MOPNEL Issues Press Statement, Says Deputy Speaker Best Suited For 55th Legislative Speakership
Fonati Koffa Best Suits 55th Legislature Speakership – Declares MOPNEL; Calls on Lawmakers to Vote Him
Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa – Deputy Speaker 54th House of Representatives and forerunning for Speakership for the incoming 55th Legislature
(24 November 2023, Monrovia, Liberia) – In January 2024, the newly-elected members of the House of Representatives for the incoming 55th Legislature will elect the new Speaker of the House, who in keeping with Article 49 of the 1986 Liberia Constitution shall serve as Presiding Officer of that body and in keeping with Article 64 of the Constitution, is third in succession to the Liberian Presidency in case the Offices of the President and Vice President become vacant by reason of removal, death, resignation, inability or other disability of the President and Vice–President. The Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be sworn in as Acting President until the holding of elections to fill the vacancies so created.
Bearing this Constitutional provision in mind, the pro-democracy and advocacy group, Movement for the Promotion of Non-Violence Elections in Liberia (MOPNEL) through its Executive Director, Bobby Weah Dixon and board, have thoroughly assessed and delved into the backgrounds of newly-elected members of the House of Representatives for the incoming 55th Legislature, and has resolved and come to the conclusion that the Deputy Speaker of the 54th Legislature, Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa is best suited to become the Speaker of the 55th Legislature ahead of those who are harboring intentions for the Speakership as well.
In MOPNEL’s thoughts, Cllr. Koffa is an experienced public servant with distinctions. As a LAWYER, he is the founder and Managing Partner of the International Law Group (ILG), and he has been practicing law since 1997, both in Liberia and the United States of America. Cllr. Koffa was also admitted into the Supreme Court Bar of the Republic of Liberia with distinct honour as valedictorian of the graduating class.
As for his POLITICAL ROLE, MOPNEL notes that in 2016, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf appointed Cllr. Koffa as Minister of State without Portfolio and Special Prosecutor of the Sable Mining Bribery scandal case. A few months later, he was appointed legal counsel to the President of Liberia. Cllr. Koffa resigned in late July 2017 to participate in the Presidential and legislative elections as a candidate for the Representative seat in Grand Kru County District #2. On October 19, he was declared the winner of that electoral process, and in 2021, he was subsequently elected as Deputy Speaker of the 54th Legislature of the Republic of Liberia. On October 10, 2023, he was re-elected as Representative of Grand Kru Country Electoral District #2 after serving is kinsmen of the men with diligence.
According to MOPNEL, Cllr. Koffa’s LEADERSHIP ROLE is impeccable. Deputy House Speaker, Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa is the immediate past Chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives of the 54th Legislature. He was a member of the Committee on Elections and Inauguration and the Committee on Human & Civil Rights. He is the current acting Chairperson of the Grand Kru Legislative Caucus at the 54th Legislature and the Deputy Speaker of the 54th Legislature of the Republic of Liberia.
MOPNEL is of the belief and conviction that Cllr. Koffa is a profound political leader adept in the science and art of constituent representation.
As a lawyer and political leader, whose short but impressive rise to prominence in Liberian politics show a healthy understanding of politics and the ability to cut across political and ethnic divides to accomplish national goals and objectives, he was instrumental in passing crucial gender-responsive bills, including the Domestic Violence Bill and the Female Genital Mutilation Bill.
MOPNEL records that Cllr. Koffa was lauded by the Regional UN Woman Ambassador for Africa, Madam Jaha Dukureh, over his efforts to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Liberia. She praised him for being a significant player in the Legislature for championing bills in the interest of women, including the bill to outlaw the practices of FGM.
In her words, “we have seen this as an opportunity for us to interact with you, and we would like to say this as a fact that you are a champion in the fight against female genital mutilation in Liberia. Honorable, I must confess that your stance against FGM is realistic and honest, and since I have been here, I have not found someone who is so passionate and firm on this issue as you: your dedication, your commitment, your passion and your willingness to champion is excellent, “Amb. Jaha said recently of the Deputy House Speaker of the Liberia’s Legislature.
