-Political pundits predict a landslide victory for the female lawmaker

By Jerromie S. Walters

Article 47 of the 1986 Constitution mandates, “The senate shall elect every six years a President Pro Tempore who shall preside in the absence of the President of the Senate. With this, the Liberian Senate seeks to elect a new Senate Pro Tempore soon. As one of the most strategic positions of the state, political pundits have predicted the only female candidate as the next Pro-tempore of the legislative body and the country at large.

Though they are certain about her election, they have alsoechoed the need for her colleagues to support her candidacy, as they believe that it is crucial to consider a candidate who have demonstrated unwavering commitment to his/her responsibilities in the Senate, to be elected in the post. 

Prior to the October 10, 2023, legislative and presidential elections, it was speculated that the Unity Party (UP) reached an agreement with Senator Lawrence that if they had gotten her support and won the presidential election, they would have supported her bid for the Senate Protempore position.

If they actually had this agreement, it means that the Grand County Senator is in a much more better position to secure the post, as it remains a known fact that the Executive has a significant influence in the election of a Protempore. Nyonblee’sedge to secure a landslide victory also dwells on the argument that she doesn’t have a major contender in the race, as many of the tough guys including- Montserrado County Senators Abraham Darius Dillon, and Saah H. Joseph will not participate in the process. She’s expected to contest against Margibi County Senator Emmanuel Nuquay. 

Amid the barriers on her gender, pundits say Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence in particular, stands out as the best option for this influential position. The elections of Speaker, Deputy Speaker at the House of Representatives and Pro-Tempore at the Senate will pave the way for the 55th legislature. It also is a constitution mandate that provides for the leadership of the august bodies and aid in ushing the new government after election in country.

With this, interested lawmakers are speedily doing all they can to ensure that they are voted into the posts by their colleagues. Like the Speakership, and Deputy Speakership, Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence remains the only female that have unofficially expressed interest in the post.

As she eyes the position, records from the capitol have shown that Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence, has consistently exhibited exceptional commitment to her responsibilities in the Senate. She has a proven track record of attending sessions regularly, actively participating in debates, and diligently fulfilling her duties as a senator. As one may expect from any lawmaker, her commitment to the legislative process and her constituents is unwavering. With this, many Liberians, including some of her colleagues at the legislature see her as an ideal choice for the role of Senate Pro Tempore.

Aptly, pundits say Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence’s extensive experience in legislative affairs further strengthens her suitability for the Pro Tempore position. With this being her second term as a senator, political experts say she possesses a deep understanding of the legislative process, rules, and procedures. As such, it equips her with the knowledge and expertise necessary to effectively preside over Senate sessions, ensuring order and adherence to the Senate’s rules.

In addition to her many years of experience at the Senate, shechairs the Rules, Order, and Administration Committee at the august body. More to her experience, pundits believe electing a her as the Senate Pro Tempore would send a strong message of gender equality and women’s empowerment in Liberia. This is because they hold the belief that It is crucial to have diverse representation in leadership positions, and this candidate embodies the potential for women to excel in high-ranking political roles. 

In the search for a new Senate Pro Tempore, many believe it is imperative to consider a candidate who has consistently demonstrated commitment to their responsibilities in the Senate. Unarguably, the Grand Bassa County Senator possesses the necessary leadership skills, legislative experience, and dedication to effectively fulfill the responsibilities of the Pro Tempore position. Moreover, her election would serve as a significant step towards promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in Liberia’s political landscape.

The Senate Protempore 

The Senate Pro Tempore position in the Liberian Senate is quite important. The Pro Tempore serves as the presiding officer of the Senate in the absence of the Vice President, who is the constitutional presiding officer. The Pro Tempore is responsible for maintaining order and decorum during Senate sessions, ensuring that the Senate’s rules and procedures are followed.

Senator Albert Chie of Grand Kru County, is the current Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate. He’s not seeking a reelection because the post is constitutionally intended to be held by a Senate member for a period of six years.

Imperatively, the Pro Tempore plays a crucial role in the leadership and administration of the Senate. They are responsible for assigning senators to committees, coordinating legislative activities, and representing the Senate in interactions with other branches of government, foreign dignitaries, and the public. The Pro Tempore also has the power to influence the legislative agenda by prioritizing bills and resolutions for consideration.

Furthermore, the Pro Tempore is third in line of succession to the presidency, after the Vice President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. This highlights the significant role the position plays in the overall governance of Liberia.

Basically, the Senate Pro Tempore position holds considerable importance in the Liberian Senate, both in terms of its procedural and leadership responsibilities, as well as its role in the constitutional line of succession.

Bassa Citizens rally for her election as Protempore 

Recently, scores of residents of Grand Bassa County recommended Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence for the position, as they believe she has what it takes to do the job. As she is widely known for her unwavering commitment to her county and public in general, Senator Lawrence has also earned the respect and trust of not only her constituents but individuals throughout the country. 

In separate interactions, the residents of Bassa encouraged lawmakers at the Liberian Senate to support her bid for the Protempore position. This is because they believe that under Senator Lawrence’s leadership, the Senate will experience a renewed sense of purpose and collaboration, leading to effective decision-making.

Who is Senator Karnga-Lawrence?

Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence is a two-term Senator and the first female Senator of Grand Bassa County.  She is a Liberian, specifically a member of the Bassa ethnic group, which she currently represents. 

She was first elected to the Senate in 2013 and reelected during the 2020 midterm elections. Throughout her first term, she stood as the only female in a Senate, against 29 men. As Senator, Madam  Nyonblee has spoken on several critical issues that have surfaced at the Liberian Senate.