By Bridgett Milton & Ethel A. Tweh
Lawmakers currently on annual constituency break are expected to cut their break short to return to the Capitol this Monday, 15 August in response to call from President George Manneh Weah.
In a communication to the 54th Legislature, President Weah said his reason for recalling legislators from constituency break is because of pressing national issues they must handle in the next thirty (30) days.
President Weah in a communication addressed to Speaker Bhofal Chambers said he wants the Legislature to convene from August 15 to September 13, 2022.
Among others, the President wants the body to preside over the appointment of a new Chief Justice of Liberia, as His Honour Chief Justice Francis Korkpor retires in September; setting of a new Census date, passage of the amendment of new elections law and passage of any significant instrument that lawmakers will be discussing during their return.
President Weah stressed in his communication that these issues are so critical and as such; they cannot await the Legislature to resume in October.
Already, staffers of the Liberian Senate have begun to clean the Senate Wing of the Capitol. The chairman of the senate staffers association, Charles Brown, said that female staffers will come along with tide soaps and other materials to wash the building and clean the bathrooms, while male staffers will bring cutlasses to give the Senate Wing a facelift.
Mr. Brown noted that the call came from the President, which means that they expect addition in their salaries, as this is a special session.
He recalled that in previous special sessions, senators always told them that they call themselves back to work, not the president, adding that this time around, they have the letter from President Weah in their possession, which clearly states that legislators are called back to work.
Brown continued that when senators are called back to work, that means their staffers will have to go back to work, saying that they expect to be paid just as senators would be.
Article 32(b) of the Constitution of Liberia states that the President shall, on his own initiative or upon receipt of a certificate signed by at least one-fourth of the total membership of each House, and by proclamation, extend a regular session of the Legislature beyond the date for adjournment or call a special or an extraordinary session of that body to discuss or act upon matters of national emergency and concern. When the extension or call is at the request of the Legislature, the proclamation shall be issued not later than 48 hours after receipt of the certificate by the President.
“We acknowledge your second adjournment which by law is expected to end on the second Friday of October of each year; however, there are time-bond critical National issues which must be resolved as a matter of urgency”, the President’s communication stated.
Members of the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate adjourned recently for the second Quarter of the 5th Session to return in October.
The Second Quarter of the 5th ran from May 17 to July 22, 2022.
Speaking during the formal closing of the House of Representatives on Friday, July 22, 2022, Deputy Speaker, Cllr. Fonati Koffa said a total of twenty (20) regular sessions were held, including thirteen (13) Executive Sessions, two (2) Special Sessions, eleven (11) appearances of ministers and directors. Editing by Jonathan Browne