Grand Kru County Representative Jonathan Fonati Koffa is poised to win the race for the Speaker position in the House of Representatives as the national legislature transitions into its 55th session with the hold of leadership elections in both chambers today.
Koffa emerged as the favorite amongst House members despite incoming President Joseph Bokai backing Montserrado County and Unity Party lawmaker Richard Nagbe for the top job.
His colleagues see him as reliable and accessible leader who has the pedigree befitting the office of Speaker of the Republic of Liberia and can ensure stability amongst the three branches of government while uphold the constitutional doctrine of check and balances.
But if Koffa wins, what kind of Speaker will he be for the legislature and the country?
“What you can look for under the gavel of Fonati Koffa is accountability and transparency in the Legislature. I think you can be assured of a legislature holding the executive’s feet to the fire in terms of making sure that whatever is proffered is in the interest of the Liberian people,” he told reporters in November 2023..
“We will be robust but, in the end, it is only to make sure something good happens.”
This is how the Pan African publication – the African Leadership Magazine profiles him:
Cllr. Jonathan Fonati Koffa, the deputy speaker of Liberia’s Parliament, is an eccentric political leader adept in the science and art of constituent representation.
A Lawyer and political leader whose short but meteoric rise to prominence in Liberian politics show a healthy understanding of politics and the ability to cut across political and ethnic divides to accomplish national goals and objectives.
He has been instrumental in passing crucial gender-responsive bills, including the Domestic Violence Bill and the Female Genital Mutilation Bill.
Cllr. Koffa, or JFK, as popularly known in Liberian circles, was born in then Sasstown Territory (now Grand Kru) County in 1963 into the union of Major Stephen Jaitoh and Margaret Mona Koffa.
The son of a military officer, his family relocated to Monrovia, Liberia, in 1966, where he grew up and began his educational journey
JFK was recently lauded by the Regional UN Women Ambassador for Africa, Madam Jaha Dukureh, over his efforts to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Liberia.
She praised him for being a significant player in the Legislature for championing bills in the interest of women, including the bill to outlaw the practices of FGM.
In her words, “we have seen this as an opportunity for us to interact with you, and we would like to say this as a fact that you are a champion in the fight against female genital mutilation in Liberia.”
“Honorable, I must confess that your stance against fgm is realistic and honest, and since I have been here, I have not found someone who is so passionate and firm on this issue as you: your dedication, your commitment, your passion and your willingness to champion is excellent, “Amb. Jaha said.
Prior, the Deputy Speaker was very instrumental in the passage of the Domestic Violence Bill.
He is the founder and Managing Partner of the International Law Group (ILG), and he has been practising law since 1997, both in Liberia and the United States of America.
Cllr. Koffa was also admitted into the Supreme Court Bar of the Republic of Liberia with distinct honour as valedictorian of the graduating class.
In 2016, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf appointed Koffa as Minister of State without Portfolio and Special Prosecutor of the Sable Mining Bribery scandal case.
A few months later, he was appointed legal counsel to the President of Liberia.
Cllr. Koffa resigned in late July 2017 to participate in the General and Presidential elections as a candidate for the Representative seat in Grand Kru County District 2.
On October 19, he was declared the winner of that electoral process, and in 2021, he was subsequently elected as Deputy Speaker of the 54th Legislature of the Republic of Liberia.
Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa is the immediate past Chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the 54th National Legislature.
He was a member of the Committee on Elections and Inauguration and the Committee on Human & Civil Rights.
He is the current acting Chairperson of the Grand Kru Legislative Caucus at the 54th National Legislature and the Deputy Speaker of the 54th Legislature of the Republic of Liberia.