Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa to NEC’s Defense

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Rep. J. Fonati Koffa

Says CPP’s writ of mandamus is an unnecessary delay tactic

The chairman of the House of Representative Judiciary Committee, Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa has termed the recent writ of mandamus filed by the opposition Collaborating Political Parties as an unnecessary delay tactic against the pending election that would result in a constitutional crisis.

Cllr. Koffa, former chairman of the opposition Liberty Party and now a member of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change, explained that the writ from the CPP is not just dangerous for the country as it delays the election, but it also contradicts the call by the opposition block to have the voters roll cleaned up before the election.

Cllr. Koffa, also the Representative of Grand Kru County District #2, was entreated with a petition to run for the Senate in his county in the upcoming election, but he declined, citing resource constraints that come with subsequent by-elections to fill the positions of any Members of the House of Representatives who would transition to the Senate in the coming election.

In the case of the CPP’s writ of mandamus, he said any further delay in the conduct of the elections as it is happening “is dangerous for the country since December 8 is not already the regular date for the election.”

“We need to swear in new Senators in January; there is a window. If we continue to have challenges, some frivolous and some legitimate, that will waste the time of the electorates, and then we may not be able to accomplish that. And we will get into some constitutional crisis,” the Grand Kru County lawmaker said.

Cllr. Koffa added that though he is not pre-judging what the Justice-in-Chamber is going to say, he believes that the CPP’s writ of mandamus will not go anywhere, as it will “fall flat.”

“The writ of mandamus must fall flat on its face. I am not going to pre-judge what the Justice-in-Chamber is going to say, but let’s go back and look at the contradiction. You are complaining about the voter roll to be cleaned, at the same time, you are calling for the by-elections of Montserrado District #9 and Sinoe District #2 to come forward. It does not make sense. It appears to be dilatory tactics because while you are complaining about the clean-up of the voter roll, you cannot also be saying bring the elections back and have it now,” he said.

The writ in questions, which was filed by the Unity Party, Liberty Party, Alternative National Congress, and All Liberian Party (ALP) — the four parties that comprise the CPP — prays the Supreme Court to compel the National Elections Commission, the House of Representatives and the Executive Branch of the government to conduct the Representative by-election in both Montserrado and Sinoe Counties on or before October 28, 2020.

In their petition, the CPP argues that the Legislature, as though gravely unmindful of its constitutional duty and as a demonstration of further disregard for the fundamental law of the country, notified the NEC of the death of Sloh on September 10, 2020, seventy –two (72) days after his death, while in the case of Rep. Youngblood, NEC was notified on September 10, sixty-four (64) days after her death, instead of notifying NEC within 30 days of the vacancies as mandated by Article 37 of the 1986 Constitution.

Article 37 of the Constitution states that: “In the event of a vacancy in the Legislature caused by death, resignation, expulsion or otherwise, the presiding officer shall within 30 days notify the Elections Commission thereof. The Elections Commission shall not later than 90 days thereafter cause a by-election to be held; provided that where such vacancy occurs within 90 days prior to the holding of general elections, the filling of the vacancy shall await the holding of such general elections.”

“In both cases, the notifications were issued well beyond the time frame mandated by the Constitution,” said the CPP. “The holding the by-elections on December 8, 2020 will be in blatant violation of Chapter V, Article 37 of the Constitution, which states that elections to fill vacancies created at the Legislature should be held within a 120-day period.”

In the writ, the CPP added that the NEC’s unilateral announcement without the involvement of the political parties to conduct the by-elections to fill the two vacancies on December 8 “is a deliberate, calculated, wanton and vicious assault on the letter and spirit of the 1986 Constitution and with callous disregard for its consequences.”

“It shows how gravely unmindful the NEC has become of its constitutional duty and the fundamental laws of the country. The pronouncement made by the NEC to the effect that it will conduct the by-elections to fill the existing vacancies in the House of Representatives on December 8 is an act completely without the pale of the law,” the lawsuit said.

