About a week after lawmakers impeached former Associate Justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh from the Supreme Court Bench, the Capitol continues to remain noisy with claims and counterclaims being levied by Senators over which side each of them voted.
These counterclaims are growing on Capitol Hill as opposition political parties announce the suspensions of dozens of senators that neglected parties’ mandates to vote against the removal of Justice Ja’neh from the Supreme Court.
The latest in this post – impeachment vote quarrel becomes opposition Liberty Party (LP) Chair and Lofa County Sen. Stephen Zargo, who throws a challenge for authorities at the Liberian Senate to display ballots to validate his claim that he did not go against LP’s mandate to acquit Ja’neh.
Zargo recently told reporters on Capitol Hill that there is no way he could have gone against his party’s mandate by voting for the removal of the impeached Associate Justice, demanding a display of the ballots so that the public can know which side each of the senators voted.
22 out of 29 Senators voted on Friday, 29 March to impeach Justice Ja’neh for granting a writ of prohibition filed by two oil and gas companies that prevented government from collecting taxes imposed on pump prices because the taxes had not been legislated.
Ja’neh’s decision taken in chambers was further validated by the full bench of the Supreme Court, including Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Sr. who presided over the impeachment.
At least 10 of the 29 Senators on Capitol Hill were needed on Ja’neh’s side to block his removal from the Supreme Court Bench, but some of the nine Senators that initially supported him crossed carpet overnight and voted against him.
Sen. Zargo argues that the voting is not a secret so the ballots shouldn’t be in hidden, adding that every ballot had a code, Senators’ names and signature that they could identify.
Once the ballots are displayed, Zargo believes strongly that Liberians will know how the voting went.
Zargo insists that from the beginning of the impeachment hearing to the end, he was on the side of the impeached Associate Justice, saying “My position is consistent with my party’s position.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Zargo says there was no methodology on how the voting should be done, claiming that it resulted to some senators not voting.
Zargo was one of the nine Senators that signed a resolution to acquit former Associate Justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh.
According to him, the Liberty Party has officially issued Grand Bassa County Sen. Jonathan Kaipay a suspension letter while they investigate which side the suspended senator voted.
The LP chairman says it was the party’s mandate for its senators to vote against the impeachment because it was unconstitutional and illegal.
The party however claims that Sen. Kaipay was believed to have voted the other way, which they are investigating.
Additionally, Sen. Zargo says he is not aware of any money being used to remove Ja’neh as it is claimed by some people.
By Ethel A. Tweh –Edited by Winston W. Parley