Rep. Koffa In Consultation To Join Deputy Speaker Race

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Rep. Jonathan Fonati Koffa

The Chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives, Representative Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa, is said to be in consultation on whether to join the race for the Deputy Speaker’s seat, as consultation for the second leadership position intensifies.

   The Grand Kru County district #2 Representative has been petitioned by his colleagues to join six other Representatives eyeing the Deputy Speaker position, but has since launched “consultation” on the prudency of his participation in the battle.

   On Saturday, Representative Koffa replied to scores of journalists, “I have not joined anything. I am in consultation to join.”

   Those tipped to have expressed interest include House’s ECOWAS Parliament member, Lofa County’s district #3 Representative, Clarence Massaquoi; Nimba County’s district #9 Representative and Chairman on Education, Johnson Gwaikolo; Nimba County’s district #5 Representative and Commerce Committee Chairman, Samuel  Kogar; Bong County’s district #6 Representative, Moima Briggs-Mensah; and Montserrado County’s district #12 Representative, Richard Koon.

   Sources say if Representative Koffa joins the race there will be a 95% probability of winning and may be trailed by Representatives Gwaikolo and/or Massaquoi as possible replacements of out-going Deputy Speaker, Prince K. Moye, who was elected Senator in the just-concluded election.

   Impeccable sources say the House’s Judiciary Committee Chairman has been pushed to join following a meeting of about 25 Representatives on Friday night in a local hotel.

    One of those at the meeting said the “like-minded” Representatives agreed to front Cllr. Koffa despite geographical region and political party as the candidate for Deputy Speaker, arguing that he has a “big heart, opened hand and is educated” to ably assist in steering the affairs of the House of Representatives and outside.

   Representative Koffa appears to be a strong candidate among the Representatives, according to a lawmaker from Montserrado, pointing out that since 2018 Representative Koffa’s bloc, comprising of 24 persons,  has been together and seems determined.

    In 2018, Representative Koffa was poised to contest the Speaker election against Representative Bhofal Chambers and Representative Hans Barchue, but was compelled to “throw in the towel” and pledge support to Representative Chambers. Because of Representative Koffa’s 11th hour support to Representative Chambers, Representative Barchue withdrew from the Speaker’s race, and this caused Representative Chambers to win on white ballot.

   Representative Koffa also supported Representative Moye, and his support led to the victory of Representative Moye over Representative Barchue in the tight Deputy Speaker race.

   Cllr. Koffa is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law, Chapel Hill, United States, where he obtained a Juris Doctorate (JD) degree in law. His educational pursuit took him to Raleigh, North Carolina State University, where he obtained a Master of Public Administration (MPA). He earlier obtained a Bachelor of Public Administration (cum laude) with concentration in Urban Planning from Shaw University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.

   Representative Koffa began his legal career in the United States in 1998 in private practice and then moved to Liberia in 2009 and became the Founder and Managing Partner of the International Law Group (ILG), now one of the emerging corporate and government firms in Liberia. He was admitted to the Supreme Court Bar of Liberia as valedictorian of its class of 2014.

   Prior to his election as Representative, he served as Minister of State without Portfolio and Legal Advisor to former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf from 2014 to 2016.

   He entered into politics as a founding member of the Liberty Party (LP), the third leading political party in Liberia, where he was eventually elected as Chairman from 2011 to 2014. During his time as Chairman, he oversaw the growth and expansion of the party, including the increase of seats the party held in the National Legislature. He resigned from the Liberty Party in 2018 and joined the Coalition for Democratic Change where he serves as a member of the Executive Council.

   The Deputy Speaker election might probably be held on January 11, 2021 or, at most, on Thursday.

    Accordingly, the Legislature will resume work the second working Monday in January—January 11, 2021—by which time there will be a formal program. Four former Representatives, who have become Senators-elect: Deputy Speaker Prince Moye, Representative Edwin M. Snowe, Representative Zoe Pennue and Representative Jeremiah Koung, might present their elective letters to the Secretary of the Senate for subsequent swearing-in as senators on Tuesday or Thursday, creating four districts by-elections in four counties.

  At that point, the number of Representatives will stand at 67, but the coming in of Representatives-elect Foko and Samson Wiah will increase the number to 69 if their wins are not contested.

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