Grand Kru County Representative Cllr. Jonathan Fonati Koffa, has taken a giant step here, declaring his membership with the governing Coalition for Democratic Change in what is being speculated in many quarters as eyeing the speaker post in the House.
Rep. Koffa is chairman emeritus of the opposition Liberty Party that lost the 2017 Presidential elections. He resigned the LP chairmanship prior to the elections and vied in his district as an Independent Candidate, winning Grand Kru’s district#2.
There are speculations that he took the leap to the CDC in readiness to battle for the speakership currently occupied by a CDCian Representative Bhofa Chambers of Sorokan District, Maryland County.
Though Cllr. Koffa, who heads the House’s Committee on Judiciary, denies such rumor, information persists within the corridors of the Capitol he is the favorite of many lawmakers.
The situation is said to have sent chills down the spines of incumbent Speaker Bhofal Chambers, who has adapted a posture of fear against Representative Koffa.
The governing Coalition that involves a marriage of President George Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), jailed former president Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Party (NPP) and criminally indicted ex-speaker Alex Tyler’s Liberia People Democratic Party (LPDP) is radically reshuffling internally with Grand Kru County Senator Cllr. Joseph Nagbe, now a member of the Supreme Court bench after his nomination by President Weah and subsequent confirmation by the Senate.
Two CDC members of the House are currently leading a campaign to impeach embattled Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh from the High Court bench amid talks of the ruling Coalition striving to secure a strong hold of the final arbiter of justice.
Chambers won the speakership on white ballot, as the result of political concession between the former ruling Unity Party and the Coalition for Democratic Change that the latter takes the speaker post, while the former gets the deputy post for harmonious relationship between the two biggest political parties.
In the House plenary last Saturday during an executive session, Representative Isaac Roland sat with Representative Koffa, but Chambers in his presiding chair referred to Koffa as his ‘enemy’.
“How will you be my friend, when you’re sitting with my enemy”, the Speaker was heard saying.
Speaker Chambers has lost political relationship with his colleagues, who supported his ascendency to the third most powerful office in the land. Also, relationship between the Speaker and President George Weah seems little distant in what insiders say is due to his persistent attack against former President Elle n Johnson Sirleaf.
President Weah, who is striving to reconcile the country, had on several occasions admonished Chambers to slow his pace, but it appears the plead has fallen on death ears.
Declaring his membership at the CDC headquarters in Congo Town recently, Rep. Koffa said his decision is based on the lobbying speed of Chairman Mulbah Morlu, who over the years has talked to him to join the party.
Koffa had earlier declared his intention to contest for the speakership in January, but later backed off.Many lawmakers are displeased about the leadership style of Speaker Chambers, and they seem to see Koffa as the only option for now.
Already, there have been series of meetings among lawmakers who oppose the Chambers leadership on how to oust him during their agriculture break, which is expected to commence end of August.
During the declaration ceremony recently for Koffa, it was announced that President George Manneh Weah was expected to grace the occasion with agents of the elite Executive Protection Service posted inside the CDC’s compound, but later Chairman Morlu disclosed that the President and First Partisan would not attend because he was pre-occupied.
It was the first of its kind for the President to have expressed interest in being present at reception ceremony for an individual joining the CDC.However, Chairman Morlu praised Koffa for his bravery and courage to join the ruling party, which he described as an added advantage for the smooth running of the Coalition.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor –Editing by Jonathan Browne