LIBERIA: DILLON BERATES INAUGURAL COMMITTEE
Senator Abraham Darius Dillon has termed as disastrous, disorganized and completely messy the manner and form of the inaugural ceremony of President Joseph NHyuma Boakai was planned amid the presence of foreign diplomats.
It can be recalled that on Monday, January 22, 2024 during the inauguration of President Boakai and Vice President Jeremiah Koung on the grounds of the Capitol Building, the Liberian leader suffered heat exhaustion, which led to the abrupt ending of his speech.
At the same time, the early concern raised by the Montserrado County lawmaker comes ahead of the President’s return to the 55th Legislature to deliver the State of the Nation Address on Monday, January 29, 2024.
Addressing the third day sitting of the first session of the Liberian Senate Tuesday, January 23, 2024, the Montserrado County Senator stressed that the planning of the event was out of order coupled with a messy protocol.
The vocal lawmaker of the Liberty Party, who chairs the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, intoned that the discouraging feedback from the program does not demonstrate that Liberia is more than 170 years old, saying it appeared that it was the country’s first time going to such an event.
“The protocol yesterday, nobody has to be told. How can you invite foreign guests then you are shouting at your own government officials to get up from their seats to allow the foreign diplomats to sit down,” Senator Dillon emphasized.
According to him, the protocol dictated that everyone coming to the inauguration must have been invited but sadly, there was an influx of people even without invitation thus justifying the messy planning of the program.
He further named the lack of adequate seats for foreign guests, legislators, special invitee and other government officials to sit during the event and poor sound system where those sitting on the platform could not hear the President, Vice President and the Chief Justice while administering the oath of office among others.
However, Senator Dillon blamed members of the National Legislature for failing to take full charge of their responsibility, stressing that the inaugural ceremony and the delivery of the SONA by the President are squarely legislative functions.
He added, “The legislature by formality, the Speaker of the House of Representatives invites guests but the list of the guests is determined by the Ministry of Foreign”.
Senator Dillon then pressed on members of the Liberian Senate to ensure the legislature takes charge of the protocol leading to the pending event relative to the State of the Nation Address.
“We need to ensure that the Capitol Building looks like a Capitol Building on the annual message day and let the place be freed from all that cheering of party links as was seen on the inauguration,” the lawmaker averred.
He wants members of the 55th Legislature, inclusive of the Liberian Senate and the House of Representatives, to work collaboratively to prevent a repeat of such a mess.
Our legislative reporter said following the individual inputs of other senators on the matter, the President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence announced a four-member committee to handle the planning of the SONA.
Those named by the Grand Bassa County Senator include the Chair on the Committee on Foreign Affairs Abraham Darius Dillon and the Chair on Executive James Biney of Maryland.
Others are the Chair on Rules, Order and Administration, Gbleh-bo Brown of Maryland and Chair on Ways, Means and Finance and Budget, Prince Kermue Moye of Bong County.
The ad-hoc committee, according to the Pro-Temp, is to work with the House of Representatives to effectively work on all modalities leading to the successful planning and execution of the annual address by the President.