3 January 2018

Liberia: 'Old' Lawmakers Want Speaker Post

With less than 13 days remaining before the House of Representatives of the 54th Legislature convenes, the contest for the posts of Speaker and Deputy Speaker intensifies between the 31 incumbents and the 42 newly elected Representatives.

A former member of the leadership in the 53rd Legislature and also an incumbent Nimba County District #5 Representative, said that there is consultation for both Speaker posts to fall on the laps of the reelected lawmakers.

Rep. Samuel Kogar, on Tuesday, January 2, told newsmen in his Capitol Building office that the consultations include the consideration of incumbents to occupy the top post, as well as (maybe) the Deputy Speaker, "because in politics, incumbency always provides crucial boosts."

The Nimba lawmaker said a newly elected lawmaker might probably be considered if he or she has the necessary and requisite experience. Kogar, however, did not mention the position.

Prior to the Rep. Kogar's press conference, the Daily Observer had gathered that seven incumbents, including Representatives Prince Moye, Byron Zahnwea and Franklin Nyumalin were seen holding secret meetings in his office.

"Experience is a good teacher, and in order to have an institutional knowledge, one must have served that body," Kogar said.

The lawmaker's wish is that the consultations would be successful for the good of the Legislature, the first branch of government.

It can be recalled that in 2014, similar campaign between the 'old' and 'new' lawmakers was seriously overwrought; but at last, an 'old' Senator, Armah Z. Jallah of Gbarpolu County, won the President Pro Tempore post.

Unconfirmed reports said there is passionate lobbying ongoing for the two top posts to be filled by a member of the Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC) and the Unity Party.

This means, CDC Representatives Dr. Bhofal Chambers and Thomas Fallah are in for a fight, while UP lawmakers Prince Moye and Clarence Massaquoi might go for the challenge to settle for the deputy Speaker post.

Fonati Koffa of the Liberty Party (LP) and the Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue are still claiming to be formidable forces. Both men are also collaborating with the CDC and the UP.

Also, Lawrence Morris and Johnson Gwaikolo, both 'new' Representatives-elect, are also determined to occupy the top seat.

Meanwhile, Rep. Kogar has formally congratulated President-elect George M. Weah and Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor, Vice President-elect.

"I write on behalf of the people of electoral district #5 in Nimba County and in my own name, to extend our congratulations to you (President-elect George M. Weah) and your Vice President, Madam Jewel Howard Taylor... ," he said.

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