To the dismay of many Liberians, who had gone to the Capitol Building on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 to witness its debate and subsequent position on ‘additional powers’ requested by President Sirleaf, the Liberian Senate deliberately deferred the political exercise, leaving many in the cold.
They were scheduled to have finally argued President Sirleaf’s communication seeking ‘additional powers’ in “combating the Ebola virus”.
The House of Representatives, with swiftness last week, vehemently rejected the Presidential Proposal, immediately sending such communication to the Senate for possible concurrence, but the upper house of the Liberian Legislature deferred the debate and action to tomorrow, Thursday.
Following the reading of a communication from the House of Representatives during the Tuesday’s session at the Capitol Building, in Monrovia, the Presiding Officer, the President of the Liberian Senate and Vice President Joseph Boakai, recognized Maryland County Senator H. Dan Morais for a motion on the communication.
In his motion, Senator Morais sought the indulgence of his colleagues for the communication to be discussed and an action taken on the same Thursday. Though Senators Peter Coleman, Geraldine Doe Sherif, Sando Johnson and Henry Yallah further argued that the communication be concluded, amendments proffered by these senators were mercilessly rejected by Sen. Morais with cheers and laughter from River Gee County Senior Senator Fredrick Doe Cheru.
Vice President Boakai, however, took ‘yea and nail’ vote to close the discussion. But Sen. Morais insisted that despite last week’s discussion of the communication, there were new variables and terminologies that needed more research before any final action- with such document coming from the House of Representatives. On last Thursday and Friday, the senators greeted the request for more emergency powers during the on-going State of Emergency with stern uneasiness and deadlock.
A State of Emergency was declared on August 6, 2014, by the Liberian Chief Executive across Liberia- an action subsequently approved by the Legislature, in consonance with Article 86 of the Constitution, with the purpose of battling the deadly Ebola virus. On October 1, she reminded the Senate of her declaration and recommended with request that certain restrictive measures were to be taken on keen Articles, including the alteration of election time and manner.
“Under the Constitution and the mentioned Declaration of the State of Emergency, the President is vested with the power and clothed with the authority to suspend, during the period of the State of Emergency, any and all rights ordinarily exercised, enjoyed and guaranteed to citizens and residents of the Republic in normal periods, limited only by specific exceptions stipulated by the Constitution,” a Presidential Proclamation issued in Monrovia further said.