Margibi County Senator Oscar Cooper.

Rejects Deputy Minister of Defense for Operation-designate

After several years of manual voting system, Senators of the 54th Legislature yesterday voted to restore the automated voting system, restoration of microphones on each desk, and creation of a website for the Liberian Senate.

The Senate’s decision was promoted by a communication from Margibi County Senator Oscar Cooper, in which he requested the Senate to reinstate the automated voting machine for transparency and accountability purposes.

“I request that, as stewards of our constituencies, we vote in a manner and form that can be recorded, tracked and analyzed by our people whom we represent; honorable colleagues, our consent to openly vote preferably by the use of automated voting machine makes us more transparent with our people who should be informed of what we vote for, and how we vote; moreover, Liberia is in the process of developing and appropriating the open government partnership (OGP) to be implemented over the next few years,” Senator Cooper’s communication noted.

He asserted his concurrence with the OGP to roll over with the country’s commitment to the third OGP national action plan, especially leading to provide analysis of progress of bills, sponsors of each bill and who had voted for each.

The Margibi County lawmaker reminded his colleagues that the OGP is very necessary, “because this commitment in the OGP national action plan is yet relevant and incomplete. As you may be aware, the OGP is a multilateral voluntary partnership a country decides to join, and through its civil society organizations and government can advance initiatives consistent with reform agenda that aims at deepening and guaranteeing transparency and accountability… in this regard, I have written in such manner as proposed to our partners, that this branch of the government is open, transparent and accountable more than ever before.”

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Therefore, Senator Cooper concluded, “I kindly request that we reinstate the voting machine for transparency and accountability.”

It can be recalled that under the leadership of Senate Pro-Tempore Cletus Wortorson, the automated voting machine was regularly used, which showed some semblance of maturity, accountability and transparency.

For his part, Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon intimated that in this 21st Century, it is unacceptable that the Legislature in general be out of internet and an active website.

“So while we are taking into consideration the installment of the automated voting machine, we should also blend it with reactivating the website of the Liberian Senate so that at a click, anybody in and out of Liberia can access us,” Dillon suggested.

Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson among other things, lamented that the country is too old, too disgraceful and shameful to have a Chambers with one microphone for thirty Senators; “what if I have TB (tuberculosis) and speak in the mic; some of us if you check our personal medical record something may be wrong with us, and so we need individual mic.”

“The issue of the yea and nay in our voting system should be removed from the Senate rule, because votes are corrupt here by yea and nay,” Gbarpolu County Senator Daniel Naatehn recommended.

Meanwhile, as widely expected by the public based on his performance and utterances during and prior to his confirmation hearing, the Senate Committee on Defense, Security, Intelligence and Veteran Affairs, yesterday recommended to plenary to decline the confirmation of Deputy Minister for Operation-Designate, Ministry of Defense, Mr. Tarplah Z. Davis.

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In its report to plenary, the committee noted that: “The committee has thoroughly examined documents presented by the nominee and statements made by him during his confirmation process. It is the opinion of the committee that the level of his training and experience in the security sector, coupled with his vision, will not enhance the growth of the sector in a manner contemplated by the sector’s reform program. The committee, therefore, recommends to the plenary of the Liberian Senate not to confirm Honorable Tarplah Z Davis as Deputy Minister for Operation at the Ministry of National Defense.”

In the motion referring the matter to executive session, the Chair of the Senate Committee on Rules, Order and Administration, Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, moved that as per the Senate’s procedure, “I move that the report be accepted, and that action to further deny through our votes be taken in executive.”



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