President George Manneh Weah is expected to deliver his 3rd Annual Message before the 54th Liberian Legislature today, 25 January, which will unveil his plans mainly on improving education, health, security and proposing a giant step needed to be taken to expand the country’s electricity supply.
Mr. Weah will appear before a special joint legislative session this Monday afternoon in the William Richard Tolbert Joint Chambers at the Capitol Building to deliver the Annual Message.
President will be addressing both the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate in a joint chambers, but only 20 out of 30 senators will be present as election cases are holding back 10 senators – elect following the 8 December polls.
Ahead of the president’s message, his Chief of State and Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Mr. Nathaniel McGill told this paper via mobile phone Sunday afternoon, 24 January that Mr. Weah is expected to speak on key national issues including the improvement of education, health, security and to propose a giant step in expanding electricity availability.
In the interview, Mr. McGill adds that Weah will focus on national unity among Liberians. But opposition Unity Party Secretary General Mr. Mohammed Ali predicts that nothing new will be unveiled in President Weah’s third Annual Address and therefore calls on Liberians not to expect anything new from the president’s message.
He claimed during conversation with this paper Sunday afternoon that the president is expected to be repeating his old message.
Mr. Ali suggests that part of President Weah’s message will be about the few streetlights planted in some parts of Monrovia and its environs, and a boast about holding of peaceful elections.
On the other hand, Mr. Ali claims that President Weah and his government will avoid matters relating to the 2020 National Referendum held in December because the results of the eight propositions in the referendum terribly went against the interest of the government.
The chief scribe of the former ruling establishment which is a constituent party of the Collaborating Political Party (CPP) adds that the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) – led administration needs to double its efforts in providing the needed social, economic solutions and security for the people.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ali claims that the government failed to provide invitation to the Unity Party to attend President Weah’s third annual message, a constitutionally required event.
Mr. Ali says the government’s failure to provide the Unity Party an invitation for the annual message is a reason best known to the CDC regime, saying it’s first of its kind for the Unity Party or a political party to be denied invitation for such event.
He however states that the Collaborating Political Parties will adequately reply to the president’s message on Tuesday, 26 January.
Article 58 of Liberia’s Constitution of 1986 requires the president to present the administration’s legislative program on the fourth working Monday in January of each year for the ensuing session.
It also requires the president to once a year, report to the Legislature on the state of the Republic. In presenting the economic condition of the Republic, the Constitution says the report shall cover expenditure as well as income.
But this is the first of its kind for a sitting Liberian president to deliver an Annual Message before the Legislature with so much of absentee senators.
And this is because unresolved election cases are still being heard by the National Elections Commission and the Supreme Court, when appeal is taken to ensure that affected parties have exhausted the remedies available before the winning candidate is certificated to serve.
Currently, the Liberian Senate is operating with just 20 senators instead 30 as required by the Constitution.
Since the holding of the 8 December 2020 Special Senatorial Election, 10 of the proposed winners have been before the hearing officers or the Board of Commissioners of the electoral body and the Supreme Court for electoral matters.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Edited by Winston W. Parley