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At Senate Hearing:Presiding suppresses senators

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The security of the Liberian people is being seriously politicized and compromised as attempts Thursday, 22 August by some members of the Liberian Senate to query heads of state security institutions, including the Police were thwarted by senators from President George Weah’s ruling Coalition for Democratic Change.

The Chambers of the Liberian Senate nearly erupted into violence when ruling CDC Senator Henry Yallah (Bong County) made a motion to send a presentation made by the Joint Security that was meant for questioning to the Committee on Judiciary, instead.

Senator Nyonblee Kangar-Lawrence of Grand Bassa County, one of the crafters of a recent communication to Plenary that cited the Joint Security was in tears after the motion that denied any questioning was made on the floor, constraining her to empty a cup of tea in her hand on presiding officer and CDC Senator, Saah Joseph (Montserrado County).

Senator Joseph, who is also Chairperson on Executive, presided over Thursday’s hearing on behalf of Senate President Pro-tempore Albert Chie, also of the ruling establishment, who is reportedly out of the country.

Saah Joseph received the public humiliation as he walked down the stairs of the Senate Chambers yesterday without allowing the various heads of the Joint Security to directly face senators on the waves of violence and insecurity across Liberia, particularly the capital, Monrovia.

Plenary had cited the Joint Security to provide updates about ongoing investigations on violence in Montserrado County Districts#13 & 15, the flogging of Police Deputy Inspector General for Operations (102) Col. Marvin Sackor inside the headquarters of the ruling CDC by partisans, and the smashing of a vehicle that belongs to the former ruling Unity Party right in front of the National Elections Commission recently in Monrovia, among other acts of vandalism.

The Grand Bassa County Senator was also denied an opportunity to produce video evidence on last Saturday’s bloody violence in District #15, on grounds that the video evidence wasn’t mentioned in her communication to Plenary.

“I wasted a cold cup of tea on him because I’m a woman, and the mother side of me came out. A cold cup of tea cannot make him feel anything like what those innocent citizens are feeling right now. We were to make decisions today to redeem the hope of the Liberian people and take them out of fear. Some of our leaders connived to disrupt today’s hearing. Everywhere is compromised”, laments Sen. Kangar-Lawrence, now the only female among the 30-member senate.

Nyonblee further laments that the entire Senate is compromised and they have lost their integrity, explaining that when the Police Inspector General Col. Patrick Sudue made his presentation before Plenary, she wanted him to be held in contempt and jail because the presentation was embarrassing.

She notes that the legislators have lost the trust of the people, and the country needs over $100 million to recover, but yet people are still stealing public funds.

Another crafter of the communication to Plenary to cite the Joint Security, Senator Conmany B. Wesseh of River Gee County stood in shock, holding his waist and shook his head in sorrow when the motion shielding the security heads from senators’ questions was made.

He said they went to discuss the security of the Liberian people, noting, shamefully the chairman on Executive brought shame on himself.

“The man has demonstrated that he has no confidence in the senate, it’s a shame on him; they think about their pockets and themselves and not the Liberian people; there are few people giving the senate a bad name, but we will fight until the right thing is done”, Senator Wesseh insists.

Senator Sando Johnson of Bomi County notes the presiding officer’s action to abruptly call off the hearing was cleverly done to bring the senate to public disrepute.

However, he maintains that will not stop their advocacy for the Liberian people, lamenting that the violence got some people in hospital and seriously injured, noting that Senator Joseph doesn’t have human feelings for those people.

“He did that to save the face of the CDC; the Police Director is also a CDCian, that’s why I don’t have trust in the current police leadership anymore; we now have to protect ourselves.” Sen. Johnson asserts in frustrations.

For his part, Margibi County Senator Oscar Cooper terms Senator Saah Joseph presiding over Plenary as criminal and likewise the motion from Senator Henry Yallah, which denied them the opportunity to question heads of the Joint Security.

“I don’t intend to sit under the gavel of Senator Saah Joseph anymore, the day anyone sees me sitting under Saah Joseph presiding, your should insult me, he is a criminal, he is playing with the peace and stability of the country, we will fight against it. The leadership of the Liberian police is the one bringing all the problems”, concludes Sen. Wesseh hails from the former ruling Unity Party.

Gbarpolu County Senator Daniel Naathan, Sr notes that these are the violence and injustices that started gradually and eventually led to the 14 years of civil war in the country.

Newest member of the Liberian Senate Abe Darius Dillon of Montserrado County also laments he is very frustrated by Senator Joseph’s action, calling off the session, terming it as a conspiracy from the ruling establishment. Sen. Dillon calls on the Liberian people to vote for the right leaders in the 2020 Senatorial Election, who will help push their voices.

“When I say this place is rotten, people can say otherwise, but we will not stop the fight until the right thing is done. I am not worrying about my election next year; I am worrying over the Liberian people, the peace and security of the Liberia people. The Police lied without conscience, that they offered us security during our campaign and we refused”, Dillon recalls.

He says there are many things that need to be cleansed in order for the Liberian people to benefit, adding that the police spoke nothing about arrest or what they are doing for the safely of the Liberian people, because the police have become regime security, not state security.

During the Presentation of the Joint Security, Deputy Minister of Justice Nyantee Tuan argues that the police are there to protect everyone, saying the NEC should had incorporated security at every stage of the by-elections and the results, noting that during the results, NEC gave the police a very short notice but they were still there.

The Inspector General of the Liberia National Police Col. Patrick Sudue explains the District#13 violence is still under investigation, adding that the parties involved were issued letters to appear for a conference.

The Inspector General discloses that on the flogging of his deputy, (Police 102), he (Col. Sudue) wrote CDC lawmaker Acarous Gray and the ruling party Chairman Mulbah Morlu to come for the investigation, saying that Representative Gray said he might appear for the investigation.

The Police Chief maintains he offered the various candidates Police protection whilst they were on their campaign rallies, but claims the candidates refused.He explains that during the District#15 violence, no gun was fired, while calling on the Liberian Senate to approve the Police budget so they can operate effectively and efficiently. By: Ethel A. Tweh–Editing by Jonathan Browne

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