The House of Representatives on Tuesday, April 13, affirmed its suspension of Montserrado County District #10 Rep. Yekeh Kolubah following the withdrawal of Rep. Acarous M. Gray to file a motion for reconsideration.
The House of Representatives enforcement of its suspension is in accordance with Article 17 of the House’s Rules and Procedures.
“When a motion for reconsideration has been accepted in keeping with the rules, a bill in respect of that motion shall not be put on the floor until after three days. When the House decides an issue, any legislator who voted on that issue may, on the same day, or within the next two days immediately following session days move for reconsideration of the decision; every motion for reconsideration shall be decided by a majority vote. If the House refuses to reconsider, or the motion for reconsideration is withdrawn, or if upon reconsideration the House shall affirm its first decision, no further motion to reconsider shall been entertained.”
Rep. Kolubah was suspended for 30 meeting days, equivalent to three months and a half on Thursday, March 25, 2021, without salary, allowances and other benefits, and this is in response to what lawmakers referred to as his “Rude behavior.”
The suspension of Rep. Kolubah was stalled when Rep. Gray proffered a motion for reconsideration, but he (Rep. Gray) later declined and regretted it, thus leaving the suspension to be automatically upheld.
The Montserrado County District #10 lawmaker was suspended after a majority of his colleagues voted in favor of his suspension. In the process of reaching the decision, 24 voted for the suspension while seven voted against it. However, some lawmakers well acquainted with the Constitution have reacted that the decision is contrary to the constitution, as the vote to suspension Representative Kolubah did not constitute two-third majority of the 73 members of the House of Representatives.
On Tuesday, there was a brief standoff between Rep. Gray and Rep. Hans Barchue, with the latter requesting that Rep. Kolubah be escorted out of session having been suspended, while Rep. Barchue counter-argued that Rep. Kolubah, though suspended, should only be escorted out of session if issued a letter of suspension signed by the Chief Clerk.
Speaker Bhofal Chambers overruled the suggestion of Rep. Barchue and mandated the Chief Clerk to prepare the communication to serve Rep. Kolubah, with a copy to the Departments of Finance and Procurements.
The motion to suspend Rep. Kolubah was proffered by an opposition lawmaker, Rep. Edward Kafiah of the People’s Unification Party (PUP). Rep. Kafiah argued that his colleague has have been warned more than four times to desist from acting dishonorably and breaching the rules and procedures.
He, therefore, moved that the House suspends Rep. Kolubah in line with 48.7 (c) of the House’ standing rules.
According to rule 48.7, “The House may, according to the circumstances and degree of the breach, take the following measures: a) it may give an oral warning, b) it may give a written warning; c) it may suspend a member for not more than 30 days of the meeting, stop the payment of salary and allowances due him/her for the days of suspension, as the case may be; and d) it may expel a member from the House where the breach is very serious or where it is committed repeatedly.”
The House Plenary’s decision to suspend Rep. Kolubah came because of a complaint filed by Montserrado County District#5 Representative Thomas Fallah for denigrating the House owing to constant insult on the President, which defames the House’s morale and prestige.
Rep. Fallah argued that Rep. Kolubah’s continued insult of the Presidency is not only shameful but brings the House of Representatives into ‘disrepute.’
According to Representative Fallah, Rep. Kolubah’s recent outburst, calling “the President a ‘dog’ is unacceptable and needs to be reprimanded.” The complaint from Rep. Fallah is the second time in three years against his colleague’s use of invectives against the President.
In April 2019, Rep. Fallah threatened Rep. Kolubah with expulsion if he does not, within three months, retract and apologize for remarks he allegedly made about unseating the government.
Meanwhile, Representatives Sam Kogar of PUP, Rosana Schaack (Independent), and Julie Wiah (Independent) — from the opposition — have described the invectives and behavior of their colleague, Rep. Kolubah, as “heart-breaking and dishonorable.”
They argued that the House’s Rules and Procedures 49 requires that Rep. Kolubah be disciplined for ‘bad conduct and undesirable acts.’
However, when asked to respond to Rep. Fallah and others’ concern, Rep. Kolubah declined with the words: “I have nothing to say.” He raised later raised his hand but was rejected by the Speaker.