MONROVIA, Montserrado – Barely 24 hours after Philip A. Z. Banks retired as an associate justice of the Supreme Court, President George Weah has nominated Sen. Joseph N. Nagbe of Sinoe as a replacement.
Banks retired on Tuesday, August 7 after reaching the constitutional retirement age of 70.
In 2005, Nagbe was first elected as a senator on the Alliance for Peace and Democracy ticket. He was reelected in 2011 on the same ticket. The Alliance for Peace and Democracy was a coalition of two Liberian political parties, namely the Liberian People’s Party and the United People’s Party.
Nagbe’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the Liberian Senate.
In July 2018, Nagbe, a trained lawyer, was expelled from the Sinoe County Legislative Caucus for breaking a “peace accord” signed in Bamako, Mali in June this year. All five members of the caucus had met in Bamako and signed an agreement obligating them to work for peace and tranquility among themselves and by extension, among the people of the county.
If Weah’s nomination of Nagbe is approved by the Senate, it would mean the country would be having a second wave of by-elections in two counties following the victory of Rep. Saah Joseph of Montserrado’s 13th district.
On July 31, there were by-elections held to fill the vacant seats of Weah and Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, who were formerly senators of Montserrado and Bong, respectively. Joseph emerged the victor and will replace Weah as senator of Montserrado.
In his first State of the Nation address in January, Weah said that he inherited empty coffers from former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
“Our economy is broken; our government is broke; our currency is in free-fall,” the president told Liberians.
But many pundits are beginning to wonder if the president’s statement was true following his party’s decision to support the senatorial bid of Joseph, a sitting lawmaker, and the nomination of Nagbe to the Supreme Court.
The recent Bong and Montserrado by-elections were delayed because the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and the National Elections Commission could not agree on a budget. Eventually, both entities agreed to a US$2.7 million budget, down from the US$3.9 million originally proposed by NEC.
Featured photo by Zeze Ballah