The Majority Bloc Leader in the Liberian Senate, Geraldine Doe Sherif, has admonished newly certificated Senators, known as ‘Freshman Senators’ to not race for the President Pro Tempore post, arguing that the second top seat should only be contested by veteran Senators who have spent at least three (3) years in the Senate.
The Montserrado County Senator said the contest for the President Pro Tempore must be limited or restricted to only veteran Senators to set a principle in the Upper Chamber.
Senator Sherif reiterated the advice to incoming senators over the weekend at the end of the formal program which marked the certification of 12 out of the 15 Senators.
She argued that the President Pro Tempore must have the experience of representation, oversight crafting of legislations in the Senate, as well as the orientation of the governing rules of the Senate.
"I think, generally speaking, it is proper to set a principle and create an atmosphere wherein our newly certificated Senators should know that to contest the President Pro Tempore you must be an experienced Senator,” Senator Sherif said. “We believe our message has been received and therefore hope for their cooperation,” she added.
She further stated: “We are expecting our colleagues at the other side of the aisle [in the House] will help us convey this principle-minded idea.”
Some political pundits have said that the contention that ‘no freshman Senators’ should contest for President Pro Tempore might be possible because of the denial of certification to Cllr. Varney Gbotonambi Sherman by the National Elections Commission (NEC) as winner for Grand Cape Mount County, due to the prohibition filed against him before the Supreme Court of Liberia by candidate Fodee Kromah.
Cllr. Sherman is reportedly the would-be, lone freshman Senator who is capable of mounting a successful campaign for the post of Senate President Pro Tempore. Pundits point to his wealth of legal and political experience, coupled with his financial strength as one of the nation’s leading and most successful lawyers.
Atty. Morris Gato Saytumah of Bomi and Dr. Jim Womba Tornonlah of Margibi Counties were also not certificated because of the Prohibition from the Supreme Court for an alleged elections fraud.
The 12 Senators who were certificated include Jewel Howard-Taylor (Bong), Jonathan L. Kaipay (Grand Bassa), Marshall A. Dennis (Grand Gedeh), Albert T. Chie (Grand Kru), Stephen J.H. Zargo (Lofa) and J. Gbloh-bo Bro (Maryland).
Others are Senators George M. Weah (Montserrado), Prince Y. Johnson (Nimba), Francis S. Paye (Rivercess), Commany B. Wesseh (River Gee) and Milton J. Teahjay (Sinoe).
Political pundits are also arguing that the likes of Amb. Commany Wesseh (River Gee) and Daniel F. Naatehn (Gbapolu) have political experience, and so does Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor (Bong), but none of the three has expressed interest in entering the already crowded President Pro-Tempore field.
Montserrado County’s number two Senator, George M. Weah, also failed to express his interest, meaning that the idea of the Majority Bloc Leader has been overwhelmingly accepted.
Meanwhile, the Senate Majority has announced that so far, five Senators (of the old order) have expressed their interest in contesting for President Pro Tempore.
They are Cllr. Joseph Nagbe (Sinoe), Senators Armah Jallah (Gbapolu), Oscar Cooper (Margibi) and Dan Morias (Maryland. Though, he is yet to announce his candidacy, Grand Gedeh Senator Alphonso Gaye has hinted to the Daily Observer his interest in vying for the coveted post.