Ladies and gentlemen of the Media:
Thanks for accepting the invitation to attend our press conference on matters affecting our Party, the Liberty Party.
We are thankful to God for the blessings of life. We have called you here today to express our strong view on things that are happening in Liberty Party, making our party to now become a laughing stock in the public. It is our thinking that many partisans across the country and in America and other parts of the world are listening to hear the voice of a leader to explain what has gone wrong, and what needs to be done to put our party back together. This seems not the case. Nobody has made any effort to call a mass meeting of partisans to give a bit of explanation to us. So, it appears like we have become sheep without a Sheppard. Indeed, death is the greatest enemy of mankind, really. So, here we go!
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, our struggle with Liberty Party dates back many years when Cllr. Brumskine, then Senator from Grand Bassa County and Leader of the Liberian Senate, distinguished himself as one with a strong character to make a change in the political chemistry of our country. We joined him in the Liberty Party convinced that in both his private and public life, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine lived an
exemplary life that was worthy of following. With this conviction, we sacrificed along with him and other well-meaning Liberians to keep this party together, even during the most difficult times. Today, unfortunately, everything we spent our youthful times putting together appears to be going down the drain, to say the least.
Liberty Party is today experiencing several levels of internal division, as a result of marginalization politics and poor leadership of the party. These divisions were made clear to the general public when few weeks ago, what was meant to be a Special Convention intended to solve internal problems has now turned out to be a vehicle for fractionalizing our party.
But this did not come as a single event. It gained ground over a long period of time, with the full knowledge of our Political Leader, Senator Nyonglee Karnga-Lawrence working together with Senator Abraham Darius Dillon.
Although these two personalities do not have very strong history with the Liberty Party, so that they would not understand the pains and frustrations we have endured over the years; they have however emerged to be two influential persons by virtue of the national leadership positions they currently hold. From this vantage point, we had expected that they would use their individual and collective standings in the party to arrest what was a fast approaching danger. This was not to be the case. In fact, they became direct conveyor belts for the problem we now have.
As tension grew within the party few months back, we, the Concerned Liberty Party Partisans, dispersed in many parts of the world, but specifically through our Liberian chapter, invited party leaders in
separate meetings to register our concerns about the obvious division that was coming. In one of such meetings with our Political Leader held at the National Headquarters, we confronted her with information we were receiving about Partisan Musa Hassan Bility and his intension to head Liberty Party as Chairman. We were concerned because there was information pointing to what would appear to be an internal coup d’état with the involvement of some chairpersons of the counties.
Ladies and gentlemen, our Political Leader’s response to us was she could not see Musa being Chairman for Liberty Party, as he was not in the position to bring a small fraction of the voting population to the party. Secondly, she informed us that she was in knowledge of the fact that Partisan Bility was holding meetings with Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Hon. Nathaniel McGill and that she did not feel comfortable about that. She told us that she would only use Musa to accomplish some dirty works for her.
In as much as we could not oppose to partisan Bility vying for the Chairmanship of LP, we could not support a hostile take-over as it was appearing to be.
But prior to all this, a segment of the National Executive Committee led by Madam Rugie Barry, Vice Chair for Administration, Martin Kollah, Vice Chair for Planning, now SG, Elder Jallah, Vice Chair for Operations, to name a few, had embarked on a mission to buy partisan Musa Bility into the idea of taking over the Chairmanship from Senator Steve Zargo even before any thought of a leadership convention had been conceived, claiming that Senator Zargo was not putting much money into the party.
Interestingly, these very individuals have had previous alliance with Senator Steve Zargo, and were in many cases encouraging him to draw
battle line with the Political Leader, Senator Lawrence. At that time, they did not only entertain secret conversations with partisan Bility about having him chaired LP, but also made other subtitle moves with Chairpersons of the Counties to undermine Senator Lawrence as Political Leader. They even solicited a resolution from the counties to oppose to the Political Leader’s call for a retreat in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County. They had even prevailed on our late Founding Father, Cllr. CWB, to make a quick comeback as Political Leader, claiming that Senator Lawrence was in a secret deal with Mr. Alexander Cummings to undermine the Counselor’s reappearance as party leader.
It was the former Secretary General, Mr. Jacob J. Smith, who stood against these actions, reasoning that hostility against the sitting PL would only bring Liberty Party into public disdain and undermine our standing in the CPP. He had said the reappearance of Cllr. Brumskine as Political Leader had to be done in a dignified manner, as opposed to what some EC members were planning to do.
As the inner rift intensified within the party, this same group switched alliance from Senator Zargo to the PL and partisan Bility, both of whom were now working together to see the ascendency of Mr. Bility to the Chairmanship.
These series of happenings necessitated the holding of a retreat intended to foster reconciliation within the party. That retreat was held in Buchanan where suggestion was made for an amendment of the party’s constitution. It was suggested and agreed that, as the National Convention was the only body authorized to amend the constitution, any suggested language to the constitution should be taken to National or Special National Convention for approval.
