Credible sources close to the Capitol Building and the Executive Mansion have disclosed the alleged interference of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the election of the President Pro-Tempore of the Senate.
The Liberian Senate is poised to elect a Pro-Temp to complete the unexpired tenure of Grand Bassa County Senator Gbehzohngar M. Findley, who lost last December 20 Special Senatorial Election. The new Pro-Temp will end former Senator Findley’s mandate of only three more years and then the Senate will head again for fresh elections for a new Pro Temp.
According to our sources, President Sirleaf has dished out an initial US$50,000 in order to have a say in who is elected to the post.
It was revealed that the amount was released to an influential and outgoing senator in order to rally support for the candidacy of Senator Joseph Nagbe of Sinoe County.
Senator Nagbe, who comes from the Alliance for Peace and Democracy (APD), an opposing political party to the President’s Unity Party, announced his intension to contest for the position, a pronouncement that has generated huge support from the Presidency, sources said.
“As she did in the case of the [immediate] former Pro-Temp’s election which enabled her to ‘remote control’ the Senate,” observed our sources, “Madam Sirleaf is now treading a path in which she’s using money, the clergy, cabinet ministers from a particular region, to influence individual senator’s votes to elect Nagbe as Pro-Temp.”
Our sources further stated that the President has allegedly instructed a few influential outgoing senators from the Southeastern region, among others, to rally the required votes to ensure that Nagbe is elected before their retirement from the Senate.
“The thing is clear by the physical appearances of these influential senators on the grounds of the Capitol Building every day. Even though they are now out of the Legislature, they keep visiting the Capitol Building regularly and holding meetings with their remaining colleagues,” our sources reported.
The intent is to have a Senate that she can either work with or control relative to legislative governance as was done in the case of Findley.
When contacted, Presidential Press Secretary Jerolinmek M. Piah responded: “Rubish and nonsense,” meaning that the whole allegation has no iota of truth.
Meanwhile, over 18 senators, both old and new, yesterday gathered for a feast on Cooper’s Farm, on the outskirts of Kakata City, Margibi County.
The purpose was to form acquaintances as the Legislature is set to return on Monday, January 12, 2015 as required by the 1986 Liberian Constitution.
A cow was slaughtered for the meal by the host, Senator Oscar Cooper, who used the occasion to officially announce to his colleagues his intention to vie for the Pro-Temp post.
According to Sen. Cooper, his Unity Party has endorsed him for the top seat and all he needed was the blessing of his colleagues and his fellow partisan, the Chief Executive.
Sources hinted that other senators from the Southeastern Region who support Nagbe, declined to join the party in Kakata, a move they considered a “betrayal to Nagbe.”