The Student Unification Party (SUP) of the University of Liberia on Monday called on the Executive and Legislative branches of government to defuse the ongoing stalemate on Capitol Hill.
The deadlock stems from a Global Witness Report leading to the indictment of several key current and former government officials, including House Speaker Alex Tyler and Grand Cape Mount County Senator Varney Sherman, for allegedly breaching the Public Procurement and
Concessions Commission Law to favor Sable Mining Company for a claim on the Wologizi Mountain in Lofa County.
A SUP press release, signed by secretary Butu Levi and approved by chairman Jerome D. Dangbuah, recently called on the two branches of government to make their political agenda void of threats to national development.
“SUP has been following with serious displeasure the internal wrangling and reckless display of power-struggle at the House of Representatives of the 53rd National Legislature, and believes that the current clash on Capitol Hill between pro-Tyler fanatics and the anti-Tyler crusaders is democratically immature,” the release said.
It added “Even though our party opposes bribery and thinks that an indicted Speaker accused of such a grave crime should recuse himself or be made to step aside to maintain the sacredness of the House of Representatives, this must be done with the highest respect for the Rule of Law.”
According to the release, it is the right of any lawmaker to pursue the removal of the Speaker, but this right must be exercised in total adherence to the 1986 Constitution and the Standing Rules of the House of Representatives.
SUP disagreed with the unconventional approach taken by the anti-Tyler campaigners to unseat the Speaker and therefore said the resolution by the anti-Tyler bloc, which supposedly nullified the legitimacy of the Speaker, is not only democratically erroneous, but has no legal reliance.
The release quoted Article 49 of the 1986 Constitution that says, “The Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and other officers so elected may be removed from office for cause by a resolution of two-thirds majority of the members of the House.
“Rule 9 Section 9.1 of the Standing Rules of the House of Representatives likewise state that “The Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and other officers of the House, may be removed from office for cause by a resolution of two-third majority of the members of the House.”
SUP meanwhile called on President Sirleaf to stop unconstitutional interference in the functions of the Legislature.
Addressing another issue, SUP said the Government of Liberia must adequately inform the nation about the August 7 reported shooting in Sasstown and the mysterious appearance of the Tamaya ship in Liberian waters.
“The Sasstown shooting has more unanswered questions. This situation is widening public distrust in our already weak security sector,” SUP’s statement said.
SUP also called on the Ministry of National Defense and the Liberia National Police to refrain from “playing gamble and cosmetic politics” with the security of the Liberian people.
“If the security of Defense Minister Brownie Samukai and Police Director Chris Massaquoi cannot be compromised, then the security of those living in rural Liberia and slum communities must not be taken lightly (either),” the release said.
SUP reminded government of its obligation to pay those serving in the security sector on time to avoid disenchantment that may lead to underperformance.
The party also requested the government to allow communities to bring back community watch teams to help ward off rampant armed robberies.