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Liberian Senate: Overcoming the Political ‘Bitterness’

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News of divisiveness emanating from the Liberian Senate on Capitol Hill seems not too favorable to the interest of the people of Liberia the Senators represent. Recent media reports attributed the ‘political bad blood’ among members of the Liberian Senate to the recent election for the President Pro-Tempore – a process occasioning the rise of Gbarpolu County Senator Armah Z. Jallah to the top post of that august body.

The just-ended elections for Chairpersons of some of the statutory committees of the Senate further exacerbated the so-called ‘political bitterness’ among the Senators, especially Senator Joseph Nagbe of Sinoe County- one of the three contenders for the President Pro Temp position..

Whether or not the voting pattern may have led Senator Nagbe and a few others to exhibit the ‘walk-out’ attitude during the statutory committee elections, they are yet to publicly justify their actions last Thursday.

What the Senators must be made to understand is that they were elected by the people of Liberia as Chairpersons of the various statutory committees, but senators to represent the interests of their respective counties- through law-making, oversight and representation.

Unlike the House of Representatives whose statutory committee heads are single-handedly appointed by the Speaker- amounting to some degree of ‘authoritarianism’, the process in the Senate is more democratic.- a principle we all appreciate.

Whether or not there were betrayals, huge spending or whatsoever during the process, what matters most is the execution of their duties and functions as required by the 1986 Constitution of Liberia to the best of their abilities in the interest of the people they represent ( and not mere committee positions).

Perhaps, it is because of the ‘political bitterness’ currently harbored by Senators Nagbe, Jewel Howard-Taylor, Oscar Cooper, as well as Milton Teahjay, among a few others Pro Temp Jallah and Vice President Joseph Boakai thought to emphasize a politically reconciled and unified Liberian Senate in fostering the aspirations of the Liberian people.

As he stated during a dinner in honor of members of the Liberian Senate in the Monrovia sub-burb of Congo Town last Friday evening (and with which we concurred), Armah Jallah must not be seen as a person desperate and greedy for power, but one charged with the responsibility to preside during sessions whenever the Vice President of Liberia and President of the Senate is unavailable.

Senator Nagbe and his few colleagues must also be cautioned against all forms of negative attitudes intended to undermine the activities of the Senate- only because they not have won, as such disunity, in the words of Vice President Boakai, will only stall the work for which they were elected.

As the Vice President admonished members of the Liberian Senate during last Friday Congo Town dinner in their honor, the elections were all over and what matters most for them now is to concentrate on the number of bills in committee rooms.

The foregoing admonition to members of the Liberian Senate by VP Noakai must be considered as the real voice of reasoning from which they must take their cue as they politically co-exist in ‘chambers’ on Capitol Hill.

We also appeal to the “aggrieved Senators” to let ‘by-gone be by-gone’ and put first the interest of the Liberian people- the purpose for which they were elected. The Senators must “work today as if they were working tomorrow” in order to win the hearts of their constituents, and not allow themselves to be caught with “their pants down”.

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