— As Speaker Chambers declares campaign open
House Speaker Bhofal Chambers, according to floor proceedings, has formally announced the vacancy for the Deputy Speaker position and declared the campaign for the position opened, encouraging members of the House of Representatives with interest in the position to begin consultations or campaign.
The Speaker also told his colleagues that today, the 1st day sitting of the 4th session, will see debates as part of the agenda for normal business of the day.
The debates today will decide whether the election should be held or deferred, but most Representives in the corridors of the Capitol Building yesterday were insisting that the election be held urgently to fill the vacancy of the Deputy Speaker in order to allow appointments of Committees to prepare for the 4th Annual Message of the President.
“We want to inform the body that our colleagues are now authorized to engage in free and normal legislative duties, including vying for the vacancy for the post of Deputy Speaker; so we declare that the post is vacant and members with interest can commence consultations,” Speaker Chambers announced.
The Speaker’s pronouncement gave rise to a communication from the National Elections Commission (NEC) read by Chief Clerk Mildred Sayon, on the election and certification of Deputy Speaker and Bong County District #2 Representative, Prince K. Moye. Moye, who had served as Deputy Speaker since 2018.
The Chief Clerk, who is regarded as the Chief Administrator of the House of Representatives, said the communication from NEC, which declared the former Deputy Speaker as the winner in Bong County in the just ended Special Senatorial Elections held on December 8, 2020, serves as a legal document to the Speaker to conduct an election to fill the leadership gap in the House of Representatives.
“So, Mr. Speaker, this information constitutes authority in ensuring the conduct of an election at your earliest convenience for the leadership of the House of Representatives to be complete,” Madam Sayon said.
There are reports of growing interest for the Deputy Speaker position, though five have publicly declared their intentions for the seat. The five include Rep. J. Fonati Koffa, Rep. Clarence Massaquoi, Rep. Moima Briggs-Mensah, Rep. Rustonlyn Dennis and Rep. Samuel Kogar. Representative Crayton O. Duncan, who was one of the contestants, publicly declared yesterday that he was backing off.
In his opening statement of the 4th Session to his colleagues earlier, Speaker Chambers said as 2020 has ended, it should be the collective prayer of every colleague that all the adversities, challenges, distractions and harsh political attitudes end with it, and that 2021 should bring lasting peace, success and harmony.
“Honorable Colleagues! The year before (2020) was one to be described as an “Annus Horribilis”, which means, it was one not complementary to a wonderful year. We lost two of our Members, Hon. Munah Pelham Youngblood and Hon. Jaybloh Nagbe Sloh. Others who fell to the cold hands of death included, Hon. Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan, former Senator of Sinoe County and Minister of Public Works, Hon. Lahai Gbagbye Lansanah, Sr., former Acting President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, and Hon. Malai Gouto Gbogar, former Member of the House of Representatives of the 53rd National Legislature. May the divine Architect of all Human events grant them lasting peace. For all of those solely from the other branches of government, we pray for their eternal rest,” said Speaker Chambers.
He said 2020 experienced severe shocks ranging from politics to the economy and health.
“In terms of politics, we saw a polarized field; the economy, the paucity of the Liberian Dollar or Currency was pronounced, especially at the advent of and during the festive season; for health, the COVID-19 Pandemic created serious panic amongst the population, thereby rendering our people vulnerable and stagnating the economy. We vouch to surmount or overcome those hurdles or obstacles with renewed vigor,” Speaker Chambers noted.
The Speaker added: “The scarcity or shortage of the Liberian Dollars in circulation was alarming. However, workable solutions are within reach. It is obvious that, reasonably, money in sizeable quantity should still be available for fluid transactional purposes.”
He argued that there is a compelling need to institute serious action-oriented frameworks or laws to address the evil network of hoarding, which resulted in the shortage of Liberian dollars during the festive season.
“Honorable Colleagues! Based on the totality of the circumstances, if the threat of hoarding persists, be it currency hoarding or commodity hoarding, the cruel face of a “state within a state” will creep in, inclusive of forces which could function or operate with manipulative impunity, thereby undermining our body politic,” he opined.