On Recess Again? Senators Leaving Liberia in Droves

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Senate Pro Tempore Albert Tugbe Chie

Following the impeachment and removal of Supreme Court Associate Justice, Kabineh Ja’neh from office by the Senate, several  senators are said to be leaving or have left the country for a number of purported reasons ranging from medical to vacation and holiday.

As a result, Senate Tuesday, April 2 session was called off because those present could not constitute a quorum.

Observers however charged that such departures coming at a time when the Senate has just returned from recess, suggest that there may indeed be some truth to allegations of huge executive payouts (US$50,000) to each Senator who voted in favor of Ja’neh’s impeachment and removal.

Sources say that Senator Varney Sherman left  the country on Tuesday night (April 2), while Senator and President Pro Tempore, Albert Chie is already in Ghana, while Senator Marshall Dennis was scheduled to leave on Wednesday, April 2 for Ghana to reportedly seek medical treatment. More Senators from the approval bloc are also reported to be planning forays abroad, perhaps as observers see it, to spend “free money.”

These allegations and public speculations about Senators leaving the country en masse have heightened in the wake of revelations by Senator Prince Yormie Johnson (PYJ) of Nimba County that the impeachment of Justice Ja’neh was “politically motivated, and sealed with money.”

Sen. Johnson has however denied that neither he nor Senator Thomas Grupee (both of Nimba County) voted in favor of Ja’neh’s impeachment and removal from office. Bomi County Senator Sando Johnson, also shared similar concerns while speaking on SKY FM (107) talk-show recently.

Senator Sando Johnson claimed that the process to remove Ja’neh from office was not transparent, pointing to what he described as irregularities in the handling of the vote count by Senate President Pro Tempore Albert Chie.

According to him, he and other Senators, including Margibi County Senator Oscar Cooper and River Gee County Senator, Conmany Wesseh, had requested the presiding officer, Senator Chie to provide explanations for the presiding officer’s departure from the voting rules, which they had all agreed to, even though some Senators, including himself, had expressed objection to the Senate’s single-handed formulation of the rules of impeachment.

Senators Conmany Wesseh, Oscar Cooper, J Gbleh-bo Brown, Daniel Naatehn, Steve Zargo, Sando Johnson and others had contended that rules of impeachment derived by the Senate, acting alone, were legally deficient, and therefore could not be legally held as binding, although Chief Justice Korkpor apparently did not see it that way.

Additionally, Senator Sando Johnson claimed that demands to have the ballots counted in the presence of the Senators following the close of the polls went unheeded by Senator Albert Chie, who instead took the translucent and unsealed ballot box home only to announce the next day that 20 senators had voted in favor of the impeachment.

Further, according to Senator Sando Johnson, their attempt to have the ballots counted right after voting was resisted by Sen. Chie, who insisted that the ballots be counted only after three outstanding votes had been secured from Senators, who were absent during voting.

Moreover, according to Sen. Johnson, the ballot box was taken by Sen. Chie to his home where it is suspected it was tampered with.

When asked to review the voting records, according to Sen. Johnson, to verify the vote count, Sen. Chie stoutly refused.

According to observers, Chie’s action of taking the ballot box home and refusing to verify vote count have implications for the conduct of future elections, and that such handling of the vote count can be rightly considered a dress rehearsal for the conduct of fraudulent elections in the future.

Observers further noted that the theft of the 1985 elections results by then President Samuel K. Doe, had the effect of producing a groundswell of popular discontent, and ill will that virtually opened the door to prolonged violent armed conflict in the country.

Meanwhile, President Weah has since announced the replacement of Justice Ja’neh by Civil Law Court Judge Yussif Kaba, whose nomination is yet to be confirmed by the Senate.

Observers say although Judge Kaba possesses the requisite qualification for the post, the move by President Weah is however intended to placate Muslims and Mandingo ethnicists, whose profile in the Liberian politics as compared to other smaller ethnic groups, has been raised significantly since the outbreak of the civil war a little over 20 years ago, and who may feel aggrieved as a result of Ja’neh’s removal from office.

