Members of the House of Representatives Tuesday, 27 September voted overwhelmingly with a Two-thirds majority, dethroning criminally indicted Speaker J. Alex Tyler, who recused himself recently from presiding over session following mounting pressure.
Tyler’s downfall comes at the end of a long journey of internal battle against his colleagues (majority block) headed by Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue, who demanded him to stop presiding over sessions while facing a criminal indictment surrounding bribery allegations levied by U.K.-based environmental group Global Witness.
In a resolution signed by 49 lawmakers on Tuesday, they accused the Speaker, who is currently out of the country on health leave, of allegedly taking actions in violation of their rules and ethics of the House by disrespecting them and bringing the body to public ridicule.
Mr. Tyler recently recused himself as presiding officer, but continued to hold onto the Speaker post despite persistent opposition from his colleagues. In what appears to be a glaring betrayal to Tyler, some of his so-called loyalists, who had stood by him up to his recusal, shockingly signed the resolution for his removal and are among the 49 representatives, affixed their signatures.
They include Congress for Democratic Change or CDC lawmaker Solomon Claudius George of Montserrado County District #13, who was recently denied entry into the U.S.; Nimba County District #4 Representative Garrison Yealue and Montserrado County District #13 Rep. Saah Joseph, among others.
In the wake of Tyler’s removal as Speaker, Montserrado County Rep. Edwin Melvin Snowe, who initiated the anti-Tyler campaign about four months ago, flew from Abuja, Nigeria where he has been on official duty and signed the resolution before immediately returning to Abuja.
Rep. Snowe himself is a victim of similar internal fight at the Lower House when his colleagues removed him during President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s first term in office, and was succeeded by Mr. Tyler as Speaker.
But Rep. Snowe claims he has no intention to re-occupy the post and doesn’t have anybody in mind. Montserrado County Josephine Frances, who has been rumored to get elected as Speaker, has denied the claims, saying she has no interest in the post.
Meanwhile, there are unconfirmed reports that Mr. Tyler, who still remains Representative for Bomi County is expected back to the country today, Wednesday.
By Bridgett Milton -Editing by Jonathan Browne