Prior, the Deputy Speaker was very instrumental in the passage of the Domestic Violence Bill.
According to MOPNEL, as the LAWMAKERS’ LAWMAKER, the man who is bearing this title is the second in command, Deputy Speaker of the outgoing 54th Legislature, and also the direct representative of the people of Grand Kru County’s district number 2 and is no other but Cllr. Jonathan Fonati Koffa.
As a thoughtful lawmaker, Cllr Koffa’s official office is usually seen crowded as dozens of people in need of financial assistance visit to express their gratitude to the Deputy Speaker for his many supports to the sojourn of most needy individuals who have queued at the office of this man for his generosity at all time.
MOPNEL says, many of the beneficiaries of Deputy Speaker Jonathan Fonati Koffa, affectionately call ‘JFK’ generosity have poured endless praises on the man they call “a man of good heart for his financial support to them and their children’s education.”
According to dozens of Liberians including his kinsmen, youths and women groups, it is revealed that the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, JFK has always been in the frontline supporting the wellbeing of his people, at some instant, his support to the interest of the people was always borderless, meaning his kindness has no border.
Some individuals who usually speak about him are most times over excited for the level of help been provided to them for their education, and medical needs, noting that he will forever be remembered in their lives for what he has done to improve their livelihood and their respective families.
Performing his obligatory duties at the House of Representatives, Cllr. Koffa has also been there to solve the people’s problem at the level as a direct representative of the people. One of such is the passage and amendment of the Third Amendment to the ArcelorMittal Liberia (AML) Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) noting that it will be ratified by the Legislature, describing the company as a major investor and stakeholder that has done more positive things in Liberia.
“Remember this…it’s a ‘catch twenty-two’ ArcelorMittal is a major investor in the country…a major stakeholder. If I were to rate them between the good and bad, they have done more positive things than negative.”
He made this known last year in an exclusive interview in Monrovia back then, as he said it would be prudent had the Executive, during the negotiation process focused on a performance audit of the AML’s current MDA, to ascertain the company’s level of compliance, amidst claims and counter claims by its stakeholders.
“What the House was looking for was the Executive to do a little more of accountability, giving the noise surrounding what Mittal has done or not done. When you give us that report, then, we will be able to put ourselves in a better position to explain to our citizens the process of the ratification and our mindset in ratification,” he added at the time.
He used the occasion to however recognize ArcelorMittal Liberia’s contributions as a major investor and stakeholder to Liberia, adding that the company has done better for the country.
It is because of this remarkable political leadership ability and as well as coupled with his humanitarian nature and a person who always champions the best interests of his people, MOPNEL is convinced that Cllr. Koffa is best suited to head the House of Representatives of the incoming 55th Legislature of Liberia.
Also, the pro-democracy and advocacy group, says it is not surprised Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa is rated highly by the people due to him not limiting his work only to his native Grand Kru County. Noted for what is called: JOB WITHOUT BORDER, the Deputy Speaker Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa’s services to the people of Liberia is not static, but rather spread out to all the sectors of the Liberian society. For instant, his helping hands during 2022 was extended to the people of Margibi County, particularly to a local church, ‘Harvest Wonderland’ Church where he graciously donated a 2.74 lot of parcels of land.
According to information closed to the Church, prior to the purchase of the land, the Harvest Wonderland Church had been squatting on a private land and the owner of the land had threatened to evict them from their squatting spot.
This situation drew the attention of Deputy Speaker Koffa as he surprised them with the donation of the land for the construction of their Church. Speaking to reporter on the issue, the lawmaker said he believed that when you give freely, you will receive freely, noting, “I found out that when you give, you get blessed, and there is no secret about it”, he told legislative reporters last year.
MOPNEL also takes note of how a group of university students under the banner Conscious Students of Grand Kru County honoured Deputy House Speaker, J. Fonati Koffa in recognition of his numerous development initiatives since he became Representative of the county’s second electoral district.
