After nearly three months of tussles in the Lower House for House Speaker J. Alex Tyler to stay or step down, it appears that the vote was compromised with some lawmakers voting in favor of both sides.
Yesterday, 39 lawmakers voted to petition Speaker J. Alex Tyler, Jr., to recuse himself as the Presiding Officer of the House of Representatives due to his criminal indictment, whereas also 42 Representatives have recommit themselves to support Tyler’s Speakership.
The tally of both sides of the petition is 81, when there are only 73 members in the House of Representatives. So it could be either that several lawmakers have either engaged in double-game with double signings; secretly rescinded their signatures at the last minute, or they were spies, as claimed by one pro-Tyler lawmaker.
Anti-Tyler Lawmakers Seek Tyler Removal
In a press conference held by the Anti-Tyler lawmakers at the Rotunda of the Capitol Building yesterday, Montserrado County District # 9 Representative Munah Pelham-Youngblood said the Speaker has lost the legitimacy and popular consent to preside over the House of Representatives and the criminal indictment hovering over the Speaker has brought the entire Lower House into public disrepute and undermines the office of the Speaker.
Rep. Youngblood accused the Speaker of using and manipulating his gavel for his personal and pecuniary aggrandizement and further engaged in acts to divide the House to shield himself from legal process.
Reading a Press Statement, the renegade lawmakers, who called themselves “Conscience Lawmakers,” said the Speaker has denigrated his colleagues who have expressed disagreement with his dictatorial leadership and refers to elected Representatives of the Liberian people as surrogates, forgetting that he is just primus inter pares (first amongst equals) by the free election of peers.
“That the Speaker has been criminally indicted of a crime. We the members of the House should not have to bear the burden of these allegations. Let the Speaker exonerate himself of these criminal charges using our court system and not hide under the authority of the Speaker’s gavel,” Rep. Youngblood said.
“And in so declaring, we, the Majority members of the Honorable House of Representatives of the 53rd Legislature having taken a solemn oath of office to protect and uphold the constitution and all other laws of the Republic, call upon Hon. J. Alex Tyler to immediately recuse himself as presiding officer.”
She added: “We also call on those doing business and other activities with him to immediately halt and refrain from future transaction with him in the name of the Honorable House of Representatives.”
Names of Anti-Tyler Lawmakers
Names of members of Representatives who reportedly signed the resolution (signatures were not seen) for the Speaker recuse himself include: Rep. Numene T.H. Bartekwa, Rep. Emmanuel Nuquay, Rep. Munah E. Pelham-Youngblood, Rep. Samuel G. Kogar, Rep. Thomas P. Fallah, Rep. Acarous M. Gray, Rep. Edwin M. Snowe, Rep. Julius Berrian, Rep. Morais T. Waylee and Rep. Samuel G. Wolleh, Rep. Richmond S. Anderson, Rep. Corpu G. Barclay, Rep. Adolph A. Lawrence, Rep. Christian Chea, Rep. Johnson Chea, Rep. Saah Joseph, Rep. Roland O. Cooper, Rep. Worlea S. Dunah, Rep. Henry B. Fahnbulleh, Rep. Edward S. Forh, Rep. Josephine George Francis, Rep. Stephen S. Kafi, Jr., Rep. Jefferson Kanmoh, Rep. Edward W. Karfia, Rep. Mary Karwor, Rep. Jeremiah Koung, Rep. Eugene F. Kparkar, Rep. Gertrude T. Lamin, Rep. Jeremiah W. McCauley, Rep. Prince Moye, Rep. George S. Mulbah, Rep. Tokpah Mulbah, Rep. Robertson N. Siaway, Rep. Gabriel Smith, Rep. Richard M. Tingban, Rep. Ricks Toweh, Rep. Bill Twehway, Rep. Ballah G. Zayzay and Rep. J. Byron Brown.
Pro-Tyler Lawmakers Dare
Meanwhile, Rep. Solomon George, speaking on behalf of the Pro-Tyler lawmakers, said yesterday that the press statement is a scare tactic, and he termed the aggrieved lawmakers as “Minority Lawmakers” arguing that out of the 39 lawmakers, it is proven that five Representatives have withdrawn their signatures and an additional five Representatives in the Anti-Tyler camp are actually Pro-Tyler insiders.
The Montserrado County District # 7 Representative said the press statement is a mere bluff and ‘Majority Members” are waiting the Resolution to be thrown out because Legislative procedures, especially voting, are based on numbers.
