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Senate Shields President Weah?

By Jackson C. Clay, Jr.

It seems that the President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Albert Chie is gradually becoming if not already the able lieutenant of President George Manneh Weah within the Legislature, particularly the Liberian Senate.    

Our reporter who covers the Plenary of the Liberian Senate  said that he has observed very keenly the manner and form Pro-Temp Chie handles everything that comes from the President at the disadvantage of the plenary of the Senate in the President’s favor.

This was made visible during the Senate’s Tuesday, January 22, 2019 Session when a communication sent to that august body by the President concerning the appointment of Liberia’s ambassador to the United States, George Patten without confirmation of the Liberian Senate.

Article 54 of the Liberian Constitution, the President shall nominate, with the consent of the Senate appoint and commission but this was never done in the case of the Liberian Ambassador to the U.S.

Following the reading of the President’s communication, acknowledging the plenary of the Senate about the appointment of the Liberian Ambassador to the U.S. several senators expressed serious dissatisfaction and requested that the communication be sent back to the President.

Upon the reading of this communication from the Liberian leader, a motion was proffered by Grand Bassa County Senator, Jonathan Kaipay that the communication be sent to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, a motion which sparked heated debate that lasted for almost thirty minutes.

But their thoughts on the President’s communication were vehemently ignored by Pro-Temp Chie, thereby sending the communication to the Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations.

Senators J. Gbleh Bo-Brown, Daniel Naatehn, Thomas Grupee, Sando Johnson, Nyonblee Lawrence and many others are those Senators who insisted that the communication be returned to the President.

While Senators Milton Teahjay, Jonathan Kaipay, Henrique Tokpa and Senate Pro-Temp are some of those Senators who think the President’s communication is in the right direction.

According to rule 35 section two of the Senate’s own standing Rules which state among other things “In the event of ‘yeas’ and ‘nays’, if the Presiding Officer is unable to decide by the sound of the voices, or if his or her announcement may thereupon be doubted by a Senator, the Presiding Officer shall conduct a roll call vote.”

But this portion of the rules was ignored by Pro-Temp Chie, thereby playing death ears to the doubt of his colleagues and granting the motion, even though majority of the Senators were not in favor of the motion.

Upon completion of the Senate’s session, Gbarpolu County Senator, Daniel Naatehn told Legislative reporters that he fears that the country is threading on a very dangerous path, terming the Liberian leader’s communication to that body as a mockery to the constitution of Liberia.

“We are very much aware that the constitution requires the President to nominate and with the constant of the Senate and not to appoint without the consent of the Senate commission a nominee. So when the President chooses to appoint instead of nominate with the advice of the Senate, it becomes a direct violation of the Constitution of Liberia,” Senator Naatehn said.

Meanwhile, Senator Naatehn said that he holds the view that the Liberian Senate proceeded very wrongly and in complete violation of the constitution of the country and wants the Senate to recognize said action.

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