Temperament, it is said, defies temperance and often provoke violence between actors when both sides equally become reactionary, which could have been the situation at the Upper Chambers recently when the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Rules, Order and Administration, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence of Grand Bassa County, exuded an act of insolence by pouring hot tea on her colleague Senator, Saah Joseph. The occasion was reportedly a time heads of national security institutions were invited to address the Senate on the growing waves of violence in the country. At session Senator Lawrence accused the Executive Committee Chair Joseph of ending the plenary abruptly, and then angrily poured the hot tea on the Montserrado County Senator, who presided at the time. Although Nyonblee Lawrence, wife of late Representative Adolph Lawrence, reportedly showed no remorse earlier, the scenario provoked scornful reactions from varying quarters that have branded the female senator as being unruly and impudent not only towards her senate colleague but also in protecting the image of the committee she chairs, the opposition bloc she is part of and the county she represents in the Senate. But with the out pour of massive criticisms, the Senator retorted and openly apologized; The ANALYST has been following the issue and reports.
Quizzed by legislative reporters why she poured the tea on the Senator, Senate Chairperson on the Rules, Order and administration Committee unremorsefully remarked, “I have no regret, if I have the opportunity, I will do it again.” Her stance was notwithstanding treated with temperance by her male counterpart, Senator Joseph, who told anxious reporters, “I will not respond to what she did but would do a formal complaint to plenary. We must be responsible as leaders of the people”.
Outpour of Public Criticisms
With some considering the attacks on Senator Joseph as an act which should have caused Nyonblee’s expulsion from the Senate had it been in a developed country, others said it was an act of vulgarity no matter the extent of what she though was the provocation.
“She should not have been the one to have done this act of violence that she perpetrated as an official of the senate and a female at that rate, considering that she was one of those who and others wrote a communication to plenary to invite national security heads to give account of violent incidences in the country including recent electoral violence in District #15 and other parts of Monrovia,” another critic said. .
Splashing hot tea on the presiding officer of August 22, 2019 session of the senate in person of Sen. Saah H. Joseph of Montserrado County, a public reaction said, disqualifies her from the claim that she abhors violence, saying that one who claim to be anti-violence should not be at the same time ferocious in attitude at official functions such as the Senate public hearing.
During the session, the Police Director and other invitees from the executive branch of government were given the opportunity by the presiding officer to provide an investigative reports on recent electoral violence in District #15.
After the presentation of pictorial and video footages tailored in a manner that had indicated that the violence was orchestrated by opposition candidate Telia Urey and supporters, a hot tea was poured on the face of Sen. Saah Joseph by Widow Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence of Grand Bassa County for abruptly closing the session which she claimed disallow questioning, other sources said.
The deportment by Senator Lawrence against Senator Saah Joseph, who was reported to have been elected recently on the senate committee on Executive on a white ballot and have presided over the Thursday, August 22, 2019 session, caused the Liberian Senate to erupt in an uncontrollable noise.
“I am ashamed and extremely disappointed that a senator from my hometown could do this. What lessons are we teaching our young people? To resort to violence even if someone disagrees with us? NEVER! My Senator, you are very wrong on this one!” another reaction said.
The critic said “It is sadden, disgusting and totally embarrassing for a respected female senator who many Liberians have great respect for to descend so low emotionally in temporary insanity by pouring hot water on her fellow senator,” pointing out that this act exhibited by Widow Sen Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence is a clear violation of the Code of Conduct for Honorable members of the House of Senate.
“It will interest you to know that the HE4SHE campaign implemented by UNDP in partnership with the government of Liberia has called for the intervention of more men in defending women’s right, but Sen. Lawrence’s deliberate action has placed her below the epic center of women consciousness which has called for women of Liberia to have respect for their husbands,” MyPea Gonyon, a disappointed female has lamented in her reaction, calling on Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence to apologize to Sen Saah Joseph for the violence perpetrated against him.
MyPea nevertheless appreciated Senator Joseph for his courage to maintain his integrity as the father of the home, which she said has won her admiration for the Senator.
UP Official Reacts to Sen. Lawrence
For his part, the Unity Party’s Assistant Secretary General, Mr. Mo Ali, has said Liberians should “condemn in the highest form” the act of violence perpetrated by Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence against her Senate colleague Saah Joseph of Montserrado County at the Capitol Building.
The Liberia News Agency (LINA) which lifted the reaction by Mo Ali said Senator Lawrence admitted that she slapped Senator Joseph in the face for purportedly “prematurely” ending a session which he was presiding over when the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police appeared before the Senate to elaborate on the growing wave of violence in the country.
“As an individual who always follow my conscience, I like to objectively say that the act by Senator Nyonblee Karngar Lawrence against her colleague Senator Saah Joseph of the CDC, should be condemned in the highest form; we as a people can’t watch our leaders behave so low, wasting hot water or coffee on Hon. Saah Joseph outside the legislative theatre is an act of violence against a man,” said Mo Ali.
He also cautioned Liberians to think twice and condemn the act of violence against women, especially the electoral violence in District 15, Montserrado County.
Senator Abraham Darius Dillon
Also speaking to the situation, newly elected Senator of the Liberty Party, Senator Abraham Darius Dillon, said Sen. Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence is a great character and a woman of honor; she is a human being too. She will do the honorable and courageous thing. She will reach out to Sen. Saah Joseph. We will ensure that said unforeseen incident does not occur again, she said.
Senator Dillon, in his comment on his Facebook Page regarding the Nyonblee Lawrence brouhaha, said Senator Lawrence is a great character and a woman of honor.
Dillon also noted that she is a human being too. She will do the honorable and courageous thing to reach out to Senator Saah Joseph. “We will ensure that said unforeseen incident does not occur again,” he added.
But the Senator Nyonblee Lawrence summersaulted in the wake of criticisms and apologized to Senator Joseph in her Facebook post. In her post, Senator Lawrence expressed regrets and disappointed over what she did to her fellow Senator. “Sen. Saah Joseph is my seatmate and he can vouch for my character”, she said in a Facebook post.
She, however, said it is more frustrating being the only woman “in the midst of 29 men fighting with few men for the redemption of our country”. The Grand Bassa Senator, questioned the hope of Liberians amidst the country’s dwindling economy, security crisis and the growing fear amongst Liberians,” she asked.
Based on all these factors, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence said she lost her temper and expressed regrets. “I am sorry that I disappointed my supporters and even people who don’t support me. We needed a wakeup call and I am sure we will make progress knowing that this has claimed the attention of everyone,” she said.
She then promised a letter of apology that is on the way to the office of Montserrado County Senator who she promised a hug on Tuesday,” adding, “We do fight as leaders in many ways!!!”
Also appearing on Radio Bushrod, Madam Lawrence said she had learned from the incident and pleaded for forgiveness from the Senate, her family and citizens who might have been offended by her action.
“It is therefore with deep sense of remorse and responsibility that, I, Sen. Nyongblee Karnga Lawrence, profoundly apologize to all Liberians, the Senate, my friends as well as my family” she said in her live radio appearance.