Liberia: CPP Wants House Rescind Rep. Kolubah’s Suspension, But CDC Rep. Gray Accuses Colleagues of Being Disingenuous
Capitol Hill, Monrovia – Members of the House of Representatives are engulfed in a sea of acrimonious recriminations weeks after the suspension of Rep. Yekeh Kolubah by the Plenary of the House of Representative for 30 sitting days (about four months).
Rep. Kolubah was suspended on March 25, 2021 by Plenary, the highest decision-making body of the House of Representatives over what it termed as his constant habit of raining insults at President George Weah and exposing the House to public disrepute.
But Rep. Kolubah, through his lawyers filed a Writ of Prohibition against Speaker Bhofal Chambers and members of the House of Representatives (respondent) before Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe, Chamber Justice of the Supreme Court, to place a stay order on the enforcement of the suspension.
However, Justice Nagbe did not grant the writ of probation, rather he cited both parties to a conference this Thursday, April 22.
While both parties await the outcome of the conference, supporters from both side of the isle (CPP and ruling party) have begun throwing jibes at each other.
The Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) Caucus, through a statement read by its Chairman, Rep. Joseph Papa Kolleh (District #7, Bong County) said said it is troubled and saddened by the ‘kangaroo decision’ of the House of Representatives to suspend Rep. Kolubah on the basis of utterances he made in his constituent or outside of Plenary. The CPP Caucus said using the Chambers of the House to go against and after Rep. Kolubah or any other member of the House for utterances made outside of the Capitol Building towards the President of Liberia or any other non-member of the Legislature was wrong and illegal and called on plenary to rescind its decision or they will support their colleague to take appropriate actions against the House.
Excerpt of the Statement: “In consequence of the above, the entire membership of the CPP Legislative Caucus with consent of the CPP National Leadership, calls on the House of Representative to rescind the unlawful decision taken and announced against Hon. Kolubah, failing which could to appropriate legal and other necessary political actions to bring the appropriate and necessary relief.”
According to the largest opposition legislative bloc within the House, the procedure used by the Plenary of the House of Representatives to suspend Rep. Kolubah was not only flawed but unconstitutional, adding the Constitution provides that two-thirds of the entire membership of each chamber of the Legislature has the authority to expel or suspend a member, consistent with due process of law.
“CPP Legislative Caucus contends that the due process was not observed and accorded, and that twenty members of the House comprising of 73 members cannot constitute two-thirds to suspend or expel a member as mandated by the Constitution of Liberia.”
Staged Managed Petition
Meanwhile the CPP lawmakers have also condemned what they termed as a staged managed petition presented to the House of Representatives by some residents of Montserrado County District #10 in Support of Rep. Yekeh Kolubah’s Suspension.
On Tuesday, members of the Legislative Press Pool, visitors and staffers of the Legislature were left astounded when the newly appointed Chairman of the House Committee on claims and Petition, Rep. Gonpue Kargon (District #4, Numba County) joined in chanting anti Yekeh Kolubah slogan at the grounds of the Capitol Building.
Rep. Kargon, accompanied by his colleague, Rep. Edward P. Flomo of Montserrdao County District #13 had gone to receive a petition statement from a group of residents of Montserrado County District #10, expressing support to the House’s decision to suspend their lawmaker, Rep. Yekeh Kolubah over his constant denigration of President George Weah.
Upon receiving the petition, Rep. Kargon, who appeared to be in high spirit, began chanting a battle cry that sounded much like his native Gio dialect – Zehyoo, Zehyoo!
The petitioners, looking surprised, began responding as Rep. Flomo looked on.
However, the CPP lawmakers said the group was supported by the ruling CDC and does not represent majority of District #10, currently represented by Rep. Kolubah.
In a quick response to the CPP Legislative Caucus, Rep. Acarous M. Gray of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) said the opposition lawmakers were not sincere in their comments and vowed to lead a campaign to remove Rep. Kolubah if he continues his actions.
Citing series of the House’s rules, including Rule 42, Rep. Gray said the decision of the House was legal and expressed disappointment over the CPP lawmakers for “misinforming the public.”
Rule 42.1 of states “Every member shall, at any place, keep the prestige and dignity of the House and refrain from undesirable acts; while 42.2 adds “No Member shall insult, abuse or harass other persons within the confines of the House, or cause disturbance to the activities of the House.”
Rep. Gray said the House’s decision was justifiable because Rep. Kolubah is constantly insulting the President, Speaker and some of his colleagues within the confines of the House of Representatives.