Liberia: Grand Kru County’s University Students’ Body ‘Bubbles’ on Deputy House Speaker’s Offer—LRD300,000


MONROVIA — While Grand Kru County’s Electoral District #2 and Deputy Speaker of Liberia’s House of Representative, Hon. Jonathan Fonati Koffa, was outside of the venue of a ‘peace meeting’ he had convened for Grand Kru County’s University Students Union, commotion erupted over three hundred thousand Liberian Dollars he had left to be shared to participants of the meeting. The United States Dollars equivalent of this Liberian currency is two thousand Dollars (US$2,000) at the current Central Bank of Liberia-stipulated exchange rate of US1.00 to LRD1.50.

By Samuel G. Dweh, Freelance Journalist, [email protected]

The date of the meeting was Wednesday, July 6, 2022.

The venue of the meeting was the hall of the College of West Africa High School, located on Ashmum Street, Monrovia.

While Mr. Matthew S. Wisseh, Research Officer in the Office of the Deputy House Speaker, was calling only names of Chapters at various universities whose students were to receive, pandemonium broke out from students sitting at different angles of the hall. He was standing on the podium where Hon. Koffa had stood and spoke from.

 “Share the money in line with the attendance sheet!”

“The Honorable man gave the money as transportation fare to everybody present in this hall, not only for university student!” 

The comments above were some of the objections to ‘partiality’ the protesters’ were sensing in Mr. Wesseh’s calling of only names of Chapters whose students constituted over ninety percent of the number of people in the hall.

Mr. Chris Teah, Acting Grand Kru County’s Attorney, collected the microphone from Mr. Wesseh.

“The total number of persons on the attendance sheet is one hundred and twenty-two. Each person will receive two thousand, four hundred Liberian dollars,” he announced.

Mr. Teah’s announcement about the balance, LRD7,200, to be given to Grand Kru County’s representative to the Miss Liberia Beauty Pagean, of year 2022, engendered another round of objections from some members of the audience.

She was present at the university students-related meeting.

 The meeting was specifically for discussion on suspension of the leadership of the Union of Grand Kru County’s students in various Liberian Universities and for brainstorming on constitution of a new leadership.

The meeting was set for 3:00pm.

The Deputy House Speaker arrived thirty-nine minutes later.

“Senator Peter Coleman froze the Union’s Account based on lingering misunderstanding between the Students Union’s Leadership and some members,” Hon. Koffa said to the assembly of students and other Grand Kruans (not in university)

House of Representatives member, Hon. Koffa was elected Deputy Speaker in January, 2022, as replacement of Hon. Prince Moye, who had graduated from the HOR to the Senate for Bong County.

The new Deputy Speaker, of Grand Kru County, however, didn’t reveal reasons for Senator Coleman’s freeze of the Grand Kru County’s University students Union’s  Account. The Senatorial status of Mr. Peter Coleman came to an end on his defeat by Mr. Numene Bartekwa in the Presidential and Legislative Elections in 2017.

Hon. Koffa said he couldn’t intervene in the suspension of the Grand Kru County’s University students leadership during that time because it was a “jurisdictional issue,” he admitted.

During his speech, Hon. Koffa entertained questions or statements from the body of students, and non-students who needed some clarification.

 Majority of the comments focused followed three similar trends: An Interim leadership should be constituted and be charge for a three-month period up to elections time; the Veterans Committee to coordinate the Interim Leadership election; and none of the members of the suspended Leadership should be a part of the Interim Leadership.

Some participants asked the Legislator to explain causes of suspension of the University Students Leadership.

“Going into the history of who did what will take us two years,” the Deputy Speaker Koffa responded to demands for his narratives of factors that led to the disbandment of his County’s guiding body of university students in various higher institutions in Monrovia.

Some of the students suggested Hon. Koffa as former of the Interim Leadership.

“Please give me two weeks to make my determination on that,” the Lawmaker, and professional Lawyer, replied to the suggestion for his formation of an Interim Leadership.

  The meeting was graced with the presence of Grand Kru County’s representative to Miss Liberia Beauty Pagean for 2022.

“The Miss Liberia Beauty Pageant is highly competitive. However, I can promise you, the Miss Liberia Crown is coming to Grand Kru County,” Ms. Favour J. Topoe she said in flawless English to the audience, and her face glittered with smiles.

She said her team has planned a Palm Butter Event, to be held on July 15 at Liberia’s First Lady’s Event Center, in the yard of the Center for National Documents and Records Agency (CNDRA), on 12th Street, Sinkor, Monrovia.

“I guess, each of you here knows what we,  of Grand Kru County, eat palm butter with. We eat it with rice, with fufu, and many other solid foods,” she said.

She appealed to her fellow Grand Kruans to vote for her in the Miss Liberia Beauty Pageant, and said voting is only through a Short Code on either of Liberia’s two telecommunications Companies—Lonestar or Orange.

“Please send 10, my number, to 2020,” Ms. Topoe added.

After her remarks, Ms. Topoe was under pressure from her fellow Grand Kruans for photo with her.

On the national level, Grand Kru County’s education sector is more challenged and is lagging behind other Liberia’s Counties on education. These challenges come from the following: most County-based parents’ inability to send their children to school due to poverty;  many classroom teachers’ less interest of being regular in classroom everyday (on financial constraint); many County-based students’ little attention to study, due to lucrative business of mining in the County’s minerals (gold or diamond)-rich sectors; many High School graduates’ inability to enter university, due to financial handicap of self or parents; and recurrent (yearly) poor performance by the County’s High Schools’ students in the West African Examination Council (WAEC) examinations and the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE)

These problems are being addressed by Grand Kru County’s Electoral District #2 Representative and Deputy HOR Speaker, Hon. Jonathan Fonati Koffa, and his Grand Kru County’s Legislative representatives (Representatives and Senators) They collaborating on Legislative Platform named Grand Kru County’s Legislative Caucus.