Juggling Underway to Fill Void in Aftermath of Speaker’s Ouster


Monrovia – The search for ousted Speaker Tyler’s successor is mounting on Capitol Hill, with the Speaker’s election slated for Tuesday, October 4, 2016.

Report ny Henry Karmo, [email protected]

Options Ranging from Acting Speaker Hans Barchue to Margibi County Representative Emmanuel Nuquay, with some murmurs speculating a possible First Female for the Coveted, Influential Post

Thus far, four names stand up: Josephine Francis of Montserrado County, Julie Wiah of Lofa County and Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue of Grand Bassa County.

FrontPageAfrica takes a look at who the would-be candidate fare in this race to control a budget of US$1.5 million as well as being the third most powerful politician in the country to the President and the Vice President. 


UPSIDE: As a freshmen lawmaker, the Grand Bassa lawmaker has the opportunity to be elected by his colleagues as Deputy Speaker to Alex Tyler. Barchue’s position as deputy presiding officer could play in his favor for the position of Speaker.

Deputy Speaker more than four years of experience, Barchue has built himself around his colleagues. He led the campaign with several others to have Alex Tyler ousted, using his indictment over the Sable Mining. 

Barchue has been able to convince majority of the Bassa lawmakers to support his candidacy for the speakership and able to solicit a good number of votes from the southeast. Many Bassa lawmakers believe electing one of their own as Speaker would bring back the glory they lost during the 2011 elections when Pro-Tempore Gbezohngar Findley when Jonathan Kaipay was elected.

DOWNSIDE: Barchue’s critics say he has not been able to show that he is able to control the floor of Plenary during session. Some of his critics point to a noisy chamber whenever he presided in the absence of Speaker Tyler. Some of his peers say he lacks the controlling authority and does not commandeer the kind of influence as Nuquay but he is a frequent participant during debates in session.

Also, Barchue’s lead role in Tyler’s ouster is being viewed as a coup d’état by 49 lawmakers, and he is seen as dictatorial in the views of many of his colleagues.  

ODDS: Deputy Speaker Barchue is the Deputy Speaker has a 50 percent chance of winning the election on Tuesday, but some say, it depends on the matrix of the stakes he has in the elections that will determine his outcome. 

His anti-Tyler bloc has 49 members but it is clear that he will not win all of the 49. Even if he wins majority of the 49 he will need the some of the 24 votes from the pro-Tyler bloc, which he is least likely to get.

Those who support the Speaker think he stabbed the Speaker in the back by leading the campaign to oust him. Things would have been fine with him had Nuquay not been in the race.  For Barchue’s critics, the only way he could win is when he gets nearly all of the 49 votes from the anti-Tyler bloc, which would mean victory for him even if the entire pro-Tyler bloc voted for someone else.


UPSIDE: The Margibi lawmaker goes into the election with an advantage on the back of a two-term representation of the people of District #5 Margibi County on the ticket of the Unity Party. 

He served for more than ten years as Chairman on the Ways, Means and Finance Committee, a very important committee in the House of Representatives, conducting budget hearings and sanctioning allotments. He has great deal of experience in legislative politics.

Nuquay has accumulated some level of wealth for himself that could play a major role in his campaign. He has been able to build himself a bloc amongst lawmakers from Bong, Margibi, Nimba and Montserrado Counties.

He currently has supporting him majority of the Congress for democratic Change (CDC) lawmakers who are in majority in the House of representatives,  including Representative Thomas Fallah, the  CDC Caucus Chairman,  another long-serving lawmaker. He commandeers huge influence from some influential lawmakers, including Edwin Snowe who has served as Speaker and Chairman on rules order and administration.

DOWNSIDE:  Nuquay is a conservative and always discreet in his activities. He has never had the experience of presiding over session before and has no history of public inside or outside of session. He considered a mean lawmaker.

Moreover, sources have said Nuquay is being supported in the election by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as well as some of the pro-Tyler bloc who see him as a regime collaborator having spent more than 10 years at the House with Tyler as a confidant.

With the 24-member pro-Tyler bloc prefers him to Deputy Speaker Barchue, he may just win based on additional votes he will gather from the 49-member anti-Tyler bloc. The number actually suites him: he could get majority votes from both sides of the divide.

ODDS: If elected, Nuquay is expected to be the quietest Speaker in the contemporary history of the Legislature. Some legislative observers say he is expected to be quiet on issues during the House’s session; he has taken the heat for shunning journalists on national and international issues.

His supporters however dismiss the claim. While his voice is rarely unheard, he proved to be effective in the ouster of Representative Alex Tyler as Speaker.  A quiet but effective lobbyist, he is an undisputed mover and shaker. He epitomizes a workaholic introvert.


UPSIDE: Francis was elected during the 2011 presidential and general elections Montserrado County District#1. She has been a very quiet lawmaker. She has written some communications at the level of the House of Representatives that have one way or the other impacted her district and nation at large.

She is one of the brains behind the Affirmative Act to give women, disable and youth additional 21 seats in the House of Representatives, even though that bill is yet to sail successfully out of the Capitol to the President for signature.

She was recently appointed Chairman on Executive, coordinating activities between the Executive and the Legislature, especially as it relates bills and resolutions. She has a close tie to the Presidency.

Also good to mention, she is an ideal agriculturalist, who has not only invested in crops but also husbandry, with her effort to rear grass-cutters. She deserves an actual agriculture break in addition to visiting her constituents.

DOWNSIDE: Francis is one lawmaker who legislative observers say, has not succeeded in understanding legislative politics. Some see her as conservative lawmaker who was one of the lead campaigners behind the removal of Speaker Tyler. Francis first only leadership position is the position of chairman on Executive, which came as a result of leadership change she yearned for.

ODDS: In comparison to Nuquay, Francis is more regular with the press. But she faces perhaps the most difficult task in the Speaker’s election. She will most likely win all seven women’s votes, but it could be no surprise if she jumps out of the race before Tuesday.


UPSIDE: Julie Wiah is newest lawmaker in the House of Representatives; having been elected in a by-election as a result of the death of former District #2 Lofa County lawmaker Sarh Fofi Bemba. She won as an independent candidate, defeating a candidate supported by Vice President Joseph Boakai in Lofa County, a stronghold of the Vice President.

DOWNSIDE: She considered by her colleagues as a freshmen lawmaker. She has no history of crafting a bill or presiding over plenary and has not held any leadership position in the House of Representatives. She supported Tyler in the earlier stages of the Speaker leadership crisis but later defected to support to the anti-Tyler bloc, where she remained until Tyler was finally ousted.

ODDS: Winning the by-election in Lofa County is Wiah’s only strength against a mountain of weaknesses. To have won that seat means she has political influence over her people, and this could play well for her if the Speaker’s election was being held in Lofa, especially in her district.

But that is not the case. Her only hope is that she emerges as a beneficiary of a protest vote over the ghost of Tyler’s ouster.