House Reshuffle: Deputy Speaker Appoints New Committee Chairs


Monrovia – Mr. Hans Barchue, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives has appointed new committee chairs and co-chairs for several statutory committees including the Committees on Judiciary, Ways, Means and Finance, the Public Account Committee, and State Enterprises.

Report by Kennedy L.Yangian – [email protected]

Those appointed include: Byron Brown, who maintains his current position as chair on Rules, Order Administration; Representative Bill Twehway co-chair to Byron Brown, replacing Representative Mariamu Fofanan; and Worlea Sawah Dunah, chairman on Judiciary, replacing Representative Garyah Karmo.

Others include: Representative Prince Moye, chairman on Ways, Means and Finance, replacing Moses Kollie; Jeremiah koung co-chair on Ways, Means and Finance, replacing Representative Sekou Kanneh; Representative Thomas Fallah, Chairman on Public Account, replacing Ben Fofanan; Edward Karfiah co-chair and Garrison Yealue chairman on state enterprises. 

Rule 7.5 gives the Speaker of the House of Representatives the power to appoint chairpersons, co-chairpersons and members of standing committees in consultation with the House’s leadership. Rule 8.1 empowers the Deputy Speaker to preside over the sitting of the august body and shall exercise all rights and powers assigned to the Speaker.

In the same standing rules, the Deputy Speaker shall assist the Speaker in the discharge of his/her functions, and he/she shall perform such duties as the Speaker shall delegate or deem appropriate and shall also initial any financial and other transaction prior to the approval of the Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker is currently presiding over plenary of the House of Representatives as a result of the decision by Speaker Alex Tyler to recuse himself from presiding over session in relation to his indictment in the Sable bribery scandal.

On Friday September 8, 2016 a writ of summons was served Deputy Speaker Barchue by Yussif Kaba, Resident Sixth Judicial Circuit Judge, mandated the clerk of the court to summon the Grand Bassa County lawmaker to appear before the Civil Law Court. The writ was a result of a petition filed by Representative Moses Kollie requesting a declaratory judgment.

“You are further commended to notify said, defendant(s)/Respondent(s) to file his/her/their formal appearance and /or answer in my office on/or before the 19th day of September, A.D 2016,” the writ stated.

In his petition, Rep Kollie, among many things, stated that under Rule 54 of the House’s rules, all committee chairpersons and members shall serve for three years; but only the chairperson and co-chairpersons and members are subject to removal by two thirds majority vote of the membership of the House for cause.

He also complaint of committee members being replace of the statutory committee members, whereas he served for only one year. 

In a petition for declaratory Judgment the Rep Kollie’s lawyer prayed the court to request the both parties (he and the Deputy Speaker) to personally appear before the court. A conference between Deputy Speaker Barchue and Rep Kollie is scheduled for Monday.

Announcing what many saw as the ultimate decision, recusing himself as presiding officer of the House of Representatives, Speaker Tyler disclosed that the pressure by his colleagues was more than just an indictment, saying President Sirleaf had told many stakeholders, including members of the Bomi County Legislative Caucus that she could no longer do business with him.

Speaker Tyler said the President was accusing him of undermining the country’s development agenda by refusing to pass certain legislations such as financing agreements, an allegation the presidency has since distanced itself from.