Monrovia, 16 January, 2018 – In the West African nation of Liberia, less than a week to the inauguration of President-Elect George Weah to succeed outgoing president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, lawmakers on Monday convened the first session of the 54th Legislature where a new corp of leadership was selected.
Maryland County Rep. Bhofal Chambers emerged as Speaker unopposed while Bong County Rep. Prince K. Moye was elected deputy speaker over Grand Bassa County Rep. Hans Barchue, who previously held that position.
But the election of Sinoe County Senator Albert T. Chie as president pro-tempore astonished political analysts who voiced criticisms that both legislative and executive powers have now gone to the southeast of the small West African nation, since President-elect Weah also hails from Sinoe in the southeast.
But the new President Pro-Tempore Senator Chie of Sinoe differs, arguing that Weah had been Senator of Montserrado County; an unamusing reality since Weah ran and won and has been Senator for Montserrado County since 2014.
Yet Weah has, at no point, ever denied the truism of his roots in Sinoe County in southeastern Liberia, Senator Chie argued.
Meanwhile, outgoing Vice President Joseph Boakai and former House Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay on Monday turned over their offices to their respective successors.
Vice President-elect Jewel Howard praised Dr. Boakai for his fine leadership as leader of the Liberian Senate during the past twelve years, and suggested retention of some of Boakai’s key staff for her start-off, saying “ we will be new to this office”.
In another political development, barely one week before President Sirleaf hand over power to her successor Weah, executives of the outgoing ruling Unity Party (UP) have expelled the Standard Bearer Emeritus President Johnson-Sirleaf and others including Commany Wesseh and Medina S. Wesseh for what has been described as party “disloyalty and gross violation of its constitution”.
Executives of the ruling Unity Party (UP), in a statement issued over the weekend in Monrovia, accused the expelled members of “campaigning for the CDC.”
But President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf rebuked the action as “illegal”, saying there was not even a due process prior to taking of the action.
Liberians are divided over this strange development as they countdown to a historical democratic transition never seen for more than seven decades since William VS Tubman was inaugurated on 3rd January 1944. President elect George Weah will be inaugurated on January 22nd to succeed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
By Tepitapia Sannah in Monrovia