Minutes following his induction, Nimba County Senator Jeremiah Kpan Koung, warned of “chaos” in the 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections if nothing is done with the Elections Law.
“With my experience at the National Elections Commission, if we do nothing about the elections law, I can assure you that this country might run into chaos in 2023; we need to address it and address it now and we just need some amendments,” Senator Koung said.
Koung, a former member of the House of Representatives, observed that in neighboring countries, winners of elections are certificated once they are announced by their elections body, and allowed to take seat.
“If a contending party has an issue, it can be pursued as far as the Supreme Court, after the legal process and the complainant wins, the seated Senator can be decertified… so I have come with that vigor that the elections law, before this sitting and colleagues, let’s look at the elections laws and solve it to save this country in 2023.”
Kanneh: “Sending me to the Senate is not a mistake“
Senator Botoe Kanneh, the lone female legal elections battle survivor, has told the Senate plenary that it means a lot to take a table meat seller and elect her Senator.
“It’s by the grace of God, because the road was not easy, but thanks to God it was worth it,” she said.
She especially extended thanks to her fellow women both at home and abroad, who she said left their educational background and followed a grassrooter.
“I know sending me to the Senate is not a mistake; I will try to do my possible best to work with my colleagues to see how we take Gbarpolu County from zero to hero.”
Senator Kanneh emphasized the need to work together to ensure that Liberia rises from its present level, and prayed her colleagues to place importance on reviewing the law on forestry, “because there is a problem there.”
Welcoming the newly inducted Senators, Senate Pro Tempore Albert Tugbe Chie reemphasized his previous trademark warnings to incoming Senators that the Senate Chamber is a political theater.
“If you want to be the leader of this country, I suggest that you come here first; in the USA, former Senator Joe Biden is President, former Senator Kamala Harris is Vice President; in Liberia, former Senator George Weah is President, former Senator Jewel Howard Taylor is Vice President. So, going forward, after their two terms in 2029, this Senate, in spite our various political orientations, I think we will be prepared to put up the president and the Vice President,” Protemp Chie told his fellow Senators.
Meanwhile, with respect to Senator Koung’s fear of looming chaos in the 2023 elections and the need for some amendments in the elections law, Protemp Chie has promised to mandate the Judiciary Committee to start preparing the necessary legislation in that regard.
Smith: “I am here as an Independent Senator”
Newly inducted Senator of Rivercess County, Wellington Geevon Smith, has informed his colleagues that he was not elected to be a drum major for the opposition community, or cheering squad for the ruling party.
“In clear terms, I must tell you that I am not just here to be part of the drum major of opposition community; equally so I have no intention to be the cheering squad for the ruling party,” Senator J. Wellington Geevon Smith declared in his three-minute post induction statement.
The former Superintendent of River Cess County during the regime of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, further reminded his colleagues and members of gallery that “the people made a decision for me to come here as an independent Senator. By virtue of the fact that I am here to work with all of you; as the seats in the Senate Chamber are arranged, the seats in the Chamber are not arranged based on party representation. The seats are arranged based on county representation, so that even if two Senators come from two political parties they have to sit together to seek the interest of their county.”
Senator Smith who is also a former broadcast journalist, intimated that: “There are a very few people in the Chamber of the Liberian Senate today who know that we immensely contributed to watering the garden to build democracy in this country… it took our young blood, young tears, youthful times.
He asserted that his courage to participate in the December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial Elections was initiated by an elderly man from his county as far back as 2016. Senator Smith promised to continue to work as he did as superintendent to help bring both infrastructural development as well as social and educational capacity of the youths of his county.