CSO Group Backs Representative Kofa’s Deputy Speaker Bid

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Rep. J. Fonati Kofa sitting alongside Speaker Bhofal Chambers

A civil society group, the Legislative Watch Forum (LEWAFO), has announced its support for the Deputy Speaker bid of Grand Kru County’s electoral district #2 Representative, J. Fonati Kofa. The group, in a release, through its Lead Consultant, Jeremiah Paye, stated that as an institution with legislative programs that are intended to promote the development of a competent, accountable, transparent, and responsive Legislature capable of representing the electorates in overseeing the Executive and participating in the development of laws and policies, she sees Hon. J. Fonati Kofa as the most suited candidate for the post.

   LEWAFO made it categorically clear that “the Legislature is central to democratic governance; hence, it should be visible, accessible and accountable to the citizenry. Having followed the workings of the 54th Legislature in the last three years, and in consideration of having a Deputy Speaker with distinctive skills of experience and competence in assisting the Speaker in the discharge of his duties, the Legislative Watch Forum supports Grand Kru County’s district #2 Representative, Hon. J. Fonati Kofa, as the next Deputy Speaker. His three years incumbency at the House of Representatives is replete with laudable performance in his legislative responsibilities, evidenced by the promulgation of relevant laws, result-oriented lobbying and impactful developments in his district”.

   Speaking further, Paye intoned, “As the principal forum for debates on public policy issues and a place seen as the bellwether of democracy, members elected to responsible positions at that august body should have the unconditional respect from fellow members, be endowed with the ability to work cooperatively with colleagues in networking, advocating and leading a rebranding process of the Legislature. With high performance rating as Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary, Representative J. Fonati Kofa has demonstrated quality leadership and won the respect of majority of his colleagues at the House of Representatives. He is an all-embracing, people-centered and great team player at the House of Representatives. He has even gone to the extent of assisting some of his fellow colleagues in carrying out developmental works in their districts.”

   The group described as irrelevant and immaterial, arguments of geo-political balance being posited by a few naysayers. Paye said, “precedent has shown that Legislative leadership is not based on county, region or tribe; rather, it is a globally acceptable norm that members of the Legislature elect colleagues to leadership based on capacity to lead, influential power and ability to link the body to relevant stakeholders. The crusaders of the geo-political power balance understand that, at one point, former President Ellen Sirleaf, former Speaker Alex Tyler and former Acting President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate came from Bomi County. They were allowed to serve without consideration to their county of origin. Therefore, there is absolutely no law or precedent that supports the theory of geo-political balance. The Legislature will not be reformed and transformed in the interest of the Liberian on the basis of county, regional or tribal origin of elected officers of the Legislature.

   “The Legislative Watch Forum has the conviction that none of those interested in contesting for the position of Deputy Speaker against Hon. J. Fonati Kofa measures up to his ability to lead, experience and network attributes, nor the respect he commands from his colleagues. Henceforth, the legislative watchdog calls on members of the House of Representatives to elect Representative J. Fonati Kofa as the new Deputy Speaker for a stable and reformed Legislature.”

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