Liberia: Sen. Conmany Wesseh Walks Out of Session over Lack of Quorum

Senator Conmany Wisseh of River Gee County

Monrovia – Senator Conmany Wesseh of River Gee County Tuesday, April 2, walked out of session in protest of “no quorum” to conduct normal business.

Rule seven of the Senate Standing Rules calls for half of the total membership of the Senate to be present to form a quorum for normal business.

On Tuesday, the first session following the impeachment of former Supreme Court Justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh after he was found guilty of misconduct for granting a stay order on the collection of road fund, the chamber of the Senate was almost empty due to the absences of most senators.

In protest, Senator Wesseh said, he could not be part of a session that violated the rules of the Senate.

“We saw the last time illegality led to a decision that impeached or removed from office an associate justice of the Supreme Court. Today, we do not even have a quorum and you are taking a decision contrary to our own Rule 7 that calls for half of the total membership of the Senate to have a quorum.

“Some of the issues on the agenda are constitutional issues; we cannot go ahead to debate them if we don’t have a quorum. This is a complete example of lawlessness. This is not good for our country. This must stop!

“The people of Liberian need to know we cannot continue with lawlessness. What is being done in there is in violation of our rules and the constitution. I am pleading with my colleagues to take into consideration to follow the law.”

The total number of senators present was eight of the current 29 members. Because of low turnout, senators including Sando Johnson of Bomi County, and Daniel Naatehn of Gbarpolu raised issue of quorum in keeping with the rules.

After few minutes of debate, Senator Dan Morias of Maryland County, who presided over the day’s session due to the absence of the Senate Pro-Tempore Albert Chie, asked the Sergeant-at-Arms to visit the offices of senators to inform them about session but even after that mandate was carried-out, the senators still failed to form quorum.

In his argument, Presiding Officer Morias claimed that bulk of the senators, who were absent, had sent in written excuses and in keeping with their rules, those kinds of excuses are not absenteeism so the session should have gone ahead.