… And then there’s Rep. Yekeh Kolubah.
The December 8 Senatorial mid-term election behind us for the most part, with the newly elected Senators from the fifteen political subdivisions poised to be sworn in for nine years each, come January 2021. Now one of the most trending issues now is the race for the Deputy Speaker position–a position that became vacant after Rep. Prince Moye of Bong County Electoral District #2 won his election to the Senate.
Although the Deputy Speakership is ceremonial, it is nevertheless the second most poweful position in the House of Representatives. As a result, about six representatives including two women are now vying for the position that has an annual budget of over US$600,000.
One of the contenders to watch out for is Rep. Fonati Koffa of Grand Kru District #2 but his ambition is being challenged by two female lawmakers in the persons of Moima Briggs Mensah of Bong County District #6 and Rustolyn Suacoco Dennis of Montserrado County District #4. Both ladies have decided to contest for the post in a bid to change the House’s leadership structure with a woman representation.
According to Rep. Moima Briggs Mensah, it is time for her fellow lawmakers, men and women alike, to see reasons and elect her as the first-ever female Deputy Speaker of the Lower House, due to the fact that she serves as an independent lawmaker from her Constituency in Bong.
“My election to the position of Deputy Speaker will bring a balance between the opposition lawmakers and those from the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC). I will work with the Speaker, who is from the ruling Coalition, to ensure there is a balance of considerations at all sides,” she said.
The Liberian Legislature has never, since its founding, had a female Speaker or a Deputy Speaker as men have dominated both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Meanwhile, while Rep. Mensah is making frantic efforts to succeed in convincing her colleagues to consider her for the post, her fellow legislators from Bong County are said to not be willing to support her in the bid.
Reps. Marvin Cole, Joseph Papa Kolleh, Albert Hills and Senator Henrique Tokpa, among others, are said to be rather lukewarm with their fellow Caucus member for having once described the position of the Deputy speaker as “useless,” because outgoing Deputy Speaker, Prince Moye hid his face from challenging Speaker Bhoffal Chambers on many issues and decisions that were not in the interest of the Lower House and the Country in general.
According to Rep. Mensah’s caucus colleagues, they would prefer supporting another lawmaker, even if he comes from Grand Kru County, home of President George Weah, instead of Mensah.
At the same time, Rustolyn Sucoco Dennis, Monsterrado County District #4, has also declared her intention to contest for the seat of Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.
“After a careful consideration and endorsement, I have decided to throw my hat in the race for the Deputy Speaker post in the 54th legislature of the Republic of Liberia,” Rep. Dennis wrote on her Facebook page.
Rep. Dennis, like Rep. Mensah, argued that women have been backbenchers for long and, as such, now is the time for them to be given the chance to lead based on their output and qualifications to show-case what they, too, can offer to national leadership.
Howbeit, out of the clear blue comes the shocking disclosure by Montserrado Distict #10 Representative, Yekeh Kolubah, who told Prophet Key, host of a popular online political podcast, that he wants to become Deputy Speaker so he can work with his colleagues to impeach President George Weah.
Kolubah is a staunch critic of Weah and would leave no stone unturned when given the opportunity to unseat him (Weah) through political means. Other names said to be considering vying for the same post include Dixon Seeboe, Moses Acarous Gray, Hanson Kiazolu of Montserrado Districts 16, 8, and 17, respectively.
Also on the list are; Crayton O. Duncan (Sinoe County); Thomas Gousia (Grand Bassa); Alvin Jones (Margibi County); as well as Samuel Kongar and Johnson Gwaikilo (both from Nimba County), who are all reportedly aspiring for the coveted post.