— Gets Speaker, Deputy Speaker Posts
Outgoing ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) has taken control of the House of Representatives as two of its staunch members were on Monday elected Speaker and Deputy Speaker, respectively. Grand Kru County District #2 Representative, J. Fonati Koffa, and Lofa County District #1 Representative, Thomas Fallah, got the support of their colleagues to steer the affairs of the Lower House for the next six years, if all goes well.
Koffa won a decisive election as Speaker of the 55th Legislature over his rival, Richard Nagbe Koon.
The Speaker is the third most powerful position in the country and the second in line to the Presidency.
In his speech minutes after his election, Koffa encouraged his colleagues to work towards collective efforts in rebranding the first branch of the government so that it works in the interest of the Liberian people.
“The time of politics is over, it is now time for governance --- it is now time for the people’s work to be done,” Speaker Koffa said. “We need to work in unity so that we work more robustly. We need to rebrand the House of Representatives so that we prioritize the interest of the country rather than individual interest.”
The Speaker indicated that President-elect Joseph N. Boakai outlined some of his agenda and two of them are “fighting corruption” and infrastructure development, including the Southeast roads.
Cllr. Koffa, 60, was the first lawmaker to serve as Deputy Speaker and be voted as Speaker in the House of Representatives of the Legislature of the Republic of Liberia since 1848.
Rep. Cllr. Koffa topped the ruling party’s nominee, Rep. Richard N. Koon, 36 votes to 31 on Monday afternoon in the House’s chamber, replacing Speaker Bhofal Chambers.
The House of Representatives has elected Rep. Thomas P. Fallah of Lofa County District #1 from Congress of Democratic Change (CDC) as Deputy Speaker.
Deputy Speaker Fallah whipped his lone rival Rep. Musa H. Bility, 42 - 24 votes.
Deputy Speaker Fallah is the longest serving representative of the House of Representatives; from 2006 to present.
Speaker Koffa was elected as Grand Kru County District #2 Representative. He served as Chairman for the Judiciary Committee from January 15, 2018 to January 12, 2021. He was elected Deputy Speaker, replacing Rep. Prince Moye of District #2 Bong County, who won as Senator for Bong County during the 2020 Midterm Senatorial Election.
The Speaker served as Deputy Speaker from January 12, 2021, to January 15, 2024–same day he was elected Speaker and subsequently inducted.
Rep. Richard Koon congratulated the Speaker Koffa on his victory and expressed hopes for the best of the 55th Legislature.
Speaker Koffa was the founding chairman of the opposition Liberty Party. He resumed chairmanship of the Liberty Party from 2011 to 2014 and oversaw its growth and expansion, including winning legislative seats for the party and ensuring that its lawmakers sat on and led ranking committees in the Legislature.
But Koffa resigned from the Liberty Party and joined the CDC in 2019 where he serves as a member of the Executive Council.
He began his legal career in the United States in 1998 in private practice and would move to Liberia in 2009 to become a 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.
Koffa was educated at the University Of North Carolina School Of Law at Chapel Hill, where he obtained a Juris Doctorate (JD) degree in Law. He also holds a Master Degree in Public Administration (MPA) from Raleigh, North Carolina State University, and a Bachelor of Public Administration (Cum Laude) with a concentration in Urban Planning, from Shaw University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.