A scheduled meeting between the Minister of Public Works Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan and plenary of the Senate was on Thursday, June 13, 2019, canceled, and rescheduled for next Tuesday, June 18, 2019 due to the minister’s “improper dress code,” which the lawmakers considered an affront to them.
Minister Nyenpan, formerly served at the 53rd Legislature as a senator for Sinoe County. He had entered the newly constructed Senate Annex, attired in a faded pair of blue jeans trousers, a fitted long sleeve plaid shirt, partly covered by a faded sleeveless jeans jacket, which caused immediate murmuring among the lawmakers.
“How can a former Senator, who knows our standing rules, behave in such a manner, especially when other people, who had behaved in such manner during his term here were thrown out? We will walk out if we allow Minister Nyenpan to stay,” the senators of Grand Cape Mount and Margibi counties, H. Varney Sherman and Oscar Cooper, respectively, vehemently protested.
While at the senate, Nyenpan chaired the Senate committee on Public Works. He was cited last week to appear before Senate plenary, after Sinoe County Senator Augustine Chea, had written to complain about the “very poor road condition,” which he said is threatening southeastern counties of the country.
A few senators attempted, but failed, to prevail upon their colleagues to soften their resolve in calling for Minister’s Nyenpan to be thrown out and, instead, be allowed to use a coat to cover his top attire.
It can be recalled that similar treatment was meted out to former Public Works Minister Gyude Moore, during the administration of then President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
In a brief chat with the media, Nyenpan said that he had gone to inspect works done on the Timbo River Bridge and the temporary bridge projects.
The Senate plenary decision to bring the Public Works official to the Capitol Building, followed a communication from Sinoe County Senator Augustine Chea, in which he alerted his colleagues that the Buchanan-Greenville highway may become impassable during this rainy season, if a fast track remedy is not found to recondition the road.
In his June 4, 2019 communication, Senator Chea warned that the corridor, “which is part of the government’s proposed coastal highway, is always deplorable during the rainy season, thus making travel difficult and risky.”
Sen. Chea said that the road condition is exacerbated recently when authorities at the Ministry of Public Works dismantled the Timo River Bridge or its contractor, due to faulty condition.
“The bridge is said to have outlived its lifespan, because of this situation, Sinoeans and other users of the road are compelled to use a detour route with travel time of about six to 10 hours to get back to the main road.
“As the line ministry responsible for roads and bridges, the Works Minister should be invited to shed light on the new Timbo River Bridge, and the temporary bridge projects.
“Minister Nyepan should also tell us what intervention his ministry plans to make on the Buchanan-Greenville highway to make it passable this rainy season,” Sen. Chea said.