Supreme Court Adjourns Showdown For Tyler’s Replacement


Monrovia – The Supreme Court of Liberia has placed a hold on the conduct of the much anticipated election for a new Speaker of the House of Representatives just less than 24 hours to the polls on Tuesday.

Report by Henry Karmo – [email protected]

“By directive of Her Honor, Sie-A-Nyene G. Youh, Associate Justice presiding in the Chambers, you are hereby cited to a conference with Her Honor on Wednesday, October 5, 2016, at the hour of 12:00 noon, in connection with the above captioned case” – One of the two writs placing a stay order on the Speaker election.

The stay order was placed as a result of a petition filed by Representative Adolphus Lawrence and the ousted Speaker, Alex Tyler. The high court has scheduled two separate conferences over the matter for Wednesday with two hours between the two conferences.

“Meanwhile, a stay order is placed on the elections pending the outcome of the scheduled conference,” one of the writs of adjournment states.

“By directive of her honor, Sie-A-Nyene G. Youh, Associate Justice presiding in the Chambers, you are hereby cited to a conference with her honor on Wednesday, October 5, 2016, at the hour of 12:00 noon, in connection with the above captioned case,” the writ stated

As the debate for the speaker election became tense and with new names continued to emerge as candidates to contest for the position even at the eleventh hour of the election on Monday.

Representatives Larry Nyonquoi of Nimba and Wesseh Blamoh of Grand Kru had both thrown their hats in the race after it was reported that female lawmakers Josephine Francis of Montserrado County and Julie Wiah of Lofa County were to be candidates prior to the stay order.

The emergence of Nyonquoi and Wesseh meant that four representatives would vie for the third most powerful position in the Liberian government. 

The number could have been more or less, as up to press time, the dust had not settled on the official contestants in today’s election.   

Deputy Speaker Barchue had announced Friday that nomination of candidates would be Monday during a special session with election scheduled for Tuesday but the House of Representatives failed to hold session as promised.

Representative Wesseh Blamoh is another long serving Representatives who came from the 52nd to the 53rd and has served as chairman on executive for more than 10 years. Blamo, in 2014 resigned from the ruling Unity party.

Blamo is a strong ally to the dethroned Speaker Tyler and stayed with him as a major supporter during the leadership crisis in the House of Representatives.

For his part, Nyonquoi was elected in 2011 and has proven to have learned over the years as a freshman lawmaker from 2011.

He has served as Chairman on Good Governance, a position he currently holds. Before coming to the Legislature, he worked as a ranking staff at the defunct Ministry of Planning.

Despite doubts about the number of contestants, it remains clear that Representative Nuquay is the favorite to become Speaker. Nuquay has emerged as the man who many say is in the lead to replace Tyler.

According to Representative Thomas Fallah, Nuquay’s campaign chairman, up to late Monday evening, 40 members had signed a resolution pledging their support.

The resolution, a copy in the possession of FrontPage Africa, states that the 40 members who signed were convinced and are of the firm conviction that there was only one amongst them who had won the support of the majority and earned their respect.

Stated the resolution: “We hereby affix our signatures to this document as a proof of our commitment to electing as the first amongst equals at the House of representative, the Honorable J. Emmanuel Nuquay for the post of Speaker of the 53rd National Legislature of Liberia.”

Representative Fallah in an interview with FPA said, reconciliation amongst members of the House of Representatives will be keen in the administration of Nuquay.

Fallah said, holding to the fact that members of the House of Representatives have been in a leadership crisis recently which has created bad blood among them, reconciliation will be the best option to reconcile members of the legislature.

“For the fact that we have this beef whether you believe it or not we are divided as a result of our power struggle,” the Montserrado County Lawmaker said. “I will think that the first and foremost priority for the next speaker, my own candidate, will be reconciliation.”

Fallah continued: “Holding to the fact that over the past months we have operated on a factional basis where bloc were formed even though these things happen in legislative politics the next leadership or speaker that will be elected must be able to reconcile people in order to foster the agenda of our government.

If you do not have that unity amongst colleagues definitely you might stall the progress of the Nation.”

He described the contesting Nuquay as a team player who cut s across the three branches of government with deep understating in governance. “He brings a lot of responsibility and experience to the Job of speakership. He can bridge the gap,” Fallah said.

Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue is the Deputy Speaker has a 50 percent chance of winning the election on Tuesday, and 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.

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.