A week after electing Gbarpolu County Senator Armah Zolu Jallah President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate, that body yesterday in fulfillment of its Standing Rules, elected chairpersons of its Statutory Committees and representatives to three international bodies.
Though conducted in an open, free and fair atmosphere, the election like most electoral proceedings did not go on without some drama and surprises.
It all started when new comers to the Senate Conmany B. Wesseh (River Gee), and Daniel Flomo Naatehn (Gbarpolu) together with Montserrado County Senator Geraldine Doe-Sherif were named as candidates for the committee on Executive, which is one of the coveted statutory committees.
However, Senator Naatehn immediately announced that he was withdrawing from the race, saying it would not be prudent for him to participate because he and Pro Tempore Jallah hail from the same county and that the Executive committee post is a leadership one as is the Pro Tempore.
Senator Wesseh who was called on to make a five-minute pre-election comment, in a surprise move, announced that he was not available for the election, meaning that he was no longer a candidate even though he voted for other candidates who vied for other posts.
The River Gee lawmaker said he had hoped that in the name of reconciliation, individuals would have been appointment to positions the Senate believes they are competent and qualified to ably perform and not through elections.
The two withdrawals left Senator Doe-Sherif as the lone candidate, and Bong County Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor cast the white ballot to elect her the new Chairperson on Executive.
In a close race, the Senate voted 15 for Grand Cape Mount County Senator Edward Boakai Dagoseh, against Grand Gedeh County Senator G. Alphonso Gaye as the new Chair of the Committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget.
For the post of Chair on Rules, Order and Administration, the lone candidate Lofa County Senator George Tamba Tengbeh received the white ballot cast by Senator George Manneh Weah.
Another interesting drama during yesterday’s proceedings occurred when River Cess Senator Francis Saturday Paye who had earlier announced his candidacy for the post of Chair on the committee of Internal Affairs, Governance and Reconciliation, mysteriously disappeared from the Chambers and failed to appeared when his name was announced by the Secretary of the Senate to mount the podium for pre-election comments.
His name however, remained on the ballot and in the voting process he was massively defeated 18-3 by Nimba County Senator Thomas S. Grupee.
For elections of three representatives to international bodies, Grand Bassa County Senator Jonathan Kaipay, the ‘David who beat Goliath’, former Pro Tempore Gbehzohngar Findley, was voted on white ballot to represent the Senate at the Inter-Parliament Union (IPU).
Montserrado County Senator and Congress for Democratic Change political leader George Weah, and Nimba County political godfather Prince Yormie Johnson were nominated and unanimously voted to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament; while River Cess Senator Dallas A.V. Gueh was elected to represent the Senate at the Pan African Parliament.
Election for arguably one of the most important statutory committees, the committee on Judiciary, Claims, Petitions and Human Rights chaired by Sinoe County Senator Joseph N. Nagbe was postponed as it was discovered that the lone candidate, Matthew Zargo of Lofa County, had withdrawn.
All eyes may now turn to the most recently certified Grand Cape Mount County Senator and Chairman of the ruling Unity Party, Cllr Varney Nabir Gboto Sherman, whom from all indications, is the sole favorite to replace Senator Nagbe who is not contesting to retain that post.