12 COMMENTS

    • I hear ya! Someone’s annual salary here in the US. Liberians ought to change the failed UNITARY SYSTEM so that counties with serious leaders can take care of their citizens. It has benefited individuals, not the people of the country. Decentralize the country!! Give some autonomy to the people – let them take care of their people. Kenya just started doing it. The counties there elected governors and things are moving fine for them. If a system or an idea does not work, replace it!!

  1. A wise person once said, “At best, outside aid can provide only a margin over and above what people are doing for themselves. It can be the margin between failure and success, but only when there is substantial local effort. And there can be such an effort only when a nation has a will to develop…..when there is a drive within the country itself to improve the living standards of its people, and a government which reflects that drive.”

    It’s regrettable to see how rapidly Liberia is sliding into chaos. The gross mismanagement of Liberia’s meager resources and the politically mishandling of Justice Ja’neh’s impeachment process exposed the economic, social and ethnic disharmony brewing among the different political factions in the House of Legislature.

    We saw entrenched partisanship; wasteful spending; disloyalty; entrenched tribalism; corruption, and personal aggrandizement fostering in all branches of Liberian government after the election and up to the impeachment hearing of Justice Ja’neh. These political and social divisions are gross impediments to fostering national unity and economic development in Liberia.

    After 14 years of turmoil that brought this beautiful country to its demise, what will it take for these Lawmakers to realize that the world is watching to see if this “Pro-Poor” Government and Liberian Lawmakers are capable of leading Liberia out of this experimental democratic process. Only time will tell!

    It’s difficult to encourage foreign investors and Liberians in the Diaspora to invest in Liberia when the country is always in a state of perpetual turmoil and the leaders are not utilizing their time wisely to strategize; to be creative; to be persuasive, and to collaborate in attracting foreign investments into Liberia.

    It’s now the “nature of the beast” in attracting foreign investments mostly in African countries. It is very competitive among African countries! African Countries that exemplify political stability and those that are working toward developing their infrastructures and creating the necessary business friendly environments are the ones likely to be selected for investments. Liberia is constantly sliding down the totem pole.

    These lawmakers are gearing up for another recess. I couldn’t believe how pathetic JKF Medical Center looks on my last visit to Liberia in January. Instead of these Lawmakers building modern health care facilities in their constituencies (for the people who elected them), they rather run to Ghana and patronize Ghana Health System and depend on foreign aid to develop Liberia.

    It is sad to see how poorly the country is being managed.

    I hope Liberian voters realize that there is power in their votes come next Senatorial Election! Vote these people out who are there only to collect a fat paycheck and do nothing!!!

    Remember, you elect a government that will meet your needs.

  2. Wait a minute. Liberian lawmakers are going to Ghana in order to seek medical treatment? Of course, I am not too surprised. There’s a Greek adage that says “a fish rots from the head down.” When the dictatorial president William Tubman ruled Liberia, he didn’t get treatment in Liberia, his own country of birth. I get it. He was born there, but he wasn’t a native of Liberia. Throughout his ironclad leadership of 27 years, it didn’t occur to Tubman that some Liberians could be trained as top-notch doctors. In short, Tubman’s mismanagement of Liberia has trickled down; if it is not the direct result of our woes today, it has contributed to our malaise.

    What’s the wisdom of going to Ghana by a Liberian lawmaker to get medical treatment? Liberia declared independence in 1847 and Ghana became independent from Britain in 1957. Let’s do the math: 1957 – 1847 = 110 years. A country that became independent 110 years after Liberia is the country that Liberian lawmakers are flocking to in order to get medical treatment with pride? What’s going on?
    Why do some of these lawmakers display an obsequious behaviour? Are the doctors and caregivers of Liberia completely incompetent and incapable of treating a Liberian lawmaker? Or are the lawmakers distrustful of Liberian medical personnel? Are “some” of these Liberian lawmakers proud of their own country?