“Therefore,” the lawsuit argued, the “Issuance of the writ of mandamus is instructing the NEC to perform its constitutional and statutory duty by conducting the pending by-elections in strict conformity with the constitutionally mandated timelines.”

However, for Cllr. Koffa, the delay in communication with NEC was prudent due to several factors including “resource constraints that may have compelled the House to adjust the elections’ date.”

“We have to understand that even in the context of the sphere of our democracy, there are always resource issues. We combined them together is because it is easier to conduct the process,” Cllr. Koffa explained. “There is no great harm that is going to happen as a result of that. So, to me, it becomes a political question. And when the court is faced with a political question, it generally defers to the political branch of government.”

On the issue of “stay order” of the Supreme Court which paused the release of the final listing of Senatorial by-Election, Cllr. Koffa said if the Senate is not complete “with the election of Senators by or before the second working Monday in January 2021, the 54th Legislature will be incomplete and, by extension, the government.

“It is a delay tactic to keep the country in turmoil,” he said.

The Court, a week ago, placed a stay order on all proceedings and or actions on the listing and or publications of names of candidates pending the outcome of the hearing following a complaint from Margibi County senatorial aspirant, Mulbah S. Jackollie, for having been excluded from the provisional candidates listing by NEC.

Author

  • I am a Liberian journalist, born November 7 and hailed from the Southeast and of the kru tribe. I began contributing to the Daily Observer 2008 and was fully employed in 2012. I am the 3rd of eight children and named after my great grandfather. Am happily married with three children (girls). I am a full member of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) and also the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL) and the Legislative Press Pool (LEGISPOL). I can be contacted through email: [email protected] or cell number/WhatsApp: (+231) 0886585875 or Facebook.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ! Stupid, thinking about combining the two elections, the best thing that the stupid lawmaker could have done is to amend the constitution that is being messed with every time. The constitution was messed with to postpone the elections to December. So why couldn’t the stupid lawmaker called to have the constitution amended again. The stupid lawmaker has been out of the country doing what ? What was his occupation in the United States of America ? Stealing. Engaging in criminal activities. And so living by the rule of law is something very strange to him. He is a diaspora Liberian that has returned to mess up the country again, as they always do and have done, past and present. Greed and love for raw power have always been the reason for the breakdown in the rules of law by the diaspora Liberians. And the stupid lawmaker as a diaspora Liberian, he knows that very well. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ! That is the kind of new idea brought from the United States of America by the stupid lawmaker. Don’t worry about the constitution, just combined the two elections, No Harm Done . Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ! They coming from America Ooooooooo. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ! They are back to mess up the country again Oooooooo ! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !

  2. Wow, another criminal defending a criminal enterprise under the Weah’s CDC Government! Sadly and unfortunately, only in Liberia do Liberians reward criminality with top government jobs. .Fonati Kofa has no moral standing to present himself as an authority in defense of NEC’s attempt to high-jack Liberia’s electoral process to benefit CDC candidates in up-coming elections. Any attempt to conduct elections in the midst of the massive frauds Liberians are resisting, this Nation might be plunged into another chaos and confusion. Liberia cannot afford to experience another unwarranted conflict due to greed and sycophantic elements within the system, who are bent on killing good people just to continue their looting spree. Fonati Kofa and the likes should be in jail instead of the Honorable House, parading as leaders.

    • Tony Leewaye, you just shut up your everything. You are here spewing such rubbish as “only in Liberia do Liberians reward criminality with top government jobs“.

      Were yo crazy when you were campaigning for the most notorious criminal in Liberia Prince Yormie Johnson to become President? When you criminal accomplices get frustrated over not having that corrupt and incompetent and very old Joseph Boakai take what he does not deserve, you display contradiction and hypocrisy.

      Cllr Koffa is an accomplished and very successful lawyer!!! And you know it!!! He is a former Chairman of the Liberty Party! His county elected him as their Representative in the Legislature!! And now he is the Chairman of The House Committee on Judicial affairs.

