Home Governance Deal Sealed! …Senators Choose Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence As Senate Pro-Tempore

Deal Sealed! …Senators Choose Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence As Senate Pro-Tempore

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By: H. Richard Fallah

HARBEL, MARGIBI: Credible information gathered by The INDEPENDENT revealed that majority members of the Liberian Senate have reached a consensus to elect Grand Bassa County Senator, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, on ‘White Ballot’ as the President Pro-Tempore of the 55th Legislature.
According to our source who observed the Senate Retreat over the weekend, several Senators: new and old met in a one-day retreat held on Saturday, January 13, 2024, at the Farmington Hotel in Harbel City, Margibi County, to conclude on who becomes the next President Pro-Tempore of the Senate.
Our sources confided that of the many Senators who attended the Farmington`s Retreat, twenty-four (24) of the thirty (30), selected the Grand Bassa County Senator, after an agreement was reached on the distribution of various statutory Committees.
The newly expected leadership of the Senate as agreed upon by the Senators, include; Maryland County Senator, James P. Biney-Chairman on Executive; Lofa County Senator, Augustine Chie – Chairman on Judiciary; another Maryland Couty Senator, J. Gblebo-Brown- Chairman on Rules, Order and Administration; Montserrado County Senator, Abraham Darius Dillon- Chairman on Foreign Affairs; Bong County Senator, Prince K. Moye- Chairman on Ways, Means and Budget; another Montserrado County Senator, Saah H. Joseph- Chairman on Health.
Others include: Grand Kru County Senator, and outgoing President Pro-tempore Albert T. Chie- Chairman on Public Works and Rural Development; Gbarpolu County Senator, Amara Mohammed Konneh- Chairman on Public Accounts and Audits; River Gee County Senator, Jonathan Boye-Charles Sogbie-Chairman on Maritime, and Grand Cape Mount County Senator, Simeon B. Taylor- Chairman on Lands, Mines, Energy and Natural Resources while Bomi County Senator, Edwin Melvin Snowe- retained his role at the ECOWAS Parliament.
As intense lobby is currently ongoing for others committee posts, the Senate Leadership election is expected in the Chambers of the Liberian Senate at the Capitol Building on Capitol Hill.
It is likely that due to the Saturday’s consensus at Farmington, a ‘White Ballot’ is expected to be cast in favor of Senator Karngar-Lawrence.

The female Senator’s chances of grabbing such a powerful seat within the governance structure of Liberia, has become clearer and unhindered especially after such a very strong consensus over the week-end.
The 1986 Constitution Article 47 states: “The Senate shall elect every six years a President Pro Tempore who shall preside in the absence of the President of the Senate, and such other officer as shall ensure the proper functioning of the Senate”
In addition, the Senate possesses several exclusive powers under the Constitution, including the power to advice and consent to the President’s appointments to both the Executive and Judicial Branches; and the duty to try all public officials impeached by the House of Representatives.
The office of the President Pro-Tempore role is to assume the responsibilities of the President of the Senate, (who is also the Vice President of the Republic of Liberia), when absent.

As the Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate, who is also a Senator of a County; is just considered “First Amongst Equal” and oversee rules, procedures and further presides over regular sessions during plenary discussions but during the Vice President’s absence.
Except when necessary or to highlight important votes, the Vice President and the President Pro Tempore Rarely Preside; instead, the duty of Presiding Officer is rotated to give Senators experience in parliamentary procedure.
Unlike the Vice President, the President Pro Tempore cannot cast vote to break a tie-on vote when the Senate is evenly divided.
The President Pro-Tempore also enjoyed many privileges and some limited powers.
With the above constitutional mandate, and from all indications, the Liberian Senate is close to making an unprecedented history, as they prepare to elect the second female Senate Pro-Tempore in the nation’s recent history.

Many political and legislative analysts are of the conviction that Senator Karngar-Lawrence, based on her experienced and leadership ability, can produce and deliver the rightful results.
The Grand Bassa County female Senator’s election as Pro-Tempore in the 55th legislature will bring back the memories of the first female Pro-Tempore in the history of the Country, Madam Grace Beatrice Minor, who once served as Senator of Montserrado County and President Pro- Tempore of the Liberian Senate from 2002 to 2003.

If announced today, Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence will replace Senator Albert Tugbe Chie of Grand Kru County, who is now supporting her candidature after he served that position for six years.
She is the first female Senator of Grand Bassa County, serving her second term after being reelected in 2020.
Gbosaydeh, (inheritance) as she is affectionately referred to in her native land of Bassa, is also women’s rights campaigner, social justice activist who currently chairs the “Women Legislative Caucus.”
She was first elected to the Senate in 2013 to replace the late Grand Bassa County Senator, John Francis Whitfield, and was re-elected during the 2020 Special Senatorial elections.

Throughout her first term, she stood as the only female in a Senate comprising 29 men.

Despite facing attempts by her male colleagues in the Senate to distract her, she did not give-up as she remained focused and persistent in her advocacies for good governance, a fight, which provoked nicknames relating to her such as the “lioness” and the “iron lady of the Senate” by many of her admirers across Liberia.
As Senator, Nyonblee has dedicated her time, energy, and resources to amplify the voices of Liberians, particularly those at the lowest socio-economic levels. She continues to confront powerful forces that threaten the economic and social well-being of the Liberian people.

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