Internal Conflict Rocks House

Deputy House Speaker, Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa has refuted allegations made against him by the Speaker of the House of Representatives saying that he has never represented the legal interest of any of the institutions mentioned by Speaker Bhofal Chambers.

Cllr. Koffa clarified in a recent interview at his Capitol Hill office that, “There’s not a day, that I have gone to the Speaker or any of my colleagues or that I have gone on the floor to represent any interest, order than the interest of Grand Kru. I have not represented as a lawyer any company in this building,” he clarified.

In situations when Bea Mountain was caught up with the Legislature, he clarified that he didn’t attend sessions during those engagements, especially when he had a little proximity with the entities. “I have never one day stood as a lawyer for any interest here.” Cllr. Koffa emphatically clarified that he’s not a lawyer for any of the institutions mentioned by the Speaker and he has never represented their interests.

“If I represented these institutions, I will retire because I will be very rich, so the answer is no.” Following years of observing that good lawyers weren’t really representing the interest of government institutions, he decided to practice in said role.” He maintained that since he left the International Law Group, he has not been involved with active practice of law. “I don’t have client. Cllr. Koffa says the Speaker was misinformed. Using his defeat to determine the weight of what he sees as the Speaker’s distress, the Deputy Speaker noted: “Defeat can be traumatic, I empathize with the Speaker.”

Meanwhile, he noted that he has filed a formal complaint to the Chairman of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Mulbah K. Morlu, over allegations that have been levied against him by the Speaker. “I have asked the CDC to please investigate between the two of us, to the extend, so that we cme to a rational conclusion on the Speaker’s allegation.”

Liberia’s political landscape is currently witnessing an intense internal conflict within the legislature. Speaker Bhofal Chambers and Deputy Speaker Fonati Koffa, have found themselves at odds, with the Speaker accusing the Deputy Speaker of undermining his electoral campaign in the October 10, 2023 elections, and wanting to suppress his participation in the pending speakership election. This ongoing dispute has led to a breakdown in communication and a deepening rift between the two officials.

The conflict between the Speaker and Deputy Speaker began when the Speaker alleged that the Deputy Speaker secretly worked against him during his re-election campaign in his district. The Speaker believes that the Deputy Speaker’s actions contributed to his defeat in the October 10, 2023, elections. This accusation has strained their working relationship and has given rise to a series of confrontations and public statements.

In response to the Speaker’s claims, Deputy Speaker Koffavehemently denies any involvement in undermining the Speaker’s electoral campaign. He argues that the Speaker’s accusations are baseless and aimed at tarnishing his character. Feeling denigrated, the Deputy Speaker recently announced that he will boycott legislative sessions whenever the Speaker is present. This move further exacerbates the already tense atmosphere within the legislature.

With his term as Speaker set to end on January 15, 2024, the Speaker has accused the Deputy Speaker of being afraid and attempting to hinder his participation in the upcoming speakership election. He believes that the Deputy Speaker’s actions are motivated by his own interest in securing the Speakership position.

It can be referenced that during a recent interview, Speaker Chambers accused his Deputy of being the Lawyer of Bea Mountain, Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, Liberia Maritime Authority, and scores of other government institutions. He believes it contradicts Koffa’s role as a legislator. Moreover, the outgoing Speaker says it is from said backdrop, Deputy Speaker Koffa is doing all he can to ensure that he doesn’t partake in the pending speakership election.

Political analysts say the ongoing conflict between the Speaker and Deputy Speaker threatens to hinder the effective functioning of Liberia’s legislature. “The breakdown in communication and cooperation between these key officials can impede the passage of crucial legislation and the implementation of important policies. Moreover, the public display of discord within the legislature undermines public confidence in the country’s political leadership.”

To prevent further deterioration of the situation, pundits say it is imperative for both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker to constructively resolve their differences. “It is crucial for the Speaker and Deputy Speaker to prioritize the interests of the Liberian people and work towards a harmonious working relationship.”

A legislator who pleaded anonymity: “The ongoing internal conflict between Liberia’s Speaker and Deputy Speaker has created a challenging environment within the legislature. The Speaker’s accusations of electoral sabotage and the Deputy Speaker’s denial have led to a breakdown in communication and a deepening of the rift.”

He continued- “Even though the Speaker term will expire soon, It is essential for both parties to prioritize the nation’s interests and find a resolution to this dispute, allowing the legislature to function effectively and serve the needs of the Liberian people.”

Bhofal Chambers, Maryland County District #2 Representative,was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives of the 54th Legislature Monday, January 14, 2018.

Chambers, a member of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), was elected on a “white ballot” after former Deputy Speaker Hans M. Barchue and former Speaker Edwin M. Snowe, Jr. declined their respective intentions after being nominated earlier.

The Maryland County lawmaker replaced former Speaker James Emmanuel Nuquay of the 53rd Legislature, whose tenure expired Monday, January 15. Like the Speakership, Cllr J. Fonati Koffa of Grand Kru County is the current Deputy House Speaker of the 54th legislature. He’s also a member of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).

He replaced Representative Hans M. Barchue who served under the Speakership of current Bomi County Senator Edwin M. Snowe, Jr.  They both declined their respective intentions after being nominated earlier.

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