Liberia: 'Many Constitutional Issues Require Statutes or Regulations'

-- Pro Tempore Chie highlights six

The President Pro Tempore of the Senate has highlighted many issues in the Constitution, which he asserts require statutes or regulations/rules, in some instances, for clarification and simplicity.

The Grand Kru County Senator, addressing his colleagues during the opening ceremony of the 3rd Session of the 54th Legislature on Monday, January 13, named some of the issues, such as the freedom of peaceful assembly as it relates to rights to demonstrate, protest, petition the government... and concomitant freedom of movement of other citizens.

Also, the Pro-temp noted that the elections and tenures of the Speaker of the House of Representatives and President Pro Tempore of the Senate and other officers require statutes or regulations; printing of currency which he intimated has become very political; the code of conduct; tenure in the Executive Branch of government; and the right of the Legislature to adjust key dates indicated in the Constitution, among others.

During the 3rd Session, the Pro-temp assured the completion of some very important instruments, such as the letter from President George Weah seeking the advice of the Senate on the implementation of the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which he said the leadership of the Senate has been working on over their months of recess. According to him, the completion of the review of the Standing Rules of the Liberian Senate is also expected to be completed.

Senator Chie has meanwhile challenged his colleagues to exercise their oversight responsibilities over the other two branches of the government meticulously and diligently.

"It is not enough to complain on the Senate floor or over the radio or metamorphose the plenary into a working committee; frustration sometimes drives me to turn plenary into committee of the whole. I ask you to monitor the agencies and institutions, have public hearings in committee rooms and write reports with recommendations to plenary," the Pro-temp said.

With respect to the October 2020 Special Senatorial Elections, our reporter has observed that the seats of five of nine members of the Statutory Committees, who head the Leadership of the Senate, are being contested.

The Statutory Committees include Foreign Relations, chaired by Maryland County Senator H. Dan Morais; Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, chair on Rules, Order & Administration; Senator Thomas G. Grupee of Nimba County, chairman of the committee on Defense, Intelligence, Security & Veteran Affairs. The Nimba Senator was absent from the sittings of the 2nd Session for most parts last year, due to reported ill health.

Also up for grabs are seats of the Statutory Committees on Gender, Health, and Social Welfare, chaired by Grand Kru County Senator, Dr Peter Sonpon Coleman; and Gbarpolu County Senator and Pro Tempore emeritus, Armah Zolu Jallah, who chairs the committee on Public Works & Rural Development.

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