Both Houses of the Liberian Legislature are due to vote for new leaderships today, Monday, 15 January that will head that branch of government for the next six years marking President – elect Mr. George Manneh Weah’s first term in office after outgoing President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf.
There are indications that a candidate for the Speaker of the House of Representatives Dr. Bhofal Chambers of President – elect Mr. Weah’s Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) is sitting comfortably to succeed outgoing Speaker James Emmanuel Nuquay who stood as running mate to ruling Unity Party (UP’s) defeated presidential candidate Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai last year.
Grand Kru County Representative Jonathan Fonati Koffa had earlier declared his intention for the speaker post, but he has since slowed down on his ambition, thus creating a broader space for Dr. Chambers to likely win the post on a white ballot.
With regards to the Senate President Pro Tempore election, Sen. Albert Chie, an independent candidate at the upper house, appears to be standing a chance to succeed National Patriotic Party (NPP’s) Sen. Armah Jallah as the next Pro Tempore for the 54th Liberian Legislature.
At the polls in their respective chambers on Monday, newly elected members of the House of Representatives and the members of Senate are expected to elect the next speaker and a deputy speaker and a Senate President Pro Tempor respectivley, giving them a six year mandate.
Article 49 of the 1986 Constitution requires that the House of Representatives elects once every six years, a Speaker who shall be the presiding officer of that body, a deputy speaker, and such other officers as shall ensure the proper functioning of the House.
It says the speaker, the deputy speaker and other officers so elected may be removed from office for cause by resolution of a two-thirds majority of the members of the House.
The Constitution further requires in Article 47 that the Senate shall elect once every six years a President Pro Tempore who shall preside in the absence of the President of the Senate, and that such officers shall ensure the proper functioning of the Senate.
It adds that the President Pro Tempore and other officers so elected may be removed from office for cause by resolution of a two-thirds majority of the members of the Senate.
Dr. Chambers, a representative from Maryland County, is serving his third term. Chambers’ contender Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue has back off from the speaker’s election.
It is not clear whether Barchue will contest to retain his post as deputy speaker, a position equally being contested by Bong County Representative Prince Moye.
For the Liberian Senate, Sen. Chie will be battling against Lofa County Senator Steve Zargo who chairs the Senate’s Committee on National Security, Intelligence and veteran Affairs.
But from happenings within the corridors of the upper house, about 24 out of 29 senators are said to be determined to vote for Sen. Chie whom many consider to be forceful and hardworking.
Sen. Chie presides over the Senate’s Committee on Lands, Mines, Energy, and Natural Resources, a committee that has produced the highest reports so far.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Edited by Winston W. Parley