-Sen Zargo asserts; throws hat into Pro Tempore race
The chairman of the Senate Statutory Committee on National Security, Defense, Intelligence and Veteran Affairs has announced his candidacy for the position of President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate, which vacancy will be declared next Tuesday.
“There is no better time to unite ourselves, the Legislature, than now; and more besides, we have to geographically balance this country in this critical period of our country’s history,” Lofa County Senator Stephen J. H. Zargo said at a press conference yesterday in his Capitol Building office in Monrovia.
Zargo told Legislative reporters that his decision to vie for the Pro Temp position was communicated to his colleagues in a letter dated December 5, 2017, but with a caveat that he would not do so in the event that Vice President Joseph Boakai were to win the Presidential election, “because both of us are from the same political sub-division of Lofa County.”
But with the victory of Senator George Weah as the next President of Liberia, Senator Zargo said there was a need for a geographical balance especially with increasing signs that strong candidates are emerging for the posts of Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Pro Tempore of the Senate, all from Southeastern region.
“Despite the Monrovia factor regarding Senator Weah, it is inarguably true that the President-elect hails from Grand Kru County, the same district as one of my opponents in the race,” Zargo disclosed in an apparent reference to Grand Kru County Senator Albert Tugbe Chie.
Senate Zargo underscored the need to correct the mistake of the past government when the President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Senate Pro Temp hailed from the same county and sub-region.
If elected, Zargo said his immediate priority will be the introduction of basic short, medium and long-term capacity building of the staffers of the Legislature for their effective and efficient services to the Liberian people.
“We will have to re-brand the image of the Legislature by the systems and policies we establish in order to reclaim the public trust and the respect that we deserve as individual lawmakers and collectively as an institution,” Senator Zargo affirmed.
Zargo, a former security expert and a practicing lawyer, told journalists that he is currently holding discussions with institutions such as Center for Security Development and Rule of Law, the International Security Sector Advisory Team, and the UNDP to “conduct training for staffers who will serve as institutional memory, even while we are no longer serving as legislators.”
Strengthening the Senate’s relationship with the other branches of the government, Zargo said, is a demanding obligation if the country must move forward, and that mutual respect for fellow Senators must crown such an effort.
“We must provide a leadership that has the commitment to protect our economy and upholds institutional integrity, and my role is to provide a leadership that will work selflessly with the new government in answering to the calls of our people; a change for the good of every Liberian,” he added.