    There are some in Liberia and elsewhere in Africa who maintain the view that Africans are often disparaged and dehumanized by the white man. It could be true up to a certain point. But, there’s a great deal of cynicism amongst us, black folk! We’ve got to admit it. There’s a tendency for some black folk, especially some Liberians to lower the prestige of the Liberian people for selfish reasons. Example, by going to Ghana in order to obtain medical treatment, the uncongennial Liberian lawmaker proves that Liberian doctors are distrustful and incompetent.
    It is not late yet. There are some Liberians who can be trained as doctors. If the lawmakers of Liberia mean business, our medical facilities can be improved.

    • F S Hney,
      What nonsense you write sometimes. According to you, Tubman was born in Liberia but he was not a native of Liberia. So Mr. Native Liberian, which country was Tubman a native of?

    • You are right sir, we as Liberians done have love for our country.Our lawmakers are not making any effort to improve our health facilities but always in favor of increasing their salaries, we are our own problem,they can always travel n see some beautiful things but they can not come with the idea of implementing it in our country.

  3. This type of speculative meandering is as good as malicious misleading reporting. For heaven’s sake, how many senators are referred to as “droves”, and who dreamed up “executive payouts of US$50, 000”? Needles to say, replacing Justice Janeh with Justice Kabba continues inclusiveness or diversity as done with the addition of a Black and female Justice on the bench of the US Supreme Court.

    With provocative ventings or libelous rantings from few media outlets and partisan social network platforms coming at the heels of rioting rampage in Margibi County, one senses signs of frustration and desperation seizing the Uprising-Incitement Complex. It doesn’t bode well, at all, because confused people are proned to making costly mistakes. That’s why some highway patrol officers would rather take a confused driver home than let that person endanger other users of the road.

  4. Although I respect you, I disagree with your opinion. You may not like some of the things I write sonetimes. That’s understandable. But because you don’t like what I write sometimes does not make it nonsensical.

    Tubman always aligned himself with Americo-Liberians. I knew his brother Glenn (not personally) in Harper city. During those days, “some, but definitely not all Americo-Liberians” would argue that they were not “natives” but rather Americi-Liberians. That’s why I said that.

    I hope I have made myself explicit Bernard.

  5. Thank you honorable Wisdom. Some of our lawmakers are doing exactly as Tubman did. Tubman enjoyed being president. He ruled Liberia from 1944 to 1971. But, he didn’t reach out significantly to the Liberian majority.

    The younger people of Liberia sometimes do not understand some of these things. So let me give an example. Long before Tubman University came to the county of Maryland, there was a college named “Our lady of Fatima College” Fatima College was accredited; it awarded bachelor degrees. The college was attended by a lot of Liberians, some of whom went abroad to obtain advanced degrees. Guess what? When the decision was made by Tubman that a technical college should be built in Harper, Maryland. Fatima College, a Catholic institution was given orders to shut down.

    The deal is this. It didn’t make sense than and now to have ordered a private inexpensive accredited college to be closed because of the arrival of a state university. Catholic institutions have a record of academic excellence. Since it was a Teaching College, had it not been ordered short down, we would have had a lot of competent teachers today. The truth is that competition is healthy. It would have been judicious to have two competing colleges in one town. Consider the issue of choice! Parents would have had a choice as it relates to which college their kids could attend.

    The current crop of lawmakers are trending in the Tubman direction. The lawmakers are not looking out for the majority of Liberians who are unable to go to Ghana for medical treatment. And yet, when these Liberian officials go to Ghana for treatment, nine times out of ten, some of them do not come back home alive. Very sad! Why not improve our own health facilities at home????? The lawmakers get fat checks, good food and because of their rank on the Liberian political landscape, beautiful women and so on. There’s no thinking on their part to educate our youth in a positive way.

    Finally, I am not a Tubman hater. No, I am not. I am using Tubman as an example. Tubman has his own pluses. I will defend “some” of his policies when the need arises. Neither do I hate our lawmakers. I feel that this century is going by quickly. If nothing is done to change ourselves, we’ll continue to be the 4th poorest 81 years from now.

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