President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Yet to Recognize New Speaker Nuquay


Monrovia – It is not yet clear why President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has not officially recognized or acknowledged Representative Emmanuel Nuquay of Marbigi County as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Report by Henry Karmo – [email protected]

 “Making hasty comments might not be a good political move on her part,” Saryee told FrontPage Africa.

She’s probably reviewing those issues and the attending implications of these issues and urging herself or advisors urging her to be cautious to respond to these issues” Dan Saryee, Seniro Policy Advisor at the Institute of Research and Development

Since the election of Nuquay as the Speaker, to replace Representative Alex Tyler Wednesday, the Executive Mansion is yet to issue public acknowledgement of his election.

Nuquay’s controversial election as Speaker sparked serious constitutional concern by legal luminaries and some members over the manner and fashion through which power changed hands, forcing the Supreme Court to place stay order on the process after two writs were filed by two members of that body.

Some observers say that because of the legal ramifications over the saga, the President is very careful about her comments and responses to the new Speaker.

Representative Edwin a strong support of the Speaker has said Speaker Nuquay met the President Wednesday minutes after his election.

“The President left for the World Bank Springs Meeting on Wednesday evening notwithstanding, Speaker Nuquay stopped to see the President at the residence before she left for the airport,” Representative Snowe.

Representatives Adolph Lawrence of District #15 Montserrado County and former Speaker Tyler filed separate writs praying for prohibition on the process, which were granted, but the Justice Sie-A-Nyene G. Youh ruled that the election continued. Representatives Tyler and Lawrence were left frustrated.

Prior to the day for the conference, Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue then presiding officer in the absence of Tyler, announced the closure of session until January but his ruling was rejected by 33 other members of the House who insisted that they wanted election for a new speaker.

They saw Barchue’s decision as a delay tactics to drag election to January and because of that they mandated the chairman on Executive Representative Josephine Francis to preside to conduct session and subsequently election.

Barchue at the dismay of many witnessing the session said he was not aware of the agenda for Tuesday session. Rule 25.11 states that the Chief Clerk under the supervision of the Speaker prepare and distribute the agenda at the beginning of every session.

The Deputy Speaker argument was that as per the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia no house of the Legislature shall adjourn for more than five days without the consent of other. 

Since Tyler’s recusal some members of the House called for the election of a new Speaker but Barchue and others argued about constitutionality, referencing Article 48 of the Liberian Constitution.

Barchue and his supporters have argued that 48 calls for the House of Representatives to comprise of members elected for a term of six years by registered voters in each of the legislative constituencies of the counties.

Also, Article 49 of the Constitution also calls for the House of Representatives to elect once every six years a   Speaker who shall be the presiding officer of the body, a Deputy Speaker, and such other officers as shall ensure the proper functioning of the house.

In the same article, the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and other elected officers may be removed from office for a cause by resolution of two thirds majority of the members of the house.

The Executive Mansion in August recalled a letter addressed to the majority bloc of the House of Representatives that was being perceived as an endorsement of Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue. The Mansion said it was due to typographical error.

“I wish to bring to the attention of your Honorable body that programs under our Agenda for Transformation, including several long standing draft legislations critical to our development have been stalled by the activities of the Legislature over the last few weeks.

This has also led to little progress on the 2016/2017 Annual Budget,” the President had said in the wrong letter.

The communication further stated “It is my sincere hope that a constitutionally organized majority will properly and swiftly attend to these matters. The executive stands to cooperate,” she had said.

However, it said “Notwithstanding, due to clerical error involving the addressee, Reference No., and one typo – the communication was recalled.” 

Dan Saryee, Senior Policy Advisor at the Institute of Research and Development told FrontPage Africa that the President’s silence could be as a result of a lack of confidence in the election that brought Representative Nuquay as the new Speaker.

He said the President might just want to be cautious over the matter.

“Making hasty comments might not be a good political move on her part,” Saryee told FrontPage Africa. She’s probably reviewing those issues and the attending implications of these issues and urging herself or advisors urging her to be cautious to respond to these issues.

“The position of the Supreme Court in the overall process, particularly where Rep. Edwin Snowe has been a lead participant in the process of recusal, which subsequently led to the removal Alex Tyler.

His wife became the presiding Judge in the Supreme and subsequently took a decision to affirm – to some extent brings our democracy—not only our democracy—but the independence of the integrity of the Supreme Court to question.

“As far as I see, our democracy is being brutalized. The injuries… are being self-inflicted by those who managed the democratic violence,” Saryee said.