The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, J. Fonati Koffa has vowed to support the legislation of 30 percent women participation recently advocated for by some women groupings in line with Article 8 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia.
Article 8 states that, “The Republic shall direct its policy towards ensuring for all citizens without discrimination, opportunities for employment and livelihood under just and humane conditions, and towards promoting safety, health and welfare facilities in employment.”
Addressing a news conference yesterday at his Capitol Building office in Monrovia, the Grand Kru County District #2 Representative among other things stressed, “I support anti-discrimination clause of the Constitution of Liberia of which I support that this issue be legislated and be laid to rest.”
According to him, there is no invidious discrimination in Liberia against women participation in politics but instead, there is inherent discrimination that needs to be corrected and as such, he will entertain the idea of discussion leading to legislation that will mandate a 30 percent for women participation in legislative race.
Rep. Koffa indicated that his decision to support the 30 percent women participation is triggered by the fact that there is a Constitutional mandate that speaks against discrimination including the increased number of female population than the males, something which he said opens the door for proper, equal and solid representation if they have more females in the National Legislature.
He added, “This decision to support the 30 percent right of women is not really based on international pressure as one would see it to be but instead, our female population is increasingly asking for a more equitable share at the table to enable them bring those issues necessary for the development and forward march of the country and that is something that we cannot let go or ignore.”
“Let me get one thing straight; I am not leading any effort but as former Chairperson of the House Committee on Judiciary and one of the legal minds in the legislature, I will support robust discussion and entertain legislation on this 30 percent issue because based on my own consultation, there has been slowness in attaining goals,” the Grand Kru lawmaker emphasized.
Deputy Speaker Koffa further stated that the Women Legislative Caucus in the House of Representatives are the once leading and driving the push for the 30 percent women participation, thereby promised his fullest support towards their efforts in ensuring that their quest yields fruits.
It can be recalled that several women from diverse spectrum of Liberia under the banner WONGOSOL presented a petition to the House of Representatives Female Legislative Caucus calling on them to reinstate a text that was allegedly altered from the proposed New Election law by some of their colleagues in Buchannan City, Grand Bassa County.
Additionally, the women further urged the lawmakers to demonstrate their support to women’s political participation by ensuring a vote for the amendment to be reinstated. However, Section 4.5 of the New Election law makes it compulsory for political parties to include as minimum of 30 percent of either gender in their national executive and their candidates’ lists for election, thus giving the NEC the power to reject any candidate’s list that does not comply.