      He DUXED the Supreme Court’s Bar Examination! He is one of the continent’s most respected prosecutors, He has absolutely no criminal apprehension hanging over him, nor any fear that he is doomed to spend the rest of his life in prison as is the case of your political godfather and mentor the notorious criminal Prince Yormie Johnson!

  3. Wow! Is honorable Koffa really thinking as a lawyer? He sat in the House and did not say a word until the constitutionally mandated time elapsed for the replacement of the fallen representatives, and now wants to combine it with the senatorial bi-election. In my opinion, if there is any constitutional crisis, it will be the fault of the houses’ judicial committee, as it did not advise the plenary of the house on the constitutional mandate for organizing the bi-election to replace the two fallen law makers.
    Why did the judiciary committee of the house not call for a constitutional amendment to carry forward the date of the bi-election to replace the two fallen law makers, as was done for the senatorial bi-election? Now the inept lawyer is blaming the CPP that is trying to correct the mistake made by the legislature and the NEC.
    I really do not blame the ex felon, criminal minded personalities that are kicked out of the legal profession in these United States are welcome in Liberia, and given legal leadership positions in our legislature. What really do you expect from someone who serve prison term for criminally duping his clients? He should have been rejected by the Liberian electorates, I don’t think that he actually understands his functions at the legislature.
    Anyway, the days of this fecee, corrupt government are numbered, after their demise the Liberian people will elect a real government that will not have ex-convicts and war criminals.

    Tolo Bonah Corfah
    Dixon ,California

  4. The lawmakers of Liberia, including Fonati might have the best of intentions to say whatever they want to say or do whatever they want to do for Liberia. But on the whole, Fonati and his lawmaking colleagues should be ashamed of themselves because of their huge yearly compensation. By earning such money, Weah’s hands are tied because he cannot do some of the things he wants to do for the good people of Liberia. Example, public schools throughout the republic have no dictionaries, encyclopedias and shamefully in some cases, no chalk. To make matters worse, most backcounty schools have no desks, textbooks or even a toilet for teachers as well as for students. My goodness! What’s really wrong with the lawmakers of Liberia?

    Just when will it be possible for Fonati (an educated guy) and his colleagues to challenge themselves to this pressing issue? Are the lawmakers of Liberia complicit in the backwardness of Liberia? I think they are. Because of their egocentricity, their eyes are blinded by greed. Their greed is sinking Liberia!

    On worse side of all things are the dis-organizers who call themselves CPP/CoP. Every time an issue comes up (such as the recent deaths), the dis-organizers talk about ways in which they hope to unseat Weah. Okay. As a political opposition, they have a right to strategize. But it’s an undeniable reality that the opposition leaders are a bunch of weak and disorganized people. They will ultimately fail. My main point is this…. the opposition leaders have never bothered to challenge the lawmakers’ compensation. The implication one gets from the opposition’s silence on this issue is apparent….. they’re supportive of exorbitant salaries. Because of their ridiculousness, Liberians will turn against them in droves during the next election period. Shame on the opposition!

    • Mr. Hney, with all your blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, that the “opposition leaders have never bothered to challenge the lawmakers’ compensations” makes you a liar. So why do you give a supportive shout out to Senator Dillon for his efforts in that direction, and for even putting a bill forward to do just that as a member of CPP or CoP ? Why don’t you do just that ? The lawmakers are not the only political leaders in the three political institutions that are being compensated heavily. George and his wife are taking in more than they paid in taxes. In fact , it is alleged that the wife received half a million US dollars for just being the wife of George. While the remote village of Grand Kru County with a population of little over 50,000 citizens is receiving two hundred thousand dollars for the kind developments pointed out in your blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah post. You are getting more and more confused by the regime. Give a shout out to Senator Dillon for trying to reduce the lawmakers’ compensations in order for desks and chairs and blackboards, and others educational materials to be put in the classrooms across the country. Will you give the Senator a supportive shout out ? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ! Hney getting confused by the minute. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ! Don’t know who to put the blame on any more. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !

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