Unity Party chairman emeritus Cllr. Varney Sherman, who is facing trial here along with other officials on multiple charges, including economic sabotage and corruption has collapsed in the Rotunda of the Capitol Building at ceremony organized by 19 senators to endorse the candidacy of Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai for the Presidency in the October elections.
The ceremony momentarily turned sour on Thursday, 11 May when the Grand Cape Mount County Senator, one of the influential members of the Liberian Senate, who initiated the event, fell off at the start of the program.
The cause for his sudden collapse has not been established, but the man, who chaired the governing Unity Party into the second term of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf until last year, was hurriedly rushed to a local hospital in Monrovia for medication.
Senator Sherman, a strong supporter of Boakai’s presidential bid had entered the Rotunda of the Capitol Building in a happy mood, and briefly danced with traditional singers at the ceremony, waved to the crowd, shook hands with few of his colleagues, and later was escorted to his seat, but within a minute, he came tumbling on the floor of the Rotunda.
Elegantly dressed in African attire, Senator Sherman was held by the stomach by a female aide, who prevented him from landing on the floor. His office staffers became very rude to reporters, who attempted capturing the scene on pictures.
The endorsement ceremony went into brief disarray with Speaker Emmanuel James Nuquay, Senate President Pro-Tempore Armah Jallah, and Vice President Boakai, other members of the Liberian Senate visibly disturbed. Cllr. Sherman was immediately rushed to his official black jeep and whisked off to a local hospital for immediate medication.
According to family sources, he is expected to be flown to Ghana today, Friday, 12 May for advanced medication.
Notwithstanding, the endorsement of Veep Boakai went ahead in what many believe has opened the door for defiance of the controversial Code of Conduct. The 19 senators trooped followers, partisans of the ruling Unity Party, relatives and sympathizers on the grounds of the Capitol Building and executed the endorsement.
The Code of Conduct prohibits political activities from public buildings, but to the dismay of many, the senators, who called themselves, ‘elders’ of the Liberian Legislature used the Rotunda of the Capitol for the ceremony, which created serious distraction in the corridors of the Capitol Building, as lawmakers could not actively perform their statutory duties.
According to the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, members of the Liberian Legislature shall meet in session every Tuesday and Thursday to conduct normal duties. But Thursday was totally a different day, as the grounds of the Capitol were the scenes of battle cries characterized by drum beating and traditional dance.
But Maryland County Senator Gble-bo Brown says the objective for hosting the event there is to demonstrate to the public that it is the same grounds where Vice President Boakia will be inaugurated as President of Liberia in January, 2018.
Speaking subsequently, the Vice President welcomes the endorsement and calls on those still sitting on the fence to join the current momentum that has been put in gear to get him to the Executive Mansion come October.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor -Editing by Jonathan Browne