Liberia: Lofa Concern Citizens in the Diasporas Accuses Pres. Weah of Denying Them Representation at the Liberian Senate
VOINJAMA, Lofa County – A group under the banner Lofa Concern Citizens in the Diasporas has accused the government of president George Weah of nullifying the voice of the county by denying residents a representation at the Liberian Senate via a politically-motivated lawsuit against Senator-elect Brownie Samukai.
It has been six months since the National Elections Commission (NEC) announced Samukai as winner of the December 8, 2020 senatorial election in Lofa County, but he has faced hurdle in taking his seat at the Liberian Senate after the Supreme Court halted his certification by the NEC.
The nation’s highest court’s decision against the former defense minister was triggered by a Writ of Prohibition filed March 2, 2021, by O’Neil Passewe, chairman of the Movement for Progressive Change (MPC).
Passewe asked the court to halt the certification of Samukai because he has been convicted by the Supreme Court for the crime of money laundering.
And the Lofa Concern Citizens in the Diasporas believes the decision by the government through the Supreme Court to deny Samukai of his seat at the Liberian Senate is yet another political ploy.
In the views of J. Patrick Flomo and Dr. Sakui Malakpa, two elite members of the the group, the the prolonged delay in the certification of Samukai is a gross violation of the constitutional rights of the people of Lofa County.
‘The constitution guarantees every citizen the full protection of the law and the right to elect their representative leaders freely,’ the group said.
‘In 1985, the 1847 Constitution was revised, and it specifically guaranteed Equal Representation under Article 45.
This provision allows each political subdivision vis-à-vis county to have two senators as well as representatives based on districts population.’
‘It is now 201 days and counting since the December 8, 2020 senatorial elections were held and all counties are constitutionally represented by two senators except Lofa County. We, the people of Lofa County, regard this as a violation of our rights to full constitutional representation.’
Pushing further argument, the group said it’s the responsibility of the government to certify anyone who wants to contest for any public office, according to the constitution, wondering why the government didn’t bar Samukai from contesting if they had issues against him.
‘We believe that the government created this constitutional crisis and bears the full responsibility to resolve it with deliberate speed,’ the group said.
‘We, the people of Lofa County, are constitutionally entitled to two senators, and we do here petition you (the government) to fulfill your constitutional responsibility.’
‘If the government of Liberia genuinely believes in representative government and the rule of law and reveres the constitution as the sacred document of the Republic, she must take the action necessary to bring this issue to immediate resolution.’
‘Anything short of this tells us this government does not believe in our representative constitutional government and therefore does not deserve the people’s trust.’
The group urged residents f the county to rise up against what it terms as a political witch-hunt aimed at silencing the voice of the county at the Liberian Senate.
‘The question is no longer a partisan question but that of full legislative representation for the county.’
‘We urge you to form a united front and to use the influence of your positions, endowed upon you by the people of Lofa County to serve their needs.’
‘We call on all Liberians to join the people of Lofa County to urge the government to restore our rights to full senatorial representation as clearly stated in Article 45 of the Liberian Constitution.’