“Stop Violating the Constitution” -Senators Tell Colleagues; Shun Session -Senate suspends online chartrooms
River Gee County Senator Conmany B. Wesseh and Gbarpolu County Senator Daniel Nathan asserted that the repeated and flagrant violations of the Liberian constitution and the Senate’s own rules must stop. The two senators noted that disrespect shown by some of their fellow colleagues for the law and the Liberian Constitution was causing the people of Liberia to lose trust and faith in the Legislature.
Senators Wesseh and Nathan Senators made the statement when they protested the convening of regular Plenary Session of the Senate in the absence of a quorum on Tuesday, April 2, 2019 insisting that the presiding Senator, Maryland County Lawmaker H. Dan Morias should not go ahead with the plenary session because of a lack of quorum.
Both Senators, who appeared visibly annoyed, said after “unconstitutionally” impeaching and removing former Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh from office last Friday, the same trend of the disregard for rule of law was continuing on Tuesday.
They argued that this was against the Senate rules, pointing out that the Tuesday Senate Session was in fact without an agenda; a reason for which Senator Wesseh later walked out of Tuesday’s session, accusing the body of illegally doing business.
“We saw the last time the lapses that led us to removed from office an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; today, we do not even have a quorum, and you are taking a decision contrary to our own rules that say you must have half of the total membership of the senate to do any business,” the River-Gee County Senator reminded his colleagues.
He said he was baffled that his colleagues would choose to hold discussions on serious matters; some of which border on constitutional amendment in clear violation of the standing rules of the senate in the absence of quorum.“You want to go ahead and debate them even when you do not have a quorum”, Sen. Wesseh said.
However, the Presiding Senator Morias, who is Chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, dismissed their claims.He said close to ten absent Senators had sent in excuses, some of which were on his mobile phone. Therefore, they could not be considered absent.
“I think I need to educate whoever says that, I think they are not reading the rules”. He however said he would not bring any of his colleagues to public disrepute, adding that he respects their views and holds them in high esteem.
The Senate in Liberia has suspended two chart rooms, citing leakage of information especially during proceedings leading to the impeachment of former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Kabineh Ja’neh.
In another development, the online chartrooms, which were created to facilitate exchange of information among senators, has been suspended by the Senate’s leadership, the Presiding Senator at Tuesday’s session announced in the chambers.
Senator Morias announced that the chatrooms will remain suspended until regulatory measures are put in place to ensure proper management.
The decision, he pointed out, is in the interest of the senate, while acknowledging their own failure to put in place regulatory measures from the establishment of the chart rooms.
“We didn’t create guidelines for the usage of the chart rooms,” he told legislative reporters Tuesday at the Capitol.
The recent impeachment of former Associate Justice Ja’neh has bitterly divided the Senate, with some describing the move as gross violation of the constitution and a bad legal precedent. Courtesy of Newspublictrust