By Alva M. Wolokolie
County Senator, Joseph Nagbe, has alarmed that the incarceration of Supt. J. Milton Teahjay has taken a deep split among the county’s legislative caucus, the citizens with a report of hullabaloo, thus contributing to a tribal split among the Kru speaking group on one hand and the Sapo on the other side.
Supt. Teahjay was charged with contempt for impeding legislative function after he embarrassed Sinoe County District #3 Representative Matthew Zarzar. During Thursday Session at the Capitol Building, the Plenary of the House of Representatives voted and instructed its Sergeant-At-Arm, Gen Martin Johnson to escort Supt. Teahjay to the Monrovia Central Prison for 48 hours.
The contempt charge came as a result of a former complaint to that body by Sinoe County District #3 Rep. Mathew Zarzar, alleging that while exercising his oversight responsibility as a legislator by informing citizens and residents of the county on development issues and alleged misapplication of County Development Funds (CDF) at a local radio station (Voice of Sinoe), Supt. Teahjay allegedly walked to the station, assaulted and insulted Rep. Zarzar asking him to immediately walk out of the station’s premises with urgency.
But speaking to legislative reporters at his Capitol Building Office during a major news conference over the weekend, Senator, Joseph N. Nagbe said the situation is one of the worst events that have ever happened in the history of the county, describing Rep. Zarzar’s action as politically motivated.
According to Sen. Nagbe, Rep. Zarzar’s approach has brought members of the county Caucus and citizens of the county into what he called “Crack”, with the Kru and the Sapo seriously going against one another.
He said Rep. Zarzar carries the largest responsibility simply because he has no right to take the issue to Plenary to show his power, describing the action as power abuse, “Taking the issue to Plenary is a means of power abuse, I personally called Zarzar for us to resolve this issue, but he refused and he did not listen to me; now he has created himself into a mini ‘God’ and that the issue with Zarzar and Teahjay has huge implication back home,” he said.
Sen. Nagbe disclosed that the Kru speaking group in Sinoe is angry with Rep. Zarzar on ground that he refused to listen to them while the Sapo speaking group is rejoicing with him for masterminding the incarceration of their Kru son.
The Senator noted that the Representative provoked the situation by going on the radio. “You can’t challenge your friend in the name of status,” he said.
Sen. Nagbe who is a constitutional lawyer by profession argued that Teahjay’s imprisonment is a complete contravention under the doctrine of “separation of power” and is unconstitutional. The Senator agreed with the House decision concerning “contempt charge” as written in Article 44 of the organic law but disagreed that no lawmaker has the right to put someone in jail because the first branch of government is not a court house.
Nagbe, one of the longest serving lawmakers with immense experience blasted saying that there are three separate coordinate branches of government consistent with the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. He said the Legislature makes the law, the Executive enforces the law and the Judiciary interprets. Instead, the Sinoe County Senator told reporters it was proper that the House charge and turn Teahjay over to the Justice Ministry for further action.
At the same time, Sen. Nagbe, Rep. Jeremiah McCauley are said to be on one side while Sen. Mabutu Vlah Nyepan and Rep. Mathew Zarzar were on the other side of the argument that Supt. Teahjay be incarcerated for 48 hours.