UP FEARS BACKFIRE

By R. Joyclyn Wea

Monrovia-Jan-18-TNR: A fresh report from the Temple of Justice in Monrovia says the Unity Party team of lawyers has withdrawn its legal action against the newly elected Speaker of the House of Representatives, Jonathan Fonati Koffa.

Political pundits say UP’s hasty decision to withdraw the legal action against Speaker Koffa yesterday is due to fear that the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) will force its lawmakers in the House and the Liberia Senate to boycott the inauguration of President-elect, Joseph Boakai.

The President-elect and the Vice President-elect can only be inaugurated and administered the Oath of Office if there is a quorum in the Legislature where formalities for the swearing-in ceremony begin. UP feared that if the Legislature did not have a quorum, the swearing-in of the incoming President who is from the UP would not be held thus, resorting to a constitutional crisis.  

After winning the Speakership of the House of Representatives on Monday against the Unity Party’s preferred candidate, the party through its legal team took Speaker Koffa to court over his dual citizenship status.

The team of lawyers in their action claim it a violation of the 1986 constitution of the land for a person with dual citizenship to hold elected office.  The party noted that said person could only vote and not be voted for, hence, it decided to ensure the court nullified Speaker Koffa’s election.

But in a twist, and fearing that the CDC will call on its lawmakers to boycott the pending inauguration of the President-elect, the Unity Party yesterday somersaultedand reclined its earlier decision to take the newly elected Speaker to court.

Before he was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives, it was previously reported that the Unity Party had abandoned its planned legal action against the citizenship of former Deputy Speaker Jonathan FonatiKoffa.

But despite its earlier pronouncement, minutes following the election of Cllr. Koffa as Speaker of, the Unity Party ran to court to nullify the election of the Speaker of the 55th Legislature. Yesterday UP’s legal team said they have abandoned their plans and withdrawn the legal action against the citizenship of Cllr. Koffa who is now Speaker of Representatives.

Recently, multiple media reports suggested that Unity Party (UP) was contemplating a legal action against the citizenship of Deputy House Speaker, Jonathan FonatiKoffa who was then favored by many of his colleagues before his election.

As expected, Cllr. Koffa won the Speakership election along with his colleague, Lofa County District#1 Representative, Thomas Fallah as Deputy Speaker.

On Monday, January 15, 2024, Representatives of the incoming 55th Legislature went to the polls to elect a Speaker and Deputy Speaker following Article 49 of the Liberian Constitution. The Speaker shall be the Presiding Officer of that august body and ensure the proper functioning of the National Legislature.

Grand Kru County Representative, Jonathan Fonati Koffa of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) was declared winner of the Speaker position, while Lofa County Representative, Thomas Fallah alias T-5 also of the CDC was declared winner of the Deputy Speaker position.

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