Unfortunately, following a review of the amended version by the Executive Council at a special sitting in Buchanan, the Political Leader, Senator Dillon, and a segment of the EC who were now seeking Mr. Bility’s ascendency to the Chairmanship, insisted on the submission of the proposed language to the National Elections Commission as the final product. To this, former Chairman Zargo, former SG Jacob J. Smith and others resisted, citing Article VIII of the 2015 Constitution which clearly provides that it is only the National or Special Convention that can approved amendment of the Constitution before it is submitted to the National Elections Commission.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, it seemed very obvious why the Political Leader and the triple alliance wanted the revised Constitution to bypass the required procedure as set forth in the 2015 LP Constitution. Mr. Bility had to become Chairman of the party by September 2020, at least three months before the December 8, 2020 Senatorial Election so that he would raise the needed campaign money for mainly Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence and Senator Darius Dillon. As further proof of this, a transitional clause in that constitution had said the entire Executive Committee would have been dissolved upon the coming into force of that constitution to facilitate the holding of said leadership convention.
All of these moves were challenged and resisted by the other side represented by Senator Zargo and former SG Smith on these grounds:
- That any such convention held under one year of the death anniversary of the Founding Father would be a grave disservice to his enormous sacrifice;
- That the party needed all hands on deck in view of the forthcoming December 8, 2020 Senatorial Election, and that an ill-timed convention, especially with the looming confusion, would have
limited Liberty Party and the CPP’s chances of securing additional seats in the Senate.
- That it was in Liberty Party’s interest to end the internal rift, as intruders could take advantage of the situation and deepen the divide in the party, using groups from within.
In retrospect, we can only imagine what the narratives would be like now, if the quest of the team to have conducted the Special Convention before December 8, 2020 had not been resisted!
As this chronology of events shows, the Political Leader, Senator Dillon and some Executive Committee members’ mission was never driven by a desire to bring about any real change in the party that would drive the institution forward as they are claiming. It was simply a self-centered move to facilitate their respective 9 years jobs and to satisfy other interests. As a matter of fact, what sort of reform does it represent for both the Political Leader and Senator Dillon to have senior staffers in their offices heading key positions on the Executive Committee? What kind of reform does it represent for Senator Dillon to hold the positions of Chairman of the LP Legislative Caucus and Vice Chairman for Political Affairs in addition to his position as Senator, which entitles him to being a member of the National Executive Committee? What reform?
Indeed, both Senator Dillon and the PL have acted unadvisedly in using their privileged positions to engineer the ascendency of Mr. Bility to the Chairmanship without doing due diligence. We agree with Mr. Bility in rejecting Senator Dillon’s characterization of him as “Saul being transformed to Paul.” This is pure deception.
As you now know, Mr. Bility went public recently to reveal that he bankrolled Senator Dillon’s campaign. Hence, in this process, Musa Bility appears to be the unsuspecting victim in the court of public opinion and certainly an experimental Guinea Pig.
The Concerned Liberty Party Partisans understand the probity demand from the public. Yes, as a key member of the opposition bloc heading the CPP, we must indeed live above the fray. But, on the other hand, we entreat the same public to allow us use our internal mechanism to deal with the seeming integrity issue.
As we strive therefore, to redeem the name of our party and to send a strong message to the public that Liberty Party subscribes to democratic principles and good governance, we herewith demand that the following actions be taken without delay:
- That Senator Dillon surrenders one of the two portfolios he currently occupies (Vice Chairman for Political Affairs and Chairman for LP Legislative Caucus), mainly the position of Vice Chairman for Political Affairs.
- That in addition to that, Senator Dillon should ensure that his Chief of Staff, Mr. Martin Kollah, should see reason to resign as Secretary General to avoid any semblance of bad governance practice;
- That equally, the Political Leader should take similar action by prevailing on her Political Officer, Mr. Daniel Sando, to resign as Vice Chairman for Press and Propaganda, making him the official spokesperson of the party working directly in the office of the Political Leader.
- That the office of the Political Leader together with the National Executive Committee, should move swiftly to set up a broad-based National Advisory Council reflecting geographic balance and including people with impeccable characters within the party.
- That upon the constitution of the National Advisory Council, the Council should take seize of the widely publicized claims of
corruption cases against Mr. Musa H. Biliity so that he may have the opportunity to salvage his name from the negative profile in the public;
- That in a similar direction, Madam Rugie Barry should be made to account for USD$75,000 given to her for women empowerment since 2011.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, the Concerned Liberty Party Partisans are of the view that in the last few days, much has been done, justly or unjustly, to erode the good brand the LP carries as an Integrity Institution. WE are convinced, however, that this can be corrected so the Liberty Party will remain the party of trust it has always been.
Thank you very kindly, and May God bless our nation and our beloved party.
Emmanuel Seator, Secretary-General/Concerned LP Liberia
Aaron Holt, Secretary-General/Concerned LP-USA Chapter
Simon Merchant, Chairman/Concerned LP Liberia Chapter
Andronicus Johnson, Chairman/Concerned LP-USA Chapter
Chester Neese, Chairman, Advisory Council/Concerned LP-