Monrovia – Convening a legislative session outside Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, is out of the ordinary and the legal frame work, but the rules had to be bent to allow the inaugural ceremony of President-elect George Manneh Weah and Vice President-elect, Jewel Howard Taylor, be held at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sport Complex (SKD) in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.
The inaugural ceremony proceeds after a joint legislative session is convened.
The change of venue from the grounds of the Capitol Building to the Sport Complex that brought President-elect Weah to prominence in football – projecting him as far as winning some of the world’s most precious accolades in the game – was made possible through the signing of a joint resolution by House and the Senate.
Both Houses signed the resolution on Friday, January 19, 2018, during the first day special sitting of the first session of the 54th Legislature.
Using the SKD was not only necessitated by the number of followers and supporters who have expressed interest in witnessing the ceremony, but also due to an ongoing construction work at the grounds of the Capitol Building.
The building is being extended with the erection of two annexes – a gift from the Chinese government worth approximately US$23 million.
The joint resolution makes the SKD the legal grounds for the hosting of the historic ceremony that would witness the democratic transfer of power from one democratically elected government to another – the first of its kind in 74 years.
Before the President-elect take his oath of office on Monday, Jan. 22, the Speaker, Dr. Bhofal Chambers would preside over a joint session convened by the 54th Legislature in accordance with Article 53(a) of the Constitution.
Article 53 (a) states: “The President and Vice President shall, before entering on the execution of the duties of their respective offices, take a solemn oath or affirmation to preserve, protect and defend the constitution and laws of the Republic and faithfully execute the duties of the offices. The oath or affirmation shall be administered in joint convention of both Houses of the Legislature by the Chief Justice or, in his absence, the most senior Associate Justice.”
Meanwhile, the Legislature’s resolution for the granting the change in venue is facing criticisms in some quarters with many arguing that lawmakers do not possess such power as it should have been done through a referendum.