Liberia: Senators Furious over Handling of Session by Sen. Saah Joseph as Heads of Security Apparatus Appear for Probe over Recent Waves of Violence
MONROVIA – Hell broke loose Thursday in the chambers of the Liberian Senate when Senator Saah Joseph of Montserrado County came under extreme criticisms from some of his colleagues for handling Thursday’s session in a manner and form that was not pleasant and unorthodox to normal legislative practice.
Report by Henry Karmo, [email protected]
Heads of security apparatus in the country had been invited to answer questions pertaining to the recent waves of violence across the country and the slow response from the police and other law enforcement agencies to curb such violence from occurring.
Heads/Representatives of the Liberia National Police, Liberia Immigration Service, Ministry of Justice, National Security Agency were present.
The invitation is a result of a communication written by Senator Nyounblee Karnga Lawrence of Grand Bassa County, supported by an addendum communication by Senators Darius Dillon, Company Wesseh and Daniel Naatehn of Gbapolu, Montserrado and River-Gee Counties.
Sen. Joseph who presided over Thursday’s session abruptly adjourned session after a yea/nay vote a motion to allow relevant committees continue the hearing in committee room.
The issues of contention came about when Senator Joseph recognized a motion from Senator Henry Yallah of Bong County who moved that after two of the witnesses had spoken, the matter should be handled by the relevant committees and that the witnesses be discharged.
A yea, and nay vote endorsed Yallah’s motion, this upset the Senators causing Sen. Nyounblee to pour her cup of tea on Sen. Joseph’s head while express her disappointment.
Several Senators walked out of session in anger, with some openly expressing their disappointment.
In separate interviews Senators Abraham Darius Dillon, Oscar Cooper, Daniel Naathen, Armah Jallah, Conmany Wesseh, and Sando Johnson promised to lead a campaign to remove Senator Joseph as Presiding officer.
“Let the word go forth as of today, I will never sit under the gavel of Senator Joseph. In fact, we will lead a campaign to ensure that he is removed as chair on the executive. This is disappointing, this is really unfair to the many victims of the violence,” Senator Naathen said.
The process started with Minister Myanti Tuan, Assistant at the Justice Minister on behalf of Justice Minister Musa Dean he blamed the National Elections Commission, candidates and the Police for the wave of pre and post-election violence. According to him, before the process of the campaign started, they informed all candidates about providing them security but some of them declined.
The Inspector General of Police, Patrick Sudue told the Senate that the police have been investigating the various riots and acts of violence that have occurred in different places. He, however, said most of the investigations are yet to be concluded due to the non-cooperative posture of persons of interests.