By Ethel A. Tweh
The Liberian Senate has voted on the white ballot a female lawmaker, Sen. Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, from the incoming Unity Party alliance as the new President Pro-Tempore, succeeding Grand Kru County Senator Albert T. Chie.
The Senate’s leadership election was held Monday, 15 January 2024 at the start of the 55th Legislature.
Nyonblee, a Grand Bassa County Senator, gets the strong backing of Liberia’s President-elect Amb. Joseph Nyumah Boakai.
She vigorously supported Boakai’s 2023 presidential bid even after she could not be picked as running mate to the Unity Party (UP) leader.
Following Monday’s Senate election, the new leadership includes Sen. Karnga-Lawrence, President Pro-Tempore; Maryland Couty Senator James Biney, Chair on Executive; and Montserrado County Senator Abraham Dillon, Chair on Foreign Affairs.
Former Senate President Pro-Tempore Albert T. Chie is the new Chair on Public Works; Sinoe County Senator Augustine Chea is the Chair on Judiciary; and Bong County Senator Prince Moye chairs the Ways, Means, Finance, and Budget Committee.
The Senate’s new Chair on Defense and Security is Lofa County Senator Momo Cyrus; Maryland County Senator Gbleh-bo Brown chairs the Rules, Order and Administration Committee; while Margibi County Senator Nathaniel McGill chairs the Committee on Education.
Grand Cape Mount County Senator Daba Varpilar chairs the Committee on Health; Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson chairs the Committee on Internal Affairs; Gbarpolu County Senator Amara Konneh chairs chairs the Committee on Public Accounts; and
Bomi County Senators Edwin Snowe and Alex Tyler are the new Senate Representatives to ECOWAS.
River Gee County Senator Francis Dopoe and Sinoe County Senator Crayton Duncan are the representatives to the International Parliamentary Union.
Speaking following her election, Liberian Senate Pro-Tempore Nyonblee Kangar-Lawrence said she is humbled and deeply honored to accept the tremendous responsibility and privilege of serving the 55th Legislature of the Republic of Liberia as the President Pro-Tempore.
She noted that this milestone accomplishment would not have been made possible without the consistent and unwavering support of her esteemed colleagues of the Senate, supervised by Sen. Jeremiah Koung, Liberia’s Vice President-elect, and Sen. James Biney, the new Chair on Executive.
She also hailed the Independent Senators, and the support staff, noting that this accomplishment is truly a life-changing moment for her, and the women of Liberia in general.
Pro-Tempore Karnga-Lawrence said the position she takes up carries with it a solemn obligation to uphold the principles of the doctrine of the separation of powers and to maintain the independence, credibility and integrity of the Liberian Senate.
The Grand Bassa Senator pledged to discharge these duties with firm dedication, impartiality, and a deep sense of respect for every Senator, irrespective of political persuasions.
Pro-Tempore Karnga-Lawrence indicated that her plan will focus on strengthening the legislative process, open and transparent legislative proceedings, enhancing legislative oversight, and improving the legislative work environment to include the welfare of legislative staff.
“This blueprint, when formulated in closed consultation with the leadership of the Liberian Senate, will outline key priorities and initiatives to help me effectively steer the affairs of this august body, foster positive change, and make an everlasting impact,” she pledged.
“As a mark of transparency and accountability, and in order to lead by example, I hereby inform that I will declare my assets and liabilities as well as publish this week,” Nyonblee assured Liberians.
She said she firmly believes that by fostering constructive dialogue, finding common ground, and seeking bipartisan solutions, they can make steady progress through legislative oversight, and enactment of legislation that will positively impact the country and people.
Additionally, Pro-Tempore Karnga-Lawrence said that she has absolutely no doubt that the expertise and experiences of her colleagues will certainly add more value to the Liberian Senate, and assist in accomplishing the goals of the agenda for a more vibrant, independent, and reformed Senate.
Meanwhile, Pro-Tempore Karnga-Lawrence said she delicates this historic moment in loving memory of her colleague, friend, and late husband, Montserrado County Electoral #15 Representative Adolph A. Lawrence.