-Senate in consensus
The Senate, which is the Upper House of the Legislature, yesterday reached a consensus that forbids President Pro Tempore Armah Z. Jallah of Gbarpolu County from seeking reelection.
The consensus was reached yesterday at a resort in Monrovia, shortly after the conclusion of a meeting that lasted several hours long, between over 16 Senators, including President-elect George M. Weah and Vice President-elect Jewel Howard-Taylor.
The Senators, who are regarded as elders, unlike the Lower House – the House of Representatives, who are still lobbying and forming blocs, agreed to replace Pro Temp Jallah.
Maryland County Senator Dan Morais, Chairman on Foreign Affairs, and Chairman on the Consensus Committee, told journalists after the meeting that President Pro Tempore Jallah will bow out, rendering his position vacant.
Up to press time last night, the Daily Observer was unable to speak with Pro Temp Jallah about the consensus, but three Senators, who requsted anonymity, confirmed that Jallah will not join the race for the President Pro Tempore, “because of the consensus.”
Senator George Tengbeh of Lofa County neither confirmed nor denied the consensus on voting out Pro Temp Jallah, but said, “I arrived very late for the meeting…and therefore, I don’t know the details.”
Politically, a consensus is a decision process in which members of a group develop and agree to support a decision in the best interest of the whole. It is also an acceptable resolution, one that can be supported, even if it is not the “favorite,” by each individual of the Legislature.
The Daily Observer has gathered that four Senators have expressed interest to contest the likely vacancy of the President Pro Tempore. They include Senators Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County; Steve Zargo of Lofa County; Geraldine Doe-Sherif, Montserrado; and Albert Chie, Grand Kru County.
According to Sen. Morais, among the four contenders, Sen. Chie is the “front runner,” but failed to state whether Chie is poised to remain the “front runner” up to Monday, January 15, the election day for the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Another Senator, who requested anonymity, told the Daily Observer exclusively that the Senate’s election will be delayed to see the outcome of election of the Speaker of the House.
“If Fonati Koffa wins the Speaker post of the House of Representatives, it means Sen. Chie is out of the contest because the two of them are from the same county. On the contrary, it means Sen. Chie will be our next President Pro Tempore,” the Senator said.
“It means nothing if the President and President Pro Tempore come from the same county; the President Pro Tempore is just first-among equals, and if he doesn’t perform, 19 of us can remove him.
“What really matters is we don’t want the Speaker and President Pro Tempore to come from the same county, because we don’t want an all Grand Kru County affair.”
With 11 days to the 54th Legislature and the election in both Houses, if Sen. Chie is elected it will be the second time for a head of one of the Houses of the legislature and the President of Liberia to come from the same county.
In the 52nd and 53rd Legislature respectively, Speaker Alex Tyler and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf hailed from Bomi County.