By: Eldred Wlemongar Thomas/GNN Senior Reporter
The month long leadership battles between the ‘Majority Bloc’ of the House of Representatives and their Speaker, J. Alex Tyler pushing for his recusal as a result of a court indictment for his alleged link to the Stable Mining bribing scandal has finally ended with the Speaker announcing his recusal today during a news conference held at the Capitol Building.
Earlier the Speaker and his support commonly call the ‘Pro-Tyler Group’ vowed not to listen and give credence to the Anti-Tyler or the Majority Bloc to step down in presiding over session as was persistently request by the Anti-Tyler group being headed by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Hans Barchure despite calls by several groups including the Liberia Council of Churches, the National Traditional Council of Liberia asking the Speaker to see reason to recues himself as been demanded by his colleagues.
But interestingly, today as early as 8am dozens of women under the banner ‘Women in Peacebuilding Network or WIPNET gather at both entrances of the Capitol Building in their quest to prevail on the Speaker to see reason for his recusal.
The women were very serious as was previously done in yesterday years asking major players in the Liberian civil war to end the suffering of the Liberian people. It was these women who also made it possible for the end of hostilities by the Liberian war lords.
Three hours later, the news of the Speaker’s recusal was now spreading in the building with lots of people including some members of the Anti-Tyler Bloc meeting small group gossiping about this, while some members of the legislative press corps began to inform their respective news rooms about what is in the air.
This rumor finally came through when it was announced that the indicted Speaker was to shortly hold a news conference to publicly announce his recusal as Speaker of the House of Representatives as House Legislative reporters were now set for the much talked about news conference.
What started on a small skill with just few lawmakers, later degenerated into a full leadership crisis during which time a group calling itself Majority bloc requested the Speaker step aside on grounds that he is not morally upright lead that august body after been indicted by the Grand Jury of Montserrado county.
The lawmakers after few weeks migrated and convened a separate session in the Joint Chamber and signed a resolution that the speaker be rescued.
Speaker Tyler, Senator Varney Sherman and other high ranking officials of government were charged for multiple criminal offenses in connection with alleged bribery scandal in a report released by the International Watch dog, Global Witness.
Speaker Tyler had insisted he would not have bow down to what he termed a call with political undertone accusing the President of been the mastermind.
But addressing a news conference at the Capitol Building on Thursday, Speaker Tyler said if him recusal is the ultimate sacrifice, that will move Liberia forward and end the current impasse, he was recusing himself from presiding over the House plenary to ensure that business of the Liberia people can be fully addressed.
“If this impasse is not resolved, the First branch of government may not be able to perform its constitutional duties, something he said would mean the partial collapse of the structure of the state, Tyler in a rather emotional toned”.
Speaker Tyler said he also additional economic difficulties been faced by Liberians due to the crisis at the House of Representatives, something he cited as one of the reasons to step aside.
“The leadership and constitutional crisis has affected the economy negatively, the National budget hearings for passage have been called off reportedly by the Executive, while Ministers and heads of government have been instructed by the President not to appear before the Pro-Tyler lawmakers, the Speaker pointed out”.
The under pressure Speaker however noted his decision to step aside should not be mistaken as a sign of weakness, as it will be a matter of foolish pride to sit idly and see the country and institutions of governance disintegrate and descend into anarchy saying there is no winner when the nation’s pride is at stake.
The Bomi Representative maintained that the indictment is not guilty verdict and it’s indeed unfortunate that some of his colleagues have elected to effectively exploit and politicize what a matter that is purely legal.
Our reporter said there was sign of contentment on the faces of members of the Majority bloc and others who contended that Speaker Tyler go and faced the court and answer to charges against him.
But it remains unclear whether the leadership battle is now over as there are reports hat lawmakers headed by Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue are contemplating a next course of action to have the Speaker completely remove as head of the Lower House.