House Writes President, Chief Justice, Senate on Filling of Leadership Gap

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Speaker Bhofal Chambers adminsters the oath of the office of the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives to Rep. J. Fonati Koffa, who was elected to the position on Tuesday, January 12, 2021.

In accordance to Chapter 4, Rule 6.1, Speaker Bhofal Chambers of the House of Representatives, through Chief Clerk Mildred Sayon, has formally written President George M. Weah, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor and the Senate, that its leadership is complete and more ready to conduct legislative business, the Daily Observer has gathered.

Chapter 4, Rules 6.1 says: “The Speaker shall then direct that a message be sent to the Senate and
President of the Republic of Liberia.” This is applicable to the election of Grand Kru County District #2 Representative Fonati Koffa on Tuesday to fill the Deputy Speaker position vacated by Senator Prince Moye.

House Deputy Chief Clerk, Sayfur Geplay, in a telephone conversation on Wednesday, confirmed the communications and said it is aimed at informing other branches of Government and the Senate of the House’s obedience to Article 49 of the 1986 Constitution that an election of the Deputy Speaker is to ensure the proper functioning of the House.

According to political pundits, after the communications, it is customary that the newly elected Deputy Speaker is introduced to the audience to whom the communications went, who also by their discretion the Speaker accompanies him (elected Deputy Speaker).

Rep. Koffa is the fourth Deputy Speaker in 15 years. Deputy Speakers who had served since 2006 include Rep. Tokpah Mulbah, Bong County; Rep. Hans Barchue, Grand Bassa County; and Rep. Prince Moye, Bong County. Rep. Koffa is the first among recent Deputy Speakers to complete the tenure of another.

As Deputy Speaker, Rep. Koffa will serve as ex-officio on all Statutory and Standing Committees, including the Judiciary Committee, of which he served as chairman for three years.

The office of the Deputy Speaker operates its own budget as does the Speaker, President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Vice President.

What does a deputy do?

The Deputy Speaker has the responsibility to preside over discussion in session in the absence of the Speaker, at which time the Deputy Speaker exercises all rights and powers assigned to the Speaker. The role of the Deputy was created in the 1970s as a permanent solution to cover the absence of the Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker shall assist the Speaker in the discharge of his/her functions, and he/she shall perform such duties as the Speaker shall delegate or deem appropriate and shall also initiate any financial and other transactions with the approval of the Speaker.

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