10 January 2014

Liberia: Expelled NPP Officials Remain Defiant

Photo: charlestaylortrial.org
Former Liberian president Charles Taylor

Despite Wednesday's 'dog fight' among partisans and the leadership of the former ruling National Patriotic Party or NPP, the expelled officials of the party have defied their embattled leadership insisting that they will begin the conduct of the party's 6th biennial convention today at the party headquarters.

Though the building housing the headquarters of the NPP was seen locked and well guarded by officers of the Liberian National Police on Thursday, a group of young men believed to be partisans loyal to the expelled executive members headed by Representatives James Biney of Maryland and George Mulbah of Bong Counties were seen within the vicinity.

Others were Executive Member Randolph Cooper, as well as Vice Chairman John Gray and a few partisans from the Rivercess and Montserrado Counties being the only two counties of the 15 sub divisions of the country present.

The NPP headquarters, under heavy security protection, was on Wednesday, 8 January a scene of complete disorder among aggrieved partisans and party authorities, while angry party militants chanted slogans against the embattled Chairman Cllr. Theophilus C. Gould.

According to Representative James Biney delegates for the convention began arriving on Thursday.

Addressing newsmen following the protracted delay of arrival of delegates, Rep. Biney said that the convention was set to go ahead Thursday, Wednesday's row delayed the process, with the arrival of some of the counties on Thursday. He assured that the convention, which begins today, Friday, is set to produce a new corps of party officials to lead the party to the 2014 Special Senatorial Election scheduled October 14, 2014.

Commenting on the suspension of the 22 executive members by the National Chairman, Cllr. Gould, the Maryland County lawmaker said, Chairman Gould has no authority to expel any member without the knowledge of the National Executive Committee, which is higher than the Chairman.

It can be recalled that on December 15, 2013, the National Elections Commission (NEC), in a statement to the public, suspended all dealings with the NPP due to the failure of the Theophilus Gould leadership to conduct its Biennial Convention to elect officials of the Secretariat.

In a letter to Cllr. Gould, the Chairman of NEC, Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya, said the NPP will not be permitted to participate in any and all activities organized, conducted or supervised by the Commission.

The letter further stated that the Commission will not permit the NPP, under the Chairmanship of Cllr. Gould, to attend any program of the commission and that the NEC will not honor any candidate listing endorsed by Cllr. Gould to contest any election organized by the Commission. The Commission further noted that it has all authority to impose further measures against the NPP in keeping with the law.

The NEC expressed the belief that the failure of Chairman Gould to organize the biennial convention, at which time elections for the Secretariat of the NPP would be held as required by the Constitution of the Party, rendered the secretariat illegitimate- an administrative control that is singularly illegitimate and incomplete.

The Commission said its decision to suspend all interactions with the NPP will remain in force until Chairman Gould submits to the Commission, evidence of full compliance with the decision of October 9, 2013, regarding the holding of a biennial convention, to among other things, elect the Secretariat and other officials of the Party.

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