By Alva Mulbah Wolokolie
Besides the controversial passage of oil Block 13 by the 53rd Legislature, members of the House of Representatives have speedily concurred with the Liberian Senate prohibiting the Governor and members of the Board of Governors to contest any electable political offices while serving and even three years after resignation.This concurrence in the eyes of our reporter has been referred to as “4G” passage meaning in telecommunication system; it is the fourth generation of technology internet standards that is up to five times faster than 3G.
The concurrence of the Bill serves as an amendment to an Act which established the Central Bank of Liberia on March 18, 1999. The amended portion of the Act states “The Executive Governor of the CBL and members of the Board of Governors shall be prohibited to contest political office(s) while serving in their respective offices and shall not be qualified to contest any electable office within three years consecutively after the expiration of their tenure and in his/her resignation from the Central Bank of Liberia.”prohibited to contest political office(s) while serving in their respective offices and shall not be qualified to contest any electable office within three years consecutively after the expiration of their tenure and in his/her resignation from the Central Bank of Liberia.”
The sponsors of the Bill are Gbarpolu County Senator Armah Jallah, Lofa County Senator Sumo Kupee and Grand Kru County Senator, Peter Coleman. Senator Jallah told newsmen last week that the amendment to the Act is aimed at correcting mistakes made years back when the CBL Act was crafted.
The bill which was just passed last Thursday, February 13, 2014, by the Senate appeared before the members of the House yesterday with several Representatives crushingly voting in support of the Senate’s decision.
When the communication from the Senate was being read by the Chief Clerk in the Chambers of the House, most lawmakers including George Mulbah of Bong County; Acarous Gray, Montserrado County; Byron Brown of Grand Bassa and James Baniey of Maryland County among others argued that the passage of the Bill will protect the national coffers and save the country’s money that has been wastefully distributed in recent time by authorities of the CBL.
With less than five minutes while the document was already read and opened for discussion, a motion was proffered by Grand Gedeh County Representative, Alex Grant to silence the debate and as such Plenary should support or concur with the Senate.
Rep. Grant’s motion was met by stiff resistance when Rep. Munah Pelhum Youngblood of Montserrado County, Gabriel Smith of Grand Bassa, Bhofal Chambers of Maryland, and Eugene Fallah Kparkar of Lofa County vehemently opposed the concurrence of the Bill requesting copies of the amended portion of the Act before making an informed decision.
But House Speaker, Alex J. Tyler who was presiding at that session used his gavel to vehemently deny the voices of those lawmakers who felt that Plenary should not concur with the Senate on passage of the Act.
In less than ten minutes after Rep. Grant’s motion was disrupted, Speaker Tyler suppressed the recognition of all lawmakers who were against the passage of the Act and quickly asked Rep. Grant to re-state his motion.
And so the motion was restated with 37 lawmakers voting in favor of the Bill while 7 other lawmakers went against the passage. Immediately after the concurrence, Montserrado County District 13 Representative, Saah Joseph filed in a motion of reconsideration-meaning to redo the motion with divergent views.
Motion of reconsideration is part of the House’s own standing rules which most often it is tested on the following sitting day but Speaker Tyler used his authoritative seat to have the motion put to test.
When Rep. Joseph argued the motion that most lawmakers were not given the opportunity to speak on the issue and that copies of the document was not distributed as required by their own rules, Rep. James Baniey of Maryland dismissed his (Joseph’s) argument and urged the Speaker to proceed with the counting of votes.
Again a vote was taken as a result of the motion of reconsideration with 37 still in support of the bill, with 7 against. Those who voted against the bill include Gabriel Smith-Grand Bassa, Saah Joseph-Montserrado, Eugene Fallah Kparkar-Lofa, Bhofal Chambers-Maryland, Munah Pelhum Youngblood-Montserrado, Jeremiah Koung-Nimba, and Samuel Kongar-Nimba.
Interestingly, House Speaker suddenly instructed the Chief Clerk of the House to officially communicate with the Liberian Senate informing that August Body that they have agreed with the Senate’s action.