Twenty of the 30 senators at the Capitol resumed official work Monday, January 11, after their annual break. Statutorily, there are 30 senators representing all 15 political sub-divisions of the country, meaning two senators from each county. But the conduct of the recent Special Senatorial election which should have produced 15 new senators failed due to electoral dispute cases currently before the National Elections Commission.
According to the Constitution of Liberia, a two-thirds majority, which constitutes 20 senators of the membership, may conduct business on behalf of the entire Senate or else, the sitting would be illegal and unconstitutional.
This means any attempt for one senator to stay away from the official resumption, the entire senate would have remained closed constitutionally.
Of the 15 elections that were conducted throughout the country last December, the National Elections Commission only certificated five senators-elect, leaving the ten in the hands of hearing officer at the NEC and the Supreme Court.
Last week, during the certification program of winners from the Special Senatorial elections, the NEC was expected to have certificated 15 winners from the senatorial race, but Chairperson Browne Lansanah said, of the 15 winners, ten winners according to records from the NEC, face challenges before the hearing officer of the commission and the Supreme Court for allegations leveled against them by their respective major contenders.
She narrated that the commission being law-abiding and a subscriber to the rule of law has placed preliminary hold on the certification program until the matters are concluded legally.
Those certificated by the commission include; Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darious Dillon; Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence; former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representative, now Bong County Senator Prince Moye; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Margibi County Senator James Emmanuel Nuquay, and former soccer star, River Gee County Senator Jonathan (Boy Charles) Sengbew.
This is first in recent Liberian electoral history that the NEC conducted elections with such low result, while 90 percent of the contenders are now using the legal system to seek elective post.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Editing by Jonathan Browne