Monrovia - The Senate Plenary has set Thursday, February 12th, 2015, as the date for the holding of elections for a new Senate Pro Tempore, to fill the gap created because of the ousting of the former Pro Tempore Gbezohngar Findley (Grand Bassa County) due to his ousting in the December Special Senatorial Elections.
Rule 19 of the Senate calls for elections within 30 working days after the announcement of said vacancy by the Secretary of Senate, in the case where the President Pro-Tempore is removed or expelled. But the current date set is far beyond that statutory period set by the rules. Making the disclosure Thursday, Senate Secretary Nanborlor Singhbe said three senators have qualified to contest the pending election.
Senators Armah Zulu Jallah (NPP-Gbapolu County) Joseph Nagbe (NDPL-Sinoe County) and Oscar Cooper (UP-Margibi County) have qualified to contest. Senator Joseph Nagbe one of the men vying for the seat is viewed as President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s favorite candidate by some of his colleagues as evidenced by the endorsement of his candidacy by the ruling Unity Party.
Senators Armah Jallah of the opposition National Patriotic Party (NPP) and Oscar Cooper of the ruling Unity Party (UP) have been accused of contesting for the seat because of some personal business interests. Though the date has been set of plenary, three seats are still vacant as legal proceedings are ongoing into three candidate’s results because of protest that landed them and the National Elections Commission of the Supreme Court.
Cllr. Varney Sherman was seen as one of the favorite for the post, but he might not have the chance to contest because he, Morris Saytumah and Tornalah have all not been seated in their official capacity as senators because of protests.
Recently, Dr. Fodee Kromah of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change in the Grand Cape Mount County senatorial election withdrew his complaint filed before the Supreme Court against the National Elections Commission for electoral irregularities in a process that announced Cllr. Sherman as winner of the process. Prior to the decision by Kromah to withdraw his complaint, the NEC after its investigation into the complaint, declared Cllr. Sherman and Saytumah as winners of the elections held in Grand Cape Mount and Bomi Counties.
In the NEC’s ruling read by its chairman Cllr. Jerome Korkoyah, the complaint filed against the Commission by two defeated candidates Dr. Kromah of Grand Cape Mount and former Senator Lahai Lassanah of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) in Bomi County had no magnitude and were not backed by evidence.
Of the 10 candidates in the Grand Cape Mount County senatorial race Cllr. Sherman of the Unity Party according to the NEC official results obtained the total of 13,651 votes with 61.7%, while his opponent Dr. Fodee Kromah received 3,431 total vote cast with 15.5%. Mr. Morris Saytumah of the (UP) obtained 8,857, of the total votes cast with 47%, while his opponent LANSANAH, Lahai Gbabye (NPP), obtained 6,837 of the total vote cast with 36%.
Article 47 of the Liberian constitution states that the Senate shall once every six years elect a Senate Pro-Tempore, who shall preside in the absence of the President of the Senate (Vice President) and such other officers as shall ensure the proper functioning of the Senate. The constitution also gives the power of the Senate to remove Pro-Tempore and other officers elect from office, by resolution of two-thirds majority of the members of the Senate.