The long leadership stand-off among Members of the Liberian House of Representatives may seem to have ended, with Speaker Alex J. Tyler recusing himself as Presiding Officer of that august body last Thursday, September 1, 2016.
Speaker Tyler had said he only decided to step aside as the Presiding in the interest of the people of Liberia and nothing else. His decision ends three months of leadership row among Members of the House supporting him and those forcing him to be recused – an unfortunate situation that almost paralyzed the entire government, including the passage of the 2016/2017 National Budget.
The Speaker’s decision may ensure a smooth landing for the budget hearing and passage, as well as deliberations on other key Legislative instruments in the House of Representatives; but whether or not Tyler’s recusal puts an end to such political rivalry, remains to be seem.
The delay in budget hearing and passage, ‘resulting to difficulties experienced in medical institutions and with health delivery, as well as limited capacities in which social structures may be functioning, suspension of infrastructural programs, implementation of major contracts and delay in salaries of civil servants were attributed to Tyler’s resistance to recuse himself.
Now that Speaker Tyler has step aside as presiding Officer – something many thought was at the core of the three-month political hooliganism, many Liberians may be hopeful that these national priorities will be fast-tracked by Members of the House of Representatives and the Executive.
But there may also be some uncertainties – especially against the backdrop of the reactions of some Representatives among the ‘anti-Tyler elements’ of the House to the Speaker’s decision.
While some are vowing to finally remove him, others are publicly voicing out Deputy House Speaker Hans Barchue’s rejection over his inability to account for more than US$900,000 intended for a nation-wide consultative tour on the new oil law, as well as the decision by some supporters of Tyler to seek redress from the Supreme Court of Liberia on the formation of a ‘special committee’ within the ‘anti-Tyler bloc’ to conduct budget hearing and passage, when the statutory committee responsible for such is the Ways, Means and Budget Committee, among other issues.
And so, if many had thought Speaker Tyler’s decision to recuse himself was the end of the ‘war’ in the House, iy may surely be far from over. Now that the Speaker has stepped aside as Presiding Officer, Members of the House of Representatives must now exhibit political behaviors many would consider more ‘honorable’ in deeds and not mere title, in terms of integrity, true representation of the people and not themselves, as well as patriotic, among others, as a way of once more commending the respect of the people of Liberia.
Now that Speaker Tyler has recused himself, anything short of the aforementioned would warrant almost all of them absolute RED CARDs come next year’s Presidential and Representative elections in Liberia.