The hopes of all the contestants for the Speakership of the House of Representatives were today dashed when the Justice-in-Chambers Justice Sie-A-Nyene Gyapay Youh upheld a prohibition against the election of a new Speaker, which was scheduled for today in the William R. Tolbert Joint Chambers on Capitol Hill, Monrovia.
The ‘Writ of Prohibition’ was issued late yesterday evening at the end of a day time campaign – and on the eve of the nighttime political operations for the replacement of former Speaker Alex Tyler.
Montserrado County District # 15 Representative Adolph Lawrence and former Speaker J. Alex Tyler respectively prayed the High Court for the prohibition against the election of the new Speaker, according to reports.
It was gathered that a conference between Rep. Lawrence and Deputy Speaker Hans M. Barchue et al, will be held today at 10:00 a.m. in the Chambers of Justice Sie-A-Nyene Gyapay Youh, while another conference between Speaker Tyler and Deputy Speaker Hans M. Barchue el al will also be held today at 12:00 noon.
Tyler’s appeal comes in the wake of plans by the House of Representatives to hold an election for a new Speaker.
At a special session on Friday September 30, the Plenary of the House of Representatives voted and set Tuesday October 4 as the day for the election.
Former Speaker Tyler reportedly petitioned Associate Court Justice-in-Chambers Kabineh Ja’neh for the issuance of a ‘Writ of Prohibition’ against Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue for Tyler’s ‘illegal’ removal as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The Writ of Prohibition, filed by former Speaker Tyler’s lawyer Cllr. Johnny Momo, requested the court to “Prohibit, enjoin and restrain respondent from any act or conduct purporting or intending to elect or select a successor to petitioner as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Appoint a date and time for the respondents to file their returns to show cause, if any, why the preemptory writ should not be issued by your honor.”
In his petition the ousted Speaker further begged the court to command and order that all matters return to the status quo and wants the court to declare null and void the respondents’ attempt to oust and remove the petitioner from the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives because the proceedings conducted were not in compliance with the Constitution and the House’s Standing Rules.
He further said the court should undo any act and conduct from his colleagues that were illegal.
On Tuesday September 27, forty-nine (49) members of the House of Representatives signed a resolution to remove Speaker Alex Tyler from his position as Speaker of the House of Representatives. The decision is in keeping with Article 49 of the Constitution.
Article 49 of the Constitution states that the House of Representatives shall elect once every six years, a Speaker who shall be the presiding officer of that body, a Deputy Speaker and such other officers as shall ensure the proper functioning of the House.
The Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and other officers so elected may be removed from office for cause by resolution of two-thirds majority of the members of the House.
There are 73 members of the House of Representatives and two-third of that number—49—removed Alex Tyler. The decision of the 49 members came as a result of a report from the Committee on Rules, Order and Administration, who recommended that in keeping with the House of Representatives’ Rules 48.1and 48.3 in the committee’s report, it was unanimously recommended that Tyler be removed from his position as Speaker of the House of Representatives, a position he holds by privilege of the members of the House of Representatives.
The committee’s report is a result of a mandate by the Plenary of the House of Representatives to investigate complaints brought before that body by Representative Henry Fahnbulleh of Montserrado County and Samuel Korgar of Nimba County, who accused Tyler of taking bribes and other criminal conducts relating to his position as Speaker.
However, Rep. Lawrence’s petition to the High Court is yet to be made public, but reports say it is about the stoppage of the Speaker’s election
Meanwhile, Rule #10 of the House’s Rules and Procedures requires the election of the Speaker within 60 days after the office of the Speaker shall become vacant by reason of removal, death, resignation, inability or other disabilities.
Up to yesterday afternoon (4:00 p.m.), the office of Chief Clerk Mildred Sayon was yet to release the official list of candidates vying for the Speaker’s post.
A source from Sayon’s office said the official list of candidates would be ready and subsequently announced during tomorrow’s special extraordinary sitting before nomination begins, but with the Write of Prohibition upholding his request not to allow elections for the new Speaker, many see another round of legal gymnastics that would continue for some time.