Grand Kru County Representative, Cllr. J. FonatiKoffa accuses the opposition community here sending public school students in the streets to protest in demand of their teachers’ salaries. He describes the alleged action by the opposition as ‘total nonsense.’
Speaking in his office at the Capitol Tuesday, October 22, Representative Koffa, who crossed over from the opposition Liberty Party to the governing Coalition for Democratic Change said protest should be the least thing on the agenda of the opposition, saying putting kids in the streets to protest exposes then to danger, and caution that if the opposition themselves were given the opportunity to serve, they may experience the worse protest in the history of Liberia.
“Why will opposition encourage school-going kids to come to the streets for teachers’ pay; it’s like exposing them to danger and we all know that riot police will not come to the streets during protest to shake people’s hands; instead, they are brought in the streets to use all measures that will stop people from protesting,” he argues in apparent defense of Police brutality that characterized the recent protest by students.
The authorities here are shifting blames on a situation that turned bloody after riot Police fire barrage of teargas canisters, leaving several protesting students injured and admitted in hospital.According to him, the worse thing the students did during their protest was to stand before the convoy of the President in a bid to seek his attention.
“Their action of blocking the presidential convoy is treasonable under the Liberian law and we know the consequences of such action or behavior. Why opposition reduced themselves to protest only to show hate for the government? There are many options to be used to be heard than taking the streets. These protests prevent investors from coming here to invest and if investors cannot come then the economy remains tougher for every one of us,” he blasts.
Commenting on recent cuts in lawmakers’ salaries and benefits, Koffa foams the decision is the ‘most unjustifiable’ thing ever meted against them as representatives of the people.
He argues that lawmakers especially, those from leeward counties use their salaries and benefits to impact electorate and residents who have felt government’s direct developmental impact.
“Since my entry here as lawmaker for my county, my salary and benefits have never entered my pocket; they are managed by staff for the upkeep of the hospital, construction of schools, salaries for 62 staffs hired as county coordinators to boost the economy will be affected greatly in Grand Kru County.”Rep. Koffa says he did go to the Capitol for personal earnings but rather to serve the needs and aspirations of his county and the country at large.
“Nobody in their rightful mind will think that I came here for US$15,000 pay; I’m far bigger than that, in fact, I’m getting poorer by the day since I came here. I spend more from my law office now than ever before. Just last week I spent about LRD400, 000 on scholarship from my personal pocket,” he reveals. By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne