LIBERIA: Senator Punished For Calling Colleagues “Puppets”

sen nyanteeA member of the Liberian senate has been punished by his colleagues for making comments that they said appeared to have brought the leadership and the body to public ridicule and disrepute.

Gbarpolu County Senator Daniel F. Naatehn was recently restrained at the Capitol by plenary for openly making statements that bring the integrity of the senate in public disgrace.

On March 3, 2016, Senator Naatehn described the Senate headed by his kinsman, Armah Jallah as weak and that most committee members are being controlled by the Senate Pro-tempt.

He also referred to committee heads at the Senate as “puppets” who dance to the tune of Armah Jallah and do not work as independent people and that they were elected to represent their respective counties.

Senator Naatehn also claimed that committees’ chairpersons at the senate have on several occasions failed to operate independently instead, await the Pro tempt to decide the final approach of their committee’s report.

However, plenary rebuffed, their colleague’s assertion and said his comment has brought them to public ridicule, describing it as “wrong concept” in approaching issue as a lawmaker.

Although Sen. Naatehn later apologized and asked his colleagues to pardon him, but plenary have instructed him to publish his apology in five local dailies regretting his comments.

The Senators told their colleague to ensure that copies of his published apology are made available every day for verification.

Several senators including Jonathan Kaipay, Henry Yallah, Geraldine Doe-Sheriff, Sando Johnson, Peter Coleman and Francis Paye expressed disappointment for making such a comment that denigrates the same body he’s part of.

Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff of Montserrado County wondered how Naatehn would feel if someone from the public issues such demeaning comment against the Legislature that he’s a member; when he has already taken the lead to do so.

“Look in the faces of individual Senators sitting in here; do you see ‘mumu’ (stupid) senators. We are all independent people and work independently-so such characterization was not good,” Geraldine Doe-Sheriff said.

For Senator Sando Johnson, he described his colleague’s comment as being unfair because they are not puppets and are not being controlled and cannot be controlled by Pro-tempt Jallah.

Senator Jonathan Kaipay of Grand Bassa County advised Naatehn to take Gbarpolu politics out of the Senate’s Plenary because his comment was triggered by political conflict within the county.

Bong County Senator Henry Yallah said the punishment would serve as a deterrent to other lawmakers who are in the habit of going against the standing rules of the Senate by using the media to ridicule it.

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About Cholo Brooks 13357 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.