-Liberians Describe Representatives Vying For Senatorial Post
By Mark N. Mengonfia: email@example.com
December 8, 2020 has been set aside by the National Elections Commission (NEC) to conduct the midterm Senatorial elections.
The process according to the Liberian Government was delayed due to the lack of funding and the presence of the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic.
Now that the process has been scheduled for December 8, 2020, the political climate in Liberia has become interesting with Liberians trooping, gearing up to take control of 15 seats in the Senate.
The process is unique in that someone serving in one position at the Liberian Legislature will remain in his or her seat and seek for higher position.
This is the case with many current Representatives who were given a-six-year mandate by their people to serve them at the House of Representatives.
Current Representativesvying for the senatorial seats are Deputy Speaker, Prince K. Moye(Bong District number Two), Alfred Koiwood (Gbarpolu, district number one), MariamaFofana (Lofa , district number four), Vincent Willie (G/Bassa, district number four), George Samah (Mont. District number 12), Thomas Fallah (Mont. District number five), MambuSonii (G/Cape Mount distridt number two), Edwin Melvin Snowe (Bomi, district number one), Zoe Emmanuel Pennue (G/Gedeh, district number one)Juli F. Wiah, Emerson V. Kamara, CrytonOldmanDuncan of Sinoe, Francis S. Young of Grand Kru, Isaac Roland, Ivar K. Jones (Margibi), Jeremiah KpanKoung (Nimba district number one), Ben Fofana, Nathaniel Barwaysamong others.
Currently, the country is preparing for two by-elections for the House of Representatives in Sinoe electoral district two and Montserrado County electoral district nine following the deaths of Representatives Jay NagbeSloh and Munah Pelham-Youngblood respectively.
According to political pundits, the number of by-elections will even increase if current Representatives who are vying for the senatorial seats in their various counties are successful.
What Liberians Say?
Although the law of the country doesn’t prevent current lawmakers from contesting for any senatorial seat in the country, however, some Liberians have repeatedly detested their decisions saying doing such in a county ‘economically crippled’ are ‘unpatriotic and they are wasteful’. And it’s waste of resources.
Aggrieved Liberians have called on them to relinquish their current position as Representatives if they have confidence in winning the senatorial seat in their respective counties.
However, Liberians who have been following the political movements in Liberia have expressed serious concern and dismay in the deportment of those Representatives, saying ‘they are greedy and ungrateful”.
Some Liberians who called on various talk shows this week, considered the Representatives as being ‘ungrateful and greedy’ to have left their current positions and want to take on another.
Sam Kollie said, “Are they the only people that God should bless? So, no other person in their districts, villages and towns to become senators besides those who are already working? We will campaign against them to ensure that they do not win.”
For his part, James Kokolo said, “We asked them to represent us and the six years have not even gone into half and they want to abandon us. They need to be voted against in December.”
A member of the House of Representatives, J. FonatiKoffa in a press conference recently openly dispelled the thinking of many that he was contesting for senatorial seat.
He informed Liberians that he was not contesting as was expected adding; “My people gave me six years to represent them as their lawmaker at the House of Representatives.”
Representatives Thomas P. Fallah& Jeremiah KpanKoung:
Currently, the 2020/2021 National Budget is before members of that body and the public hearing is moving at the snail-pacedue to the engagements of both chair and co-chair persons of the Ways, Means and Finance [Representatives Thomas P. Fallah& Jeremiah KpanKoung] who are seriously engage with their campaign activities in both Montserrado and Nimba Counties respectively.
The expenditure component of the budget hearing has been postponed three times without explanation to the media what has cause the delay.
The 1986 Liberian Constitution provides that members of legislature take an annual break on August 31, each year and return the third working Monday in January each year.
Nevertheless, the Liberian Legislature has extended its regular session for additional one month as of September 1, 2020.
According to a communication from the Liberian Senate concurred with by the Lower House, the extension is gear toward finishing other businesses on the docket of that august body.
No Money Syndrome:
After taking over as President of Liberia, George Weah told the Liberian people and the international community that the governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) was taking over a broke economy.
The Liberian leader and his financial experts have repeatedly said they are challenged because the country doesn’t have the resources to undertake most of the development projects, but continue to lobby with her international community for funding.
Since his ascendancy, the National Elections Commission (NEC), the electoral body in the country continues to face series of problems in conducting by-elections. Most often budgets submitted by the electoral body are delayed, hugely reduced which has caused series of preparation problems for the body.
With the numbers of Representatives vying for the senatorial elections on December 8, 2020, pundits saysLiberians should be prepared for more by-elections after December 8, 2020 in the various counties.
Current Representatives’ Views: The Contestants:
Those current Representatives have defended their decisions to contest saying even if they contest or not, Liberia will still spend monies to conduct elections. According to them, if they are not successful in the impending elections, they will return to their respective districts and lead their people.
They also defended by saying if they resign as requested by aggrieved Liberians, there will be by-elections as well. Based on these, they said their decision is patriotic and not wasteful.
President Weah Endorsement of Representatives for Senatorial Seat:
Although president George Weah has repeatedly complained of ‘no money’, but the Liberian leader and his governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) have endorsed sitting Representatives seeking for senatorial election in December 2020.
He earlier caused by-elections in Sinoe County when he appointed then Senator Joseph Nagbe to serve on Supreme Court’s bench as one of the Associate Justices.
For the senatorial elations, the CDC has endorsed Representatives Ivar Jones, Alfred Koiwood, Jeremiah, and Thomas P. Fallah.