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Editorial: Elect a people-centered Speaker

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are gearing up to elect a Speaker that will head the incoming 55th Legislature. The race for the speakership is between incumbent Deputy Speaker, Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa and Representative Richard Nagbe Koon of Montserrado County District#11.

The election is intended to replace outgoing Speaker Bhofal Chambers, who lost his district in Maryland County during the October 10, 2023 election.

As the lawmakers prepare to vote on January 15, 2024, we urge you to elect the right candidate that serves the public interest. This is important to maintain the doctrine of separation of power and promote the well-being of the citizenry.   

This does not mean, however, that whoever emerges as the next Speaker should be confrontational or combative with the executive. There should be strong coordination with the other two branches of government to keep the nation sailing smoothly.

The Speaker should be people-centered first before exercising party loyalty so as to keep a level head. By doing so he will focus on the bigger picture that is Liberia.

Lawmakers going to vote should look for these qualities and more in the candidates before deciding on who to elect. A person should not be elected merely on friendship.

A Speaker that will champion Liberia’s interests will do better. He should be able to navigate his way in diplomatic cycles to win trust and woe foreign investments to the country that will provide jobs for Liberians.

He should know the needs of the people besides his immediate constituency and be able to sway his colleagues to act.

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The Speaker wields so much power, but should not allow himself to be intoxicated by power that could lead to his destruction. In other words, power should be exercised judiciously.

Lastly, the Speaker should be someone that upholds transparency and accountability in both his public and private dealings to command respectability. Whether it is Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa or Representative Richard Nagbe Koon, these should be some of the characteristics of any emerging as Speaker of the 55th Legislature to preside over the business of the Liberian people.

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