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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Senate Workers Block Wolokolie’s Confirmation Hearing

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By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor

Some employees of the Liberian Senate Thursday staged a demonstration at the Capitol preventing Lawmakers from accessing the building to perform official duties.

Their protest action disrupted the planned confirmation hearing of the Commissioner-General designate of the Liberia Revenue Authority Dr. Samora Wolokolie. The employees said they were remonstrating for unpaid benefits and salaries.

Outgoing Coalition for Democratic Change Representative Acarous Gray said the staffers conduct was deliberate and masterminded by some Unity Party Senators who lack the required vote to block the eleventh hour nomination from lame duck President George Weah.

The appointment made late last year has been subjected to confirmation by the Liberian Senate, as required by the 1986 Liberian Constitution.

If confirmed, the university professor will replace the late Thomas Doe Nah who occupied the position since 2020, and passed last month following a period of illness.

Wolokolie is the current Deputy Minister of Finance for Development Planning; a position he occupies since the inception of CDC administration in 2018.

The staffers created roadblocks within the compound of the Capitol Building, especially the Senate wing denying the vice president and President of the Liberian Senate access to her office. Other Senators were turned away.

When words spread that the confirmation hearing of Dr. Wokoloie was to take place in the chamber of the senate’s annex, the protestors under the directorship of Charles Brown, a Unity Party supporter stormed the chambers, blocked the two entrances, while others moved  towards  the walkway of Senate Pro tempore Albert Chie’s office, making the senate’s wing ungovernable.

The rioters later held Bomi County Senator Morris Saytumah hostage for a few hours. Senator Saytumah is the Chairman of Ways, Means and Finance Committee of the Senate. A committee responsible for financial matters in the Upper House.

Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darious Dillon tried to intervene but he was  jeered and insulted  and branded ‘fake Chinese light’.

Chairman Brown described Dillon and Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence the presumptive Senate Pro tempore as the most ‘wicked’ Liberians to have ever occupied the House of Senate.

Brown explained they have had meetings with Senator Dillon earlier and he assured them that there won’t be any confirmation hearings if staffers’ salaries were not settled by the Finance Ministry.

But to their surprise Dillon announced on Spoon Talks Wednesday night that Supreme Court  nominee Cllr. Frank Musa Dean and Wolokolie confirmations are scheduled and that Dillon and Nyonblee played pivotal roles for planning the  hearing, leaving their plight in the thin air.

It is shameful for Senator Karnga Lawrence who is a mother to have downplayed the interest of the staffers at the same time fronting to be pro tempore of the Senate under the Joseph Boakai’s administration, the protest leader aledged.

“Dillon and Nyonblee are very wicked. The two senators from our opposition bloc coming to take the national leadership behaving in such a manner is scaring and an early warning. If the two cannot talk and protect us then who else.”

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