Senate to Intervene in House Conflict

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The Senate yesterday called off its 53rd day sitting and went into Executive Session to discuss the ongoing conflict between the two factions within the House of Representatives.

The Senate’s decision followed a motion proffered by Maryland County Senator H. Dan Morais in which he requested his colleagues to suspend discussions on yesterday’s agenda items, and instead discuss in executive session what they can offer to remedy the situation in the Lower House.

Following a one-hour, closed-door executive session, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Armah Zolu Jallah, told Legislative reporters that the Senate has decided to play a mediatory role in the split that is hampering the normal Legislative work at the House of Representatives.

“The Liberian Senate in its Executive Session… made a decision to play a mediatory role in resolving the conflict which has engulfed the House of Representatives. In so doing, the Senate has constituted a six-man mediatory Committee headed by President Pro Tempore Armah Jallah, to constructively engage both parties and aid in the resolution for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. “

Those on the committee include Senator Joseph N. Nagbe, co-chair of the committee on Lands, Mines Energy and Environment; Senator Henry Yallah, chairman of the committee on Public Accounts and Audits; Grand Kru County Ranking Senator Peter Coleman, chairman of the committee on Gender, Health, Social Welfare, Women and Children Affairs; and Lofa County Senator Stephen Zargo, chair on Defense, Intelligence, Security and Veterans Affairs.

The statement expressed the hope that the parties will accept the Senate’s role as mediator. The committee is mandated to report to plenary in the shortest time.

Yesterday’s action by members of that august body comes four days after the Senate had voted narrowly to pass an Act granting Financial Autonomy to the Legislature, a decision that will allow the First Branch of the Liberian Government to control its own budget allotted in the National Budget.

The Senate plenary on Thursday requested Secretary of the Senate to submit the Act to the conflict-ridden House of Representatives for concurrence.

Political commentators believe that if the in-house fighting within the Lower House is not resolved soon, Bills and Acts sent to the Senate for ratification or enactment will experience hitch as the Senate may be at loss as to who to deal with if such document needs concurrence.

Members of the House again convened at two separate locations within the Capitol Building: the breakaways in the Joint Chamber, while Speaker Alex Tyler and his faithful occupied the Constitutional Chamber.

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