Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson (PYJ), in compliance with a mandate by the Senate, yesterday submitted an eight-page, “comprehensive” report covering a two-day meeting of members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament in Abuja, Nigeria.
Senators Johnson and George Weah of Montserrado County are both representing the Liberian Senate at the ECOWAS Parliament.
In the cover letter accompanying the report, Senator Johnson said his document covered “a comprehensive report of the Joint Committees on Political Affairs, Peace, Security and African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), Legal and Judicial Affairs, which was held in Abuja, Nigeria February 13 and 14.”
“As a member of the committee on Political Affairs, Peace and Security, I am submitting the report emanating from the joint sessions of the committees mentioned above to the Honorable members of the Liberian Senate in session for your perusal and record, “ Senator Johnson’s letter stated.
The report was prompted by a letter from Grand Gedeh County Senator G. Alphonso Gaye in which he requested the Senate plenary to mandate the Senate’s two representatives to the ECOWAS body to present in open session a comprehensive report of their participation since their induction two years ago.
The report should contain the issues discussed and the decisions taken. ..”
The report which was exhaustively discussed yesterday dealt mainly with the recent political situation in The Gambia.
For instance, according to Senator Johnson’s report, the joint committee’s deliberations focused on reasons why ECOWAS did not observe the December 1, 2016 elections in The Gambia, and elements on which it relied to assess the credibility and transparency of the results.
It also considers the terms of the agreement between the former President Yahyah Jammeh, and the ECOWAS mediators, which resulted in the departure of the former President and his current status; and the basis for the alleged looting of public property by Jammeh while leaving office for exile.
Other areas deliberated during the Parliament’s last month sitting included the arrangements made by ECOWAS to partner with the new government headed by Adama Barrow; to ensure respect for certain provisions and values enshrined in the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.
Its content particularly recorded the status and benefits of a former head of state, the prohibition of harassment of any kind against the former head of state and his supporters.
However, in perusing the report, some Senators described it as a transmittal letter, which they observed was not even signed. “Senator Gaye’s letter was very specific about what we need. Maybe we need to develop a template on how we write or expect our colleagues, who represent us abroad, to report to us,” some Senators including Gaye suggested.
Senator Gaye described the report as nothing else, but minutes, and asked for a motion to deny it.
Senator Jim Tornolah expressed unhappiness over recent verbal exchanges between Senators Johnson and Weah over national radio, and urged that the two apologize to the Senate plenary and pledge to work as a team.
Senator Thomas Grupee, who also hails from Nimba County, vented anger against those rejecting his kinsman’s report, saying it amounts to witch-hunting.
However, describing the report as a good beginning that needs to continue, Gbarpolu County Senator Daniel Flomo Naatehn, proffered a motion that the report be received, adopted and form part of the Senate’s archives. It was unanimously accepted.
Meanwhile, attention is now expected to be focused on Senator Weah’s report, which is expected next week.
The Montserrado County Senator has been absent for over three sittings.