Monday, November 28, 2011 marked an important day in the political life of those elected by their respective constituents to serve them for the next legislative terms. The National Elections Commission certificated them alongside the President-elect and Vice President-elect of the Republic of Liberia as an attestation of confidence reposed in them by the people of Liberia to serve them.
Monday’s ceremony followed the October 11, 2011 Legislative elections which may have allowed Liberians to effect a number of changes in the House of Representatives and that of the Liberian Senate, but the issue abide now is the leadership of the incoming 53nd Legislature. The decisions again, are incumbent upon the people, but this time, through those they elected as representatives and senators.
While some names have begun emerging as candidates for the position of President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, there are already some names up front in the House of Representatives for the positions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
With no malice and disrespect to most of the names being heard of, it also important for members of the Honorable House of Representatives and Liberian Senate to divorce themselves from financial inducements in the process of electing leaders of the incoming 53rd Legislature of the Liberian Government.
It is a known fact that there may be ongoing attempts, as it was at the beginning of the 52nd Legislature, to bribe most of the incoming legislators for votes. But knowing some to be what they are, it is hoped that electing their leaders will be on the basis of the individuals’ ability to deliver or ably represent Liberia in general.
The incoming Legislators must also be reminded that the leadership of the Legislature must be a reflection of the geography of the Republic of Liberia. Unlike the outgoing 52nd Legislature, the 53rd Legislature must ensure regional balance in the process of determining who should be Speaker, Deputy Speaker and President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate.
Our new lawmakers must not even permit or encourage the return to the leadership of individual(s) expelled or impeached before. If they did, it would completely undermine their respect and integrity.
Members of the 53rd Legislature must not also allow themselves to be exposed to public ridicule by electing a President Pro-Tempore who shares the same county with the President or Vice President of Liberia or a Speaker and Deputy Speaker also share the same county or region with the President or Vice President.
For example, since President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf hails from the Bomi County in the Western Region of Liberia, it would be geographically imbalanced were either of the three to come from the same county.
As a way of making the people of Liberia to have sense of belonging as far as the leadership of the nation is concerned, the most appropriate and expedient decision for members of the incoming 53nd Legislature is to ensure that individuals who share the same regions with the President and Vice President are not elected.
In so doing, they must be very cognizant of the various manipulations, including bribery and other promises which may take center stage in the process of electing these officials.
Should these Honorable men and women down-play these reasonable facts, posterity will surely judge them, and the people of Liberia shall not forgive them until the 2013 and 2017 Senatorial mid-term and next legislative elections at which time judgment shall be passed against them.
We at the New Dawn-Liberia congratulate members of the incoming 53rd Legislature with the strongest conviction that the Liberian people’s business will be their foremost priority not only in words, but also in deeds.