Resign or help to make it better
River Gee County Senator Conmany Wesseh has urged his colleague from Margibi County, Senator Oscar Cooper to resign from the senate or help to make it a better place, following his recent criticism.
Senator Wesseh, in interview with this paper on Thursday, 29 June at his Capitol Building office in Monrovia says if Senator Cooper claimed that the Liberian Senate is a ‘useless place’ to be, the best option is to resign or remain to make it a better place than to describe the upper house as ‘useless’.
Senator Wesseh’s statement is in response to Senator Cooper’s verbal attack on the Liberian Senate in plenary. Cooper branded the Senate as a ‘useless place’ on planet earth, after his call for the upper house to observe “normal legislative procedure” in ratifying a US$4.8m grant was downplayed by presiding officer, Senate Pro-Tempore Armah Jallah.
On Thursday, June 29, chambers of the Liberian Senate turned hot, when the agenda of plenary carried an item which stats letter of apology from Senator Cooper. But Cooper without delay, uprightly said, at no time he had written the secretary of the senate a communication for apology.
The plenary of the senate had earlier given two days ultimatum to the Margibi lawmaker for his utterance. Cooper insisted that his statement is not an insult as being considered by some of colleagues and at such, he owes nobody apology.
When Senate secretary Nanbolor Singbeh was quizzed whether he had letter of apology from Cooper, he openly confessed that there is no letter of such.
Apparently being embarrassed by the blunder on the agenda, Senate President Pro-Tempore Armah Jallah requested for a close door session.
However, Cooper argued that during the period of adaption of the agenda, the motion did not state anything about closed doors session on his purported letter and he was not willing to go in executive session.
Following consultations with few of his colleagues, including Montserrado County Senator Geraldine Doe Sherif, Grand Kru Senator Peter Coleman and others, Pro-Tempore Jallah continues with open session. This time, he constituted a special committee to probe Cooper’s saga.
Cooper explains that his statement is guided by article 42 of the 1986 Liberian Constitution which states; “No member of the Senate or House of Representatives shall be arrested, detained, prosecuted or tried as a result of opinions expressed or votes cast in the exercise of the functions of his office. Members shall be privileged from arrest while attending, going to or returning from sessions of the Legislature, except for treason, felony or breach of the peace. All official acts done or performed and all statement made in the Chambers of the Legislature shall be privileged, and no Legislator shall be held accountable or punished therefore.
But from all indications, it appears that the saga between Senator Cooper and the plenary is far from conclusion.