Legislature Hurries Preparations for Weah’s First Annual Address on Monday

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House Speaker Dr. Bhofal Chambers.

The Presiding Officer of the 54th Legislature, Dr. Bhofal Chambers, has announced the unveiling of President George Weah’s first Legislative Agenda (also known as the Annual Message) to the legislature in the William R. Tolbert Joint Chambers on Monday, January 29, at 4 p.m.

On Tuesday, House Speaker Chambers mandated the House’s Committees on Executive; Ways, Means, Finance and Developmental Planning; and the Rules, Order and Administration to begin robust preparations. The lead committee of the Joint Committee is the Committee on Executive, with Montserrado County Districts #9 and 8 Representatives Munah Pelham-Youngblood and Acarous M. Gray as the chair and co-chair respectively.

Speaker Chambers also instructed the Joint Committee to speed-up its collaboration with the Senate to set-up the organization and beautification of the event.

President George M. Weah to deliver first Legislative Agenda to lawmakers on Monday

With four days to the Annual Message, there are reports that Joint Committee is in a frenzied rush to prepare the setting for the historic occasion. The General Services Agency (GSA), the  Executive Protection Service (EPS) and the Ministry of Public Works are also in the mix.

President Weah’s appearance before the full legislature is in fulfillment of Article 58 of the 1986 Constitution, which compels the President once a year to present his legislative programs and report on the economy and state of affairs.

It states that the President shall, on the fourth working Monday in January of each year, present the administration’s Legislative Program for the ensuing session, and shall once a year report to the legislature on the state of the country. In presenting the economic condition of the country, the report is expected to cover expenditure as well as income.

The Joint Session of the 54th Legislature will be co-presided by Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, who is President of the Senate.

Every president since Joseph J. Roberts has delivered a speech before both Houses of the Legislature a week after being sworn in, or the fourth working Monday in January.

According to the office of the Chief Clerk, Mildred Sayon, the ceremony begins at 2 p.m. with the arrival of invited guests in the Joint Chamber of the Legislature.

Members of the House of Representatives and the Senate will converge in the William R. Tolbert, Jr. Joint Assembly Hall at 3:55 p.m., and a motion to receive President Weah to deliver his first Annual Message will be made and seconded, at which time the chairpersons on Executive Committees will assemble at the main entrance to receive and escort the President to the Joint Chambers.

The Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Representatives, Brigadier General Martin Johnson, will announce the presence of the President, who will then proceed to deliver the ‘State of the Nation Address’ at 4 p.m.

The Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, members of the cabinet, the doyen and members of the diplomatic corps, chiefs and elders, heads of political parties, religious organizations and the business community are expected to be in attendance.

The House’s press director, Isaac G. Redd, told the Daily Observer yesterday that only official invitees will be allowed to enter the William R. Tolbert Joint Assembly Hall for the occasion.

“Because of the ongoing construction work, the office of the Sergeant-at-Arms will direct the order of vehicular movement for said occasion,” director Redd said.

“And accredited media institutions are asked to designate one reporter only. Television and radio stations accredited to conduct live broadcast are advised to install their equipment before 4 p.m. for the ceremony,” Redd added.

8 COMMENTS

  1. I hope this time there will be some semblance of organization and crowd control in hosting President Weah’s first annual address at the Capitol Building.

    We all witnessed the chaotic situation (disorderly conduct) at the SKD Stadium during the inauguration coupled with the overcrowding, noisy and so many rude people showing up uninvited for the inaugural ball held at the Executive Pavilion for President Weah, his foreign guests and the President of Ghana.

    In this modern age of instantaneous social media, we have to be very careful: because whatever we do, goes viral for the world to see.

  2. We look forward to hearing President Weah telling the hard truths about the State of the Nation, and laying out his Vision for the future. The inaugural address was a forerunner, offering a broad framework; now it’s time to provide the specifics on national unity and reconciliation, education, the economy, youth employment, people’s empowerment, and human and national security.

