The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, J. Fonatti Koffa has described as ‘disgraceful and embarrassing’ his colleagues’ constant behavior of coming late for regular session.
Deputy Speaker Koffa stressed that said attitude by his colleagues is a total violation and disrespect to their own rules which among other things calls for lawmakers to be in regular session at 10:00 a.m. on every session day.
The House Deputy Speaker’s outburst was triggered by an inquiry from Representative Byron Zahway asking for clarity as to when they should come to work to conduct regular business every session day.
He said, “Honorable presiding, I have noticed that some of us have and are trying to abide by our constitutional mandate to be in session on time but most of us have intentionally decided or agreed that since we do not start by 10:00 a.m. and that, session is 2:00 p.m., they will not show up until 2:00. So, I want you to please inform this body about what time we should be in session.”
Additionally, as per the Constitution, the National Legislature is among other things the first Branch of the Liberian government with three cardinal responsibilities ranging from Lawmaking, Oversight and Representation.
However, in reaction to the inquiry and his colleagues’ deliberate refusal to show up in session on time, the Grand Kru County lawmaker intoned, “It is disgraceful for me or any other persons to see a video showing the speaker and few members sitting in session waiting for their colleagues.”
“Said attitude that has now become a normal norms for some of our colleagues is embarrassing to us all; this body and even the people think about how we conduct their businesses or make decisions that will favor them,” Rep. Koffa emphasized.
According to him, lawmakers should not sit and wait for issues concerning their benefits and other arrears before coming to work owing to the fact they were all elected or voted by their various constituencies to serve their respective interest.
He added, “It seems like it has now become an attitude for some of our colleagues that the only time they will show up on time is the time we will be talking about our benefits, and said behavior is so unfortunate and regrettable.”
Deputy Speaker Koffa wondered, “What benefits are due when you fail to be on time and do those things that require or bring about the benefits, or how do you expect to get such benefits when in fact you are not even doing the work you were sent by your people to do. So let this sound as a plea to our colleagues to take their job seriously to move forward.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker J. Fonatti Koffa has further warned his colleagues to always be time-conscious stressing, “You are now warned that this is the last time that you will fail to show up at 10:00 a.m. for session.”
“If for any reason you will not be in session for that day, please call and inform the House Chief Clerk or her Deputy about your absence, so we as your colleagues can know what to expect, do and put in place for that day, but failure of lawmakers of not showing up for session every session without any excuse will not be tolerated, “he sternly warned.