-Sen. Sherman Submits Bill to Restrict Lawmakers
By Jackson C. Clay, Jr.
Grand Cape Mounty County Senator, Varney Sherman has submitted a Bill to the plenary of the Liberian Senate to place some level of restrictions on lawmakers from contesting other national elections while still serving as lawmakers.
The Bill was submitted during Thursday’s regular session in the plenary of the Liberian Senate.
According to Senator Sherman, the Bill when passed into law would help minimize the too many by-elections in the country and help save government some revenues that are used for conducting continuous by-elections.
The Bill which is title “Eligibility of Sitting Senator or Representative for Election to Vacancy within the Senate or the House of Representatives,” when passed would also, according to Senator Sherman deter people from creating unnecessary by-elections in the country.
The Grand Cape Mount County Senator Bill is coming in the wake of the delay senatorial by-elections to be held both in Montserrado and Bong Counties which was occasioned by the current President and Vice President, George Weah and Jewel Howard Taylor respectively.
The by-election was delayed due to lack of fund according to the National Elections Commission (NEC). According to the Bill, a sitting member of the House of Representative or the Liberian Senate who is serving his/her first term shall not be eligible to canvass for a seat in the House of Representatives or the Liberian Senate before he/she has completed that first term of office foe which he/she was first elected.
“A sitting member of the House of Representatives or the Liberian Senate who is serving his/her second or subsequent term, shall be eligible to canvass for a vacancy in the Liberian Senate or House of Representatives only after he/she has completed at least half of the term of office for which he/she was serving at the time of the vacancy occurred in the House of Representatives or the Liberian Senate,” the Bill clarifies.
Nevertheless, there could still be other by-elections following these senatorial by-elections because two seated Representatives, Rep. Saah Joseph of Montserrado county district #13 and Marvin Cole of Bong County district #3 are again contesting, something which this new Bill seeks to restrict.
In a related development, The President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Senator Albert Chie erred during the Thursday, May 31, 2018 regular session in the plenary of the Senate.
This occurred when Pro-Temp Chie who is the presiding officer of the Liberian Senate ruled in favor of Margibi County Senator, Oscar Cooper on an order made by him (Sen. Cooper) without any reliance from the senate own standing rules.
It all started when the Secretary of the Liberian Senate was reading a communication from Grand Cape Mount County Senator, Cllr. Varney Sherman placing some level of restriction on lawmakers from contesting another elected national position while still serving as lawmaker, Representative of Senator.
According to Senator Cooper ordered the secretary to stop reading the communication of the Grand Cape Mount Senator on grounds that it is the right of every Liberian to contest any position at any time, thereby denying Senator Sherman from expressing his opinion in the plenary of the Liberian Senate.
This ruling by Pro-Temp Chie sparks heated debate among Senators which lasted for about five minutes, at which time Pro-Temp Chie then caught himself, but could not revert his ruling and noted that the matter would be handled by the leadership of the Liberian Senate.
As per their rules, the best way to have done such thing could have been through a vote by senators to either send said communication into committee’s room or being thrown into the dust bin if there is no magnitude in the communication.