  3. I think comrade Conneh has made a valid point that’s worth taking to the bank. The Monrovia crowd, especially the troublemakers, are very obstreporous. In the nation’s capitol, some form of civility is expected of its people.
    I watched a few Chicago Bulls games when Jordan and his teammates dominated the game of basketball in the early 90s. The Chicago crowd was huge, but there was no shoving and pushing as we entered the United Center.

    Guess what? The troublemakers in Monrovia can change.

    On December 26, 2017, Liberians politely went to the polls to cast their ballots. There were no fights or shoving. That situation was handled professionally. Insofar as the voting went well on 26th December, 2017, I sincerely believe that during the state of the union speech by Weah, the uncivil will become civil. It is doable!

  4. In President George Weah’s first annual message these constitutional issues are very vital:

    Amendment to Citizenship laws Article 27(b) in Liberia: “In order to preserve, foster and maintain the positive Liberian culture, values and character, only persons who are Negroes or of Negro descent shall qualify by birth (jus soli), or by naturalization to be citizens of Liberia.”

    Since the adaption of 1986 revised Constitution, our institution has gone through a cataclysmic shift in terms of mass exodus of Liberians during the civil war. Liberians that fled the civil war have settled with their families in the diaspora. Many have married people of different nationalities and race.

    Our citizenship law did not take into account these unforeseen population shifts. Many returnees are coming home with foreign spouses who are not black or who are not of negro-descent.

    Hypothetically, if our current president or vice president were married to someone of a different race, will Presient Weah or V.P.Jewel Taylor’s spouse not qualify to become a Liberian citizen because our racist citizenship law only grants Liberian citizenship to people of negro-descent?

    Also, there are too many people of non-negro descent who were born in Liberia but they are not considered Liberian citizens because of their race. This has led to massive brain-drain of these talents (non-Negroes) who have become productive citizens of other countries.

    Furthermore, Liberia wants to attract foreign businesses but we do not allow business people of non-negro race to obtain Liberian citizenship. How do we expect them to develop Liberia, or how do we expect them to invest their money in a country like Liberia that refuses to give them Liberian citizenship. Flights of their hard earnings (profits) will continue unabated.

    In the President annual message, there is also a need to call for the amendment of the constitution to reduce the presidential, senatorial and representative term limits to their original status before the 1986 constitution. These unwarranted extended term limits only prolong complicity and inefficiency.

    Finally, Superintendents and mayors should be elected (by the people, for the people) and not appointed by the president: this will cut down on nepotism, cronyism, and blind party loyalty to the president.

    We should realize that Liberia has changed. Liberia will continue to change. We should change our racist constitution to meet international human rights standard; to meet present day reality where there are many Liberians involved in mixed-race relationships. If we really want to develop Mama Liberia…..we have to open our minds to present day reality.

    May God bless the Republic of Liberia.

  5. The Liberian Experience

    The Liberians have done something that no country on earth has done. The outgoing president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is a female, and her VP, Joseph Boakai is a guy. The current president of Liberia, is George Weah, a guy and his VP, Jewel Taylor is a female. There’s no country that comes close! Liberians have always learned some stuff from other countries. It’s about time that other countries had learned how to elect a guy and a lady as national leaders.

    But, there’s something else that Liberians ought to consider. It is very, very important.

    The Ivorian president is a black man. His wife is a white woman. The Ivorians are not complaining about the fact that their first lady is white.

    Questions…….
    Why do some Liberians complain about president Weah’s wife who happens to be a black American?

    What’s the problem?

    Is it a criminal act to be born as an American or to naturalized as one?

    Are Liberian-American kids who are real American-born (like my kids) allowed in Liberia to help. Two of my nephews are medical doctors. One of them is a Cardiologist, the other an Internist. If they and my kids wish to save humanity in Liberia, will they be allowed? Why not? They will never change their nationality.

    Isn’t it about time that the Liberian authorities had looked into revising the constitution? It’s not because of my relatives. The interest of Liberia is above my self-interest.

    Do some Liberians need to be detraumatized?

    Leave Weah’s wife alone. It’s petty to harass a beautiful woman who happens to be an American and the country’s first lady.

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