Montserrado County Representative Dr. Edward Forh says the crisis in the House of Representatives had been brewing ever since, and it is not due to Global Witness’ [report] on Sable Mining. According to him, indicted House Speaker Alex Tyler had not been able to “get back those persons” who fell out with him after a major shake-up in January 2015.
“… I understand – I was in the States at the time on my graduation – some persons were suspended for three months. Some persons were given warning letters. Some persons were suspended for one month. And so the crisis in the House had been brewing, it is not about Global Witness or Sable Mining or whatever,” Rep. Forh said at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Thursday, 18 August after signing the book of condolence for the late Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Dr. Edward McClain.
The January 2015 “shake – up” referenced by Rep. Forh came when some representatives were demanding Speaker Tyler’s recusal, pending the outcome of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission or LACC’s probe into an oil consultation money scandal.
Whatever the case may be, Rep. Forh insists that if “you lose” the confidence of your colleagues, the best thing to do is to step aside, though he had earlier claimed that he tried to play mediating role at the beginning of the debacle in which he says some of Speaker Tyler’s supporters had “combative and militant approach to the issue.”
As far as Rep. Forh is concerned, the matter with Speaker Tyler only seems new, but really believes it results from what happened in January 2015 when Mr. Tyler’s leadership effected a major shake-up at the Lower House and adjusted several committees.
He says Speaker Tyler “apparently overlooked the rift that came within his block,” and that he had not been able to put his supporters back together since last year, saying “it is just that same crisis in addition to what the public perceives now to be the crisis that has escalated.”
“And I think Speaker Tyler should see it from that perspective, because even were he to be restored or not to be restored, the confidence of his colleagues – majority of his colleagues – is no longer there. And I think within that perspective he should do the honorable thing and recuse himself,” Rep. Forh said.
Quizzed as to why he signed the book of condolence on Thursday, 18 August after Speaker Tyler, accompanied by some 11 representatives had on Wednesday signed the book of condolence of late Dr. Edward McClain, Rep. Forh said paying of condolence to people was not political, but a personal matter.
Some 35 Representatives including Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue and leading recusal campaigner Rep. Edwin Melvin Snowe converged at the Foyer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday morning, 18 August and signed the book of condolence, after some 11 of their colleagues accompanied the embattled House Speaker earlier on Wednesday.
The Hans Barchue group were said to have expressed interest to appear Thursday to sign, in what put the Executive into some unusual protocol arrangement to allot two days for the Lower House alone to sign a book of condolence.
Commenting on the late Dr. McClain, Rep. Forh praised his diligence to work, suggesting that “if we have such a person with a kind disposition in several places of our government, we know that there will be less and less tension in the workplace.”
Liberia’s Traditional Council and Elder Chief Zanzan Kawah said the council was in tears over the death of Dr. McClain, and also urged the need for Liberians to relax the hard politics here.
He said the chiefs have invited the two groups of the divided House of Representatives to a meeting scheduled for today, Friday, 19 August in an effort to resolve the current impasse.
By Winston W. Parley-Editing by Jonathan Browne