On the INTERNATIONAL LEVEL, the Deputy House Speaker also called for the expansion of Liberia’s position in the international maritime industry, which will allow the country to regain its place as the number one registry in the world. Speaking at the Posidonia 2022, the world’s largest international shipping exhibition that took place in Athens, Greece, Deputy Speaker said although the sector has and continue to contribute to the Liberian economy over the years, it still has great potential to do more.
The Deputy Speaker, who headed the Liberian delegation that year, said while the country remains the fastest growing registry in the world and the best in terms of service, it still needs to work harder in order to win back its rightful stature amongst the comity of maritime nations. With over 5000 ships flying its flag grossing 200 million tons, Liberia is the second largest registry in the world but rated as best in terms of service.
MOPNEL is also impressed with Cllr. Koffa’s HUMAN DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES over the years. A cross-section of citizens and residents in Grand Kru County Electoral District #2 branded the lawmaker as a Man without Borders.
The youths of the county have lauded Cllr. Koffa for accelerating education in the country with provision of much-needed scholarships. The scholarship supported by Representative J. Fonati Koffa has brought financial relief to hundreds of parents and lasting benefits to hundreds of school-going kids across District #2, in Grand Kru County through Ahteenah Development Corporation scholarship program since 2005.
The scholarship supported by Representative J. Fonati Koffa has brought financial relief to hundreds of parents and lasting benefit to hundreds of school-going kids across District #2, in Grand Kru County.
It has also been revealed within the last five years plus, Deputy Speaker Fonati Koffa, constructed six modern Elementary & Junior High Schools, including the Changbetti School, in Bolloh, the Taybue, and Wropluken Schools, in Buah, and George P. Worjloh School, in Sasstown, Grand Kru County. Other schools constructed by Representative Jonathan Fonati Koffa include the Kayken Big Flineken Schools, in Barclayville City – Kplio.
The Representative without Border contributed immensely to the renovation of other Schools within District # 2, Grand Kru County, with the provision of US$50,000 to the Barclayville Central High School, 200 bags of Cement to George
Toe Washington School, 200 bags of cement to Barforwin Public School in Bolloh, 50 bags of Cement to Jarkakpo Public School, and 50 bags of cement to Kaykpo Public School, of Bolloh respectively.
Additionally, Representative Fonati Koffa provided 100 bags of cement to Dioh Public School in Jolh, 4 bundles of zinc, and 50 bags of cement to A. A Huff Jr. High School – and 60 bags of cement to also Wutuken Public School and 50 bags of cement Public School Joploken all of Kplio.
Another donation and support provided were 15 bundles of Zinc
to Putu Town (Civilized Village) School, and 30 bags of Cement to Niplakpo Public School.
The Representative without boarder also continued his support to hundreds of youths at various Universities through the Jonathan Fonati Koffa Financial Aid Program.
Over the years, the Jonathan Fonati Koffa (JFK) Financial Aid Program at various Universities across Liberia has produced several Graduates, most of whom are enterprising Grand Kru youths with high national leadership potential.
At the Graduate School level, the Jonathan Fonati Koffa, Financial Aid program is supporting 10 graduate students at the Cuttington and the University of Liberia.
Why Cllr. Koffa Is Best Suited for the Speakership Position
MOPNEL believes as A Man with A Legislative Undertaking, Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa’s enormous works and his desire to always achieve and make impact in whatever he has engaged in throughout his professional life has been a driving force that political experts say will be key to his election as the next Speaker of the House of Representative for the incoming 55th Legislature in Liberia.
MOPNEL notes that Cllr. Koffa is seen among his peers as a lawmakers’ lawmaker, who is always there for each and every one of them when the need arises in a given situation. Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa, according to many supporters, his kinsmen and fellow lawmakers as well as Liberians in general, is a man of deeds who never stops at nothing until he gets the job done.
MOPNEL concludes that Liberians and the country will yield huge dividends when Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa is overwhelmingly elected as the next Speaker of the House of Representatives for the incoming 55th Legislature after being re-elected as Representative of Grand Kru County Electoral District #2 Representative for the next six years. He is a profound leader who best suits the Speakership of the House of Representatives for the incoming 55th Legislature. MOPNEL therefore calls and appeals to members of the House of Representatives of the incoming 55th Legislature to vote Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa as the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.