Regular session of the Liberian senate failed to convene here Thursday,5 March due to lack of quorum to conduct business.The Senate chambers on Capitol Hill nearly became a ghost town when only 10 of the 30 senators appeared for roll call.After the process of calling names, Senate President Pro-Tempore Albert T. Chie, instructed Sergeant-At-Arms Gen. Martin Johnson to go from office to office, and gather all senators present on the grounds of the Capitol to bring them to session as it is usually done.
As instructed by the presiding, four other senators came in, bringing the number to 14 in total, which could not constitute a quorum (15 senators) to start session.The Chair on Executive, Senator Saah H. Joseph, who later presided, called for a motion of adjournment because there was no other senator to make them complete.
The 14 senators who were present include, Senator Albert T. Chie of GrandKru County, Senator Darius Dillon of Montserrado County, Senator Henrique Tokpa of Bong County, Senator Saah H. Joseph of Montserrado, Senator Francis S. Paye of Rivercess County, Senator J. Gble-blo Brown of Maryland County, and Senator G. Alphonso Gaye of Grand Gedeh County, respectively. Others were Senator J. Milton Teahjay of Sinoe County, Senator Victor Watson of Grand Cape Mount County, Senator Morris Saytumah of Bomi County, Senator Varney H. Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County, Senator Thomas Grupee of Nimba County, Senator Daniel Naathn of Gbarpolu County and Senator Oscar Cooper of Margibi County.
Meanwhile, key on the senate’s agenda Thursday was the appearance of the Minister of Finance and Development Planning Samuel D. Tweh, Jr. to state why there is no money allotted for the National Elections Commission to execute its duties leading to the conduct of midterm senatorial elections in October, 2020.
A recent communication from the Senate to the Finance Boss cited him to have appeared before plenary last week Thursday, February 27. Min. Tweah however, pleaded with the Senate and asked that he would have appearedyesterday, March 5, instead, but there was no quorum in what clearly seems to have been well orchestrated by some ruling party senators to avoid reaching a quorum that would have had Tweah appeared.
The midterm senatorial elections seem to be in a limbo due to lack of funds to support the electoral budget of US$20 million submitted by the National Elections Commission, NEC Chairman Cllr. Jerome Korkoya told theSenate recently.Appearing before the Senate, Chairman Korkoya and the NEC Board of Commissioners explained the US$20milliom budget for both referendum and the elections was reduced to US$17 million.
He said the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning issued a commitment letter to the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) of US$7million, as initial funding for pre-electoral activities, covering voter roll and assessment of various precincts, but the NEC has not received a dime.By Ethel A. Tweh-Editing by Jonathan Browne