to justify or fit his/her wrong behaviour,” Ngafuan said. He added: “Do not only do good because others are doing good; do good because it is right to do good. And if a good number of you do well, the image of the honorable House of Representatives will truly be honorable."