Grand Kru District#2 Representative Cllr. Jonathan Fornati Koffa who is on the ticket of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) has won the Deputy speakership defeating opposition candidate Clarence Massaquoi. Earlier, members of the opposing community in Liberia have vowed that they will go all out to ensure that the deputy speaker positon is reclaimed, but amazingly, the ruling party won the seat. Cllr. Jonathan Fornati Koffa victory comes following a fresh mid-term senatorial election where the opposition outperformed the ruling establishment and won most of the seats that were up for grasp.
Owing to the ruling party dismal performance in the polls, it was widely predicted prior to the Deputy Speaker’s election that the polls would have been a two-horse race between the CDC and CPP. Some political analysts even thought that the CPP might triumph again owing to their huge number and good rapport with Independent lawmakers.
However, Tuesday’s election, which was held in the chambers of the House, was a complete antithesis of those predictions as Rep. Koffa won 66 percent of the votes. Declaring Rep. Koffa as the winner, House Chief Clerk Mildred Sayon announced that out of 68 vote cast, the Grand Kru County’s District 2 lawmaker who also chaired the Committee on Judiciary before his election accumulated 45 votes and followed by Rep. Massaquoi with 20 votes. Rep. Moima Briggs Mensah of Bong District #6 came distant third with just two votes.
Did money play in Koffa’s victory?
Many critics of the administration have argued that the victory of Representative Koffa was influenced by money from the ruling party in order to protect their power.
There has been evidence to link the lawmakers from taking money to vote Representative Koffa but Liberia Public Radio has obtained a live audio where some representatives were heard saying that “election is not free, election is money” during the Tuesday January 12, 2021 deputy speakership election. Members of the Liberian parliament have on numerous occasions being accused of taking bribes in order to take decision including voting. In March 2019, members of the Liberian senate were accused of allegedly taking US$4,000.00 (LRD$800,000) each to remove former associate Justice Kabina Ja’neh. By Mark Dahn/www.liberiapublicradio.com
Main Photo: Fonati Koffa, Deputy Speaker Elect, Liberian Assembly