Liberia: Senate Notifies NEC of Vacancy to Replace Geraldine Doe Sheriff

The Senate has notified authorities at the National Elections Commission (NEC) of a vacancy created as a result of the death of Senator Geraldine Doe Sheriff.

Sheriff was a Senator for Montserrado County, who died at a hospital in Ghana following a period of illness. She has since been buried.

The notification signed by the Senate's secretary, J. Nanborlor F. Singbeh, informed the NEC that the communication, dated April 8, 2019 is in submission to Chapter 5, Article 37 of the 1986 Constitution.

Article 37 says, in the event of a vacancy in the Legislature caused by death, resignation, expulsion or otherwise, the Presiding Officer shall within 30 days notify the elections commission thereof, and the Commission shall not later than 90 days thereafter, cause a by-election to be held, provided that such vacancy occurs within 90 days prior to the holding of general election.

Meanwhile, NEC Chairman Cllr. Jerome Korkoya has appointed Commissioner Jonathan K. Weedor to serve as chairperson of the steering committee for the senatorial and pending representative by-elections in Montserrado County.

The House of Representatives, too, has lost one of its members, Representative Adolph Lawrence, who recently died in a tragic car accident along the Monrovia-Roberts field highway.

The late Lawrence was on his way from the celebration of his 50th birthday in Buchanan at the home of his wife, Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, when he lost his life.

The NEC is yet to receive a notification from the House of Representatives of a vacancy within the House pending the burial of Rep. Lawrence's remains on April 25.

In his letter of appointment to Commissioner Weedor, Chairman Korkoya, on behalf of the NEC Board of Commissioners, said Weedor is authorized to appoint his own deputy and additional members to the Steering Committee appropriately.

"Commissioner Weedor, as part of your mandate, you should develop the appropriate legal framework, formulate a realistic budget, and develop a timeline and key dates, setup relevant task forces to ensure the successful conduct of the Montserrado County Senatorial by-election, as well as the Representative by-election should a notification be received from that august body as provided for by the Constitution," Kokoya said.

The two by-elections will the second set of Senatorial and Representative polls since the coming into office of the George Weah administration in barely two years.

The first set of by-elections were held on July 31, 2018, and former Cuttington University President, Dr. Henrique Tokpa and former Montserrado Electoral District #13 were voted to the Senate to replace former Senators George Weah (now President) of the then Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) and Jewel Howard Taylor of the former ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP).

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