The House of Representatives has made additional appointments of heads of various standing committees amid criticism by Maryland County Representative Dr. Bhofal Chamber the appointments violate Rule 54.2 of the House.
But Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue argues the ongoing reshuffling of committee heads is in accordance with Rule 54.2 of the august body. Representative Chambers disagrees, countering that the rule was wrongly interpreted and executed on Thursday, 15 September 2016.
He said Rule 54.2 states, “Should the Chairperson of any committee for any cause to serve, it shall be the duty of the Speaker to appoint a new Chairperson in consultation with the Leadership of the House.”
Those appointed are Rep. Munah P. Youngblood of Montserrado District#9, co-chair on Executive; Rep. Jeremiah McCaulley of Sinoe CountyDistric#2, Co-chair on Judiciary; Rep. Corpu Barclay of Bong County District#7, Chairperson on Gender, Child Development and Social Service; and Rep.Richard Tingban of Nimba County District #9, Chairman on Lands andMines, respectively.
Others are Rep. Adolph Lawrence of Montserrado County district#15, chairman onHydro Carbon; Rep. Johnson Chea of River Gee County, Chairperson on Healthand Social Welfare; Rep. Eugene Fallah Kparkar of Lofa County District #1, Chairperson on Investment and Concession.
The appointments also include Rep. Gabriel Nyekan of Montserrado County, Chairperson onYouth and Sports, co-chaired by Rep. Solomon George also of Montserrado County; Rep. Stephen Kafi, Chairperson on Transport, co-chaired by Rep. Mary Karwor of Grand Bassa County; Montserrado County Representatives Acarous Moses Gray, Chairperson on Maritime; JuliusBerrian, Chairperson on Banking and Currency; Rep. Byron Zeanway, Chairperson onAgriculture;Rep. Richmond Anderson, Chairperson on Information and Broadcasting; and Representative Christian Chea, Chairperson on Labor, co-chaired by Rep. Robertson Siaway.
Rep. Julie Wiah, Co-chair on State Enterprises; Rep. GabrielSmith, Chairperson on Elections and Inaugurations, Co-chaired by Rep. Tokpah Mulbah; Bong County Rep. George Mulbah, Chairperson onDefense and Rep. Henry Fahbulleh, Chairperson on Contracts and Monopoly, respectively.
The House is expected to make more appointments this Thursday, September 22nd. Meanwhile, Representative Chambers has protested that two communications sent to the House’s chief clerk were ignored in Thursday’s session.
According to him, on 16 September he wrote twocommunications to the chief clerk of to be placed on the agenda for Thursday this week, but to his outmost surprise, they were not included. Rep. Chambers detailed the two communications called on his colleagues to return tostatus quo with all committees remaining unchanged because there is nolegislative provision in their rules that authorized the Deputy Speaker orplenary to change heads of various committees at will, arguing if the action was based on rule 54.2 then unequivocally, the decision taken on September16, 2016 by the Deputy Speaker was not supported by Rule 54.2.
He also noted that the second communication to the chief clerk is for the House to invite the Minister of Justice Fredrick Cherue, and the Directorof the Liberia National Police to provide explanations on the arrest and detentionof Journalist Festus Poquie of the New Democrat newspaper for lifting a story originally reported by the Daily Mail of the United Kingdom onthe President of Equatorial Guinea, Mr. Teodoro Obiang.
The lawmaker said when he asked the Deputy Speaker and Presiding Officer why hiscommunications were not included on the agenda, he was told that agenda items are included on the basis of first come,first serve.
By Bridgett Milton-Editing by Jonathan Browne