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Representatives On Re-Election Spree?…As 29 Out Of 73 Resume Final Session

By Precious D. Freeman

While it is no secret that all 73 Representatives are vacating their seats and could be opting for re-election in October, yet, consistent with Chapter 5, Article 32 (a) of the 1986 Constitution, it is incumbent on the Legislature to assemble in regular session once a year on the second working Monday in January.

In spite of the effect of the national holidays placed on the legislative events, it seems as most of the representatives have apparently gone on campaign-spree.

However, Monday, January 16, 2023 being the second official working Monday in line with the national calendar, no member of the 54th Legislature should have been excused from attending except in cases of illness.

Legislative pundits have begun analyzing that the gathering of Representatives at the resumption of the Legislature’s 6th and final session is a show of legislators’ desperation to return and therefore the work of the people at that first branch of government might be given less attention.

With yesterday’s formal opening, the session was poorly attended with a head count of 29 Representatives and not even up to five ill or travelled out of the 73, which signifies that there was no quorum for the body to carry out the business of the Liberian people.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Bhofal Chambers said that 2023 has been scheduled by law for the conduct of the national elections, involving two out of the three branches of the Liberian Government, precisely, the Executive and the Legislature, and that is dictated by our laws.

“It is my impassioned and or fervent hope and prayer that we all will meet again in session in the year 2024. May such realization come out of the grace and blessings of the Divine Arbiter of human destiny,” he added.

According to him, 2022 has ended, and it should be their collective prayer that all the adversities, challenges, distractions and maniacal political thinking and attitudes end with it, and that this 2023 should kindle a spirit of oneness, patriotism and harmony as they sail through this electioneering period.

“Our today’s convocation in this sacred chamber is in consonance with Article 32(a) of the Liberian Constitution. We have now come with a high sense of responsibility, renewed energy, vision and preparedness, to fulfill this very important Clause or Article of the Constitution,” he asserted.

He stated further that last year was one to be described as “Annus Mirabilis,” which means, an auspicious or remarkable year; a year of wonders or miracles.       

Speaker Chambers maintained that as a government, in the year 2022, they experienced some degree of socio-political and economic challenges with a constructive governance architecture, and that they as a Legislature, specifically the House of Representatives meaningfully and dutifully worked with the other branches of government to realign all programs for the assurance of positive outcomes.

Given the records for the year 2022, at the 5th sitting of the 54th Legislature, several legislative actions were taken including; 65 Regular Sessions, 1 Special Session, 36 Executive Sessions, 24 Appearances of Ministers or Directors with total Sessions or Appearances 125.

He furthered that others include: total number of bills introduced in the House with 117,  total number of bills passed 74, number of Executive bills passed 53, number of Senate bill concurred with 5, number of house bills passed 12, number of house joint resolution passed 3, number of certificate extension passed 1, total number of bills in committee room 58, number of house bills in committee room 33, number of senate bills in committee room 9, number of executive bills in committee room 12 and number of petitions in Committee Room 4.

“As it is explicit in the Liberian Constitution, the Preamble clearly encourages us, the people’s direct Representatives, to exercise our natural and inalienable rights by establishing a framework of Government for the purpose of promoting unity, liberty, peace, stability, equality, justice and human rights under the rule of law, with opportunities for political, social, moral, spiritual and cultural advancement of our society, for ourselves and for posterity. There is a glaring signal for all of us to do our work in this 2023 with dedication, commitment, character, and a deep sense of patriotic fervor or alertness,” speaker Chambers stated.

“Let us all, with clearer lenses, in the true spirit of objective reality, keenly observe the social mood of our people, the influences that drive them, their social attitude and actions. With this position, we can all, in concert, address the needs of our people adequately.  In all that we do, let us put our people first,” Speaker Chambers said.

The event, though colorful as usual by the hoisting of the flags of each county along with the Liberian flag by the Sargent At-Arms and their principal deputies, member of the Legislature present looked upbeat dressed modestly marched into their respective chambers to begin the business of the day.

It can be recalled that the lawmakers adjourned their 3rd Quarter Sessions prior to the Christmas on December 8, 2022.

Upon the resumption of normal legislative work, members of that august body are expected to give due consideration to the scrutiny and passage of the draft national budget that was submitted before the break as well as other sensitive legislations.

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