It may be recalled Grand Gedeh County District # 2 Representative Morias T. Waylee, Nimba County District # 3 Representative Samuel G.Z. Woleh and Montserrado County Districts # 12 and 13 Representatives, Richmond Anderson and Saah Joseph have respectively rescinded their decisions and nullified their signatures.
Nimba County District # 6 Representative, Atty. Ricks Y. Toweh has also rescinded his decision for the recusal or removal of Speaker Tyler, and therefore still uphold the leadership of Speaker Tyler until proven guilty.
“We are prepared to begin to initiate a process of peace, to maintain the sanctity and integrity of this Honorable House.”
Names of Pro-Tyler Lawmakers
However, Rep. George indicated that 40 lawmakers have recommitted their loyalty to Speaker Tyler. They include: Rep. George Wesseh Blamoh, Rep. James Biney, Rep. Cllr. S. Gayah Karmoh, Rep. Alfred Koiwood, Rep. Dr. Bhofal Chambers, Rep. Dr. Isaac Roland, Rep. Emerson
Kamara, Rep. Mambu Sonii, Rep. Aaron Vincent, Rep. Adam Bill Corneh, Rep. Lester Paye, Rep. Garrison Yealue, Rep. Samuel Woleh, Rep. Ricks Toweh, Rep. Larry Younquoi and Alfred Juweh, Rep. Byron Zeahwea, Rep. Malai Gbogar, Rep. S. Gayah Karmoh, Rep. Hajah Siryon, Rep. Mariamu Fofana, Rep. Clarence Massaquoi, Rep. Moses Kollie and Rep. Julie Wiah, Rep. Charles Bardyl, Rep. Zoe Pennoh, Rep. Alex Grant and Rep. Morais Waylee.
The remaining lawmakers include Rep. Matthew Zarzar, Rep. Ben Fofana, Rep. Saah Joseph, Rep. Sekou Kanneh, Rep. Abraham V. Corneh, Rep. William Dakel, Rep. Richmond Anderson, Rep. Solomon George, and Rep. Gabriel Nyenkan.
“The five Pro-Tyler lawmakers who are insiders acting as Anti-Tyler lawmakers, but also recommit to support the Speaker, have totaled the Pro-Tyler lawmakers to 42,” Rep. George said.
Meanwhile, the offices of Chief Clerk Mildred Sayon, up to press time yesterday has said the resolution had not been presented.
Despite controversial counterclaims between 39 and 42 lawmakers respectively, there are still consultations and meetings amongst both anti and pro-Tyler lawmakers.
The petition for Speaker Tyler’s recusal is due to his having allegedly received US$75,000 for his role in changing the Public Procurement Commission Committee (PPCC) law in favor of the London based mining company, Sable Mining to own the Wologisi Mountain in Lofa County, according to Global Witness.
In spite of yesterday’s recusal contrast releases, the Plenary of the House of Representatives conducted its 50th day sitting with 32 lawmakers in session, five distant and one sick, constituting a quorum of 38 persons.
Meanwhile, in yesterday’s session, the House Plenary unanimously agreed to forward the President Sirleaf’s communication on the ratification of 15 ECOWAS protocols to the Committees on Foreign Affairs and Judiciary to report in two weeks.
Some of the protocols which would affect the cooperation in criminal matters between the police of member States of the economic community of west Africa states include: Protocol A/P.4/01/03 on Energy; Protocol a/SP1/12/01 on democracy and good Governance Supplementary to the
Protocol relating to the mechanism for conflict prevention Management Resolution peacekeeping and Security; Supplementary protocol A/SP.2/12/01 Amending the Protocol on the establishment of an ECOWAS Brown Card relating to motor vehicle third party Liability Insurance and
Supplementary protocol A/SP.2/06/06 Amending Article 3 Paragraphs 1,2, and 4, Article 4,Paragraphs 1,3, and Article 7 and Paragraph 3 of the Protocol on the Community Court of Justice.
Other protocols include Supplementary Protocol A/SP.1/01/06 Amending Articles V1-c, V1-L IX8, XI-2 And XII of Protocol A/P2/7/87 on the establishment of West African Health organization (WEAHO); Supplementary Protocol A/SP.1/01/05 Amending the Preamble and the Articles 1, 2,9,22, and 30 of the Protocol A/P.1/7/91 relating to the community court of Justice and article 4, Paragraph 1 of the English version of the said Protocol and Protocol A/P2/12/01 relating to the ECOWAS BANK FOR Investment and development (EBID).