MONDAY, JANUARY 15, 2018 Maryland County District #2 Representative Bhofal Chambers was elected as the new Speaker of the House of Representatives in Liberia. Another name, which also circulated on the internet, was Grand Kru County Senator Albert T. Chie. Both “firsts among equals” hail from the Southeastern region of Liberia.
SPEAKER CHAMBERS TAKES the gavel of authority from former Speaker James Emmanuel Nuquay of Margibi County.
NUQUAY COULDN’T OPT to rerun for his post as he was the running mate to outgoing Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai in the 2017 Presidential and General Elections. During the presidential runoff election of December 26, 2017, Vice President Boakai and Speaker Nuquay’s ticket lost to President-elect, Senator George Manneh Weah and Senator Jewel Howard Taylor’s ticket of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC). So, Speaker Nuquay lost both his representative and Speaker posts by default.
SENATOR CHIE ON THE other hand, who became more famous as a result of the Senate Pro-Tempore election, takes over from former Pro-temp Armah Zulu Jallah of Gbarpolu County.
SENATOR JALLAH DECIDED against re-running for the post. He had spent three years as the Pro-Temp of the Liberian Senate. He actually ended the term of former Pro-Temp Gbehzohngar Milton Findley of Grand Bassa County, who lost the Special Senatorial By-election in December 2014.
ANOTHER NAME, LIKE the two names above, which became all on the Internet and the radio, was Bong County lawmaker Prince Moye. Representative Moye was also elected as Deputy Speaker with 41 votes. He was opposed by former Deputy Speaker of the 53rd Legislature, Hans Barchue, who got 25 votes.
THESE ASTUTE SONS of Liberia, along with their other colleagues in both the Senate and the House, met yesterday for the first time since they were declared winners by the National Elections Commission (NEC), to carry out one of the major functions. They firstly transitioned from the 53rd Legislature to the 54th and later voted for their leaders, who are named above. These men are to lead their colleagues for the next six years, according to Articles 47 and 49 of the Liberian Constitution of 1986.
AS WE AT THE FRONTPAGEAFRICA join other Liberians in welcoming our new lawmakers to the Capitol Building, we like to do so reminding them of the sacred responsibilities and Herculean tasks that await them for the next couple of years.
THE 54TH LEGISLATURE’S immediate predecessor—53rd— had been dogged in all manner of shady deals in cohort with the Executive.
IT CAN BE RECALLED A few years ago, the British auditing firm, Moore Stephens, commissioned an audit and later reported that close to 90 percent of the total number of concessions in Liberia, were non-compliant with Liberian laws.
HOW DID THE OVER 50 bogus concessions even become laws of the land? They had to pass through the 53rd Legislature.
NEITHER ARE THERE ANY kind words out in the public for members of the 53rd, either. Most Liberians brand them as being self-seeking greedy guts, who only spent all their days in the Legislature for “me, myself and I.”
AT ONE POINT, THE RELATIONSHIP with the outgoing President, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, became tensed when she accused them of looking out for themselves and not the people, who had elected them to serve their (people’s) interests. The President was on a foreign soil when she dazed them. Their actions in the Legislature didn’t make them appear truly “honorable,” even though they wear the title on their foreheads.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Speaker then, Rep. J. Alexander Tyler, who is referred to in some quarters as “corruption king kong,” wasted no time in getting back at the President. He and the President’s relationship didn’t heal until he was removed from power by his colleagues. The President’s critics said her fingerprints are illegally found on all the deals that ousted Tyler.
SO, MR. AND MRS. 54TH Legislature, in addition to your three cardinal functions of lawmaking, oversight and representation, your responsibilities are enormous, beginning with the expectations of your constituents. Your people have yearned for a good leader for so long. They hope that you can be that savior, who will ably represent them in the Legislature and take them to the ‘Promised Land.’
WE CHALLENGE YOU MEN and women that looking at your former dishonorable colleagues, you can truly redeem the Legislature from the cynics and critics by doing the honorable things for the Liberian people.
YOUR PEOPLE, IN THEIR “glorious land of liberty,” deserve the best and shouldn’t be spectators in their own country. This depends on how you ably carry out your three cardinal functions and working along with President George Manneh Weah.
SO, WELCOME TO THE Capitol and please be ‘Honorable’ as your selflessness will take Liberia and Liberians to higher heights!