Senate Maintains Old Rules For Leadership Election

By C. Winnie Saywah-Jimmy

The plenary of the Liberian Senate might keep constant Rule 19 Section 3 on the conduct of its leadership election as the President of the Liberian Senate is yet to name a special committee to conduct the amendment of its rules as was instructed by that body.   On Tuesday’s sitting, the Committee on Rules, Order and Administration presented a five-count proposed guideline on the election of a president pro-tempore and other members of the vacant leadership committees in which it quoted the old provision of Rule 19 as its basis.

In the proposed guidelines which was addressed to the acting presiding officer, Dan Morias, the committee informed the plenary that the guidelines is consistent with the mandate of that body and in keeping with section 19 3(f) of the Senate Rules.

Rule 19 section 3(f) states: “The election shall be conducted consistent with guidelines approved by the plenary prior to the date of said elections.” but instead of focusing on the appointment of the special committee to work on correcting the rules, the President of the Senate, Joseph Boakai has gone ahead to appoint members to the Rules, Order and Administration Committee to draft guidelines consistent with the same fragmented rules.

According to the communication accompanying the guidelines, the Committee told the plenary that the three members were appointed to join the three original members so as to draw the proposed guidelines/procedures and notation for the conduct of free, fair, transparent and peaceful Senate Leadership Elections.

Without questioning the reason for relying on the rule as it is to hold the election, the committee now comprised of some lawmakers who were pushing for the amendment to the rules informed plenary praying that the guidelines be adopted which in the informed position shall guide the process of elections of the Senate President Pro-tempore and all other available leadership positions.

The proposed guidelines which had no attached date for the holding of the leadership elections states; “All duly seated Senators who apply are eligible to contest any vacant leadership position in the Liberian Senate; provided however that each intending Senator shall have the required 3 years for said post; any Senator serving on the leadership of the Liberian Senate who makes an application for a vacant elective position shall be deemed to have resigned his/her current Chairmanship position and generally, elections for all vacancies that may be created for Chairpersons in the Leadership Committee shall be held within a week following the induction of the President Pro-tempore.”

Other parts of the guidelines further state that, “On the prescribed date for elections to leadership position(s), aspirants for available positions shall be required to make a 10-minute presentation in the case of the President Pro-tempore and five minutes presentation in the case of a chairperson of a leadership committee to the Plenary of the Liberian Senate and that voting shall be by secret ballot, and shall be conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner.”

However, the guidelines as set, seeks to correct some of the lapses in the rules governing that body’s affairs.