Speaker J. Fonati Koffa has appointed the Acting Chairman of the Unity Party (UP) Caucus, Rep. Richard N. Koon, as Chairman of the House of Representatives Inauguration Committee.
The Ad-hoc Inauguration Committee comprises six members, and selecting Koon as head might have come as a surprise to some, given the fact that he had just challenged Koffa for the Speaker post. Some, however, see Koffa’s decision as not only magnanimous and reconciliatory after a tense electoral process but a show of good leadership.
The members of the committee include Rep. Moima Briggs-Mensah, co-chairperson, Rep. Samuel Enders, Rep. Julie Wiah, Rep. Rugie Barry, and Rep. Emmanuel Dahn.
The House’s Ad-hoc Inauguration Committee is tasked to closely collaborate with the Joint Transitional Inaugural Team from the Executive Branch to ensure the seamless execution of a successful inauguration program on the grounds of the Capitol Building on Monday, January 22, 2024.
The Committee’s responsibilities extend to coordinating various aspects of the inaugural proceedings, aligning with the joint transitional inaugural team, and contributing to the overall success of this significant event.
Accordingly, during Monday’s Inauguration, all government offices and business houses will be closed from Six O’clock ante meridian to six o’clock post meridian.
Since 1944, Liberians did not witness a peaceful and democratic transition until 2017, and with that set to be held successively, it makes the impending inauguration a momentous in the nation’s history, as one democratically elected government will be handing power to another democratically elected government.
Article 50 of the 1986 Constitution provides that the President shall be elected by universal adult suffrage of registered voters in the Republic, and shall hold office for a term of six years commencing at noon on the third working Monday.
“The Executive Power of the Republic shall be vested in the President, who shall be Head of State, Head of Government, and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia,” the Constitution says. “The President shall be elected by universal adult suffrage of registered voters in the Republic and shall hold office for a term of six years, commencing at noon on the third working Monday in January of the year immediately following the elections. No person shall serve as president for more than two terms.”
The Speaker also appointed an Ad-Hoc Administration Committee to be chaired by Rep. J. Marvin Cole. This committee is tasked with finding suitable offices for newly elected lawmakers and managing other administrative matters crucial to the smooth functioning of the legislative body.
The committee intends to play a pivotal role in ensuring that the logistical and administrative needs of the legislators are met efficiently. The Administration Committee, co-chaired by Rep. P. Mike Jurry, also includes Rep. Priscilla Cooper, Rep. Bintu Massalley, Rep. Austin Blidi Taylor, and Rep. Eugene Kollie.
The term of the committees, according to Speaker Koffa, will conclude on January 23, 2024. At that time, the Speaker will appoint statutory and other standing committees to continue the essential work of the 55th Legislature.
The Speaker has expressed confidence in the capabilities and dedication of the appointed committee members, trusting that they will contribute significantly to the success of the inauguration and the smooth administration of the legislative process.