Grand Kru County district #2 lawmaker Hon. Jonathen Fonati Koffa Says the Cancellation of Tenure Positions Is Legally Proceeding as the President is using the legitimate means to get the powers given to him as enshrined in Article 51 of the 1986 Liberian Constitution. Representative J. Fonati Koffa
The Houses’ Committee Chair on Judiciary,Grand Kru County District #2 Representative J. Fonati Koffa has categorically rubbished assertions by some opposition politicians who believed that President George Weah is proceeding wrongly by calling for the cancellation of tenure positions.
Addressing a news conference in Monrovia Friday, Representative Koffa said contrary to the assertions, President Weah is proceeding rightly and in line with the constitution of Liberia to ensure the Legislature takes the necessary steps legally to repeal those tenures.
“Everything that is been done is proceeding quite legally. The President has not gone in there and done anything forcefully. The military has not been used to do anything forcefully. It has all been done legally,” he noted.
The Grand Kru County District #2 Representative further indicated that if another President decides to abdicate his or her power, that does not in anyway negate the fact that the next President cannot take the necessary actions legally to correct the issue.
“Before the coming in of Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Government, who used to make noise that this position and that position need to be tenure? …President Weah comes in and say look, if I am going to be held a hundred percent liable for the progress of my administration, than the powers that have been legally given to me, I must have them. So to the extent that somebody’s ceded their powers at a specific time…I want to be the officer in charge to be fully responsible so the power accrue to me must come to me.
And I will do it legally, I will go to the Legislature and if it doesn’t work I will go to the court. That is how democracy works. So I think and I am excited at the fact that the President did not get up one morning and I am cancelling tenure positions. He sends it to the Legislature in line with our laws for repeal…I asked the Lotteries people why they need tenure during the public hearing. Why was there an unusual rush of tenure legislation during the end of an administration? So we are proceeding legally. I haven’t seen any move by the President to say is unconstitutional,” Rep. Koffa noted.
Referencing Article 51 of the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia,Rep. Koffa emphasized that no power given to the President can be given to the Vice President as such those complaining that the President is proceeding wrongly should take time and research properly.
Article 51 say, there shall be a Vice-President who shall assist the President in the discharge of his functions. The Vice-President shall be elected on the same political ticket and shall serve the same term as the President. The Vice-President shall be President of the Senate and preside over its deliberations without the right to vote, except in the case of a tie vote. He shall attend meetings of the cabinet and other governmental meetings and shall perform such functions as the President shall delegate or deem appropriate; provided that no powers specifically vested in the President by the provisions of this Constitution shall be delegated to the Vice-President.
“You see it is very clear. No power given to the President can be dedicated to the Vice President than you make law and say the Vice President or the Vice President office will appoint somebody? It is not possible. So we passed on it no body challenge it,” he indicated.
He meanwhile called on Liberians to work to ensure they support the government succeed and not to waste time on rumors and fake news which has the ability to create chaos.
At the same time, Rep. Koffa has distanced President Weah involvement in the impeachment process hanging over Associate Justice Kabineh Mohammed Ja’neh.
Koffa asserted, contrary to the misinformation, the impeachment proceeding was proffer by some lawmakers at the House of Representatives inline with the Constitution of Liberia as such the President has absolutely no involvement.
In a separate development,Representative Koffa says, the much talked about Dual Citizenship bill and an act to strengthen the law protecting Liberian Businesses and empowering them are currently undergoing scrutiny at the House of Representatives, stressing that at the appropriate time the documents will be passed and forwarded to the Liberian Senate for concurrence.
The Dual Citizenship bill is one document that has received huge endorsement from Liberians living abroad. Few months ago, the Union of Liberia Associations in the Americas (ULAA) called on lawmakers to ensure the passage of the dual citizens’ bill to allow Liberians who have taken citizenship in other countries to come home and contribute to the development of Liberia.
President Weah during his first Annual Massage to the Legislature in January 2018, called on the body to see reason to amend the citizenship clause in the Liberian Constitution which denies non-negro and other Liberians who have taken citizenship in other countries the right of Liberian citizenship.
On the other hand, the bill seeking to strengthen the law protecting Liberian Businesses and empowering them will be done through enacting and repealing laws to provide criminal penalties for violators and creates a fund to ensure that Liberian businesses in the subject category succeed.
The document currently in committee’s room at the House of Representatives is a policy seeking to discourage Liberians from being marginalized in their own economy as the investment Act of 2010.