Monrovia — Tuesday was a dramatic day at the headquarters of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) in Congo Town when tension erupted among partisans over the reinstatement of some of their members who had resigned from the party.
The tussle erupted when the resigned officials, who were reinstated by Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, were rejected by the party's national chairman, Mr. James P. Biney, on the ground that their reinstatement violated the party's constitution.
Chairman Biney said the decision of the Vice President to reinstate former officials of the party, who resigned their positions during the 2017 elections to support or contest on other political parties' tickets is illegal and violates the party bylaws and constitution.
Biney's decision came after Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor announced the reinstatement of officials who left the party in a spirit of reconciliation in the party.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, May 15, Chairman Biney said Madam Howard-Taylor singlehandedly presided over the meeting on Sunday, May 13, in the absence of the party's national chairman, Secretary General and other duly elected officials of the party to order the reinstatement of the resigned officials.
Chairman Biney added that the decision of their standard bearer is in violation of Article 5, Section 5.1 of the NPP constitution of April 6, 2004.
He said Article 5, Section 5.1 of the NPP constitution states: "The national chairperson shall be the general supervisor of the management and administration of the party. He/she shall administer the affairs of the party within the framework of the by-laws and constitution of the party as well as by established policies approved by the National Executive Committee and shall preside over all the meetings of the party, including the National Executive Committee."
Biney noted that as chairman, the current leadership of the party does not recognize the decision of their standard bearer to reinstate the resigned officials, claiming her action is in violation of the party's constitution.
"It is important that we let Madam Taylor know that her decision is not recognized by the current leadership and we do not abide by it. The official constitution of the party remains the April 6, 2004 constitution," he said.
Biney further stated that those who Madam Taylor claimed to have reinstated at her meeting cannot be made to occupy any position in the party under the NPP constitution until they reapply for membership and then contest for any position at the party's national convention.
"Article II, Section 2.9 states, "A member, who joins or declares his or her adherence to another political party automatically forfeits his or her membership of the party. Until then, the ascendency clause in the constitution takes effect once an official resigns. Neither the National Executive Committee of the party nor any official (s) can reinstate a former official who was elected to the said position by the National Convention but resigned.
He continued: "The National Executive Committee officials can only be elected to this body by the national convention. In view of all, we, the current leadership don't recognize the document Madam Taylor introduced as the NPP's new constitution neither do we recognize those who she claimed to have reinstated," Chairman Biney noted.
Reacting to the press statement, Senator Sando Johnson, who was one of those reinstated by Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor but rejected by the party chairman, told a team of reporter that the action of Chairman Biney is intended to mislead the public and bring the party to public disrepute.
"Former Representative James Biney, who is the current Chairman of the National Patriotic Party has misled the public and I think he wants to buy favor from President Weah. The NPP is not going to accept that. These are the people who will make George Weah a sycophant and a dictator," Senator Johnson said.
Senator Johnson said he and others left the party because Chairman Biney and his surrogates entered into unclear collaboration with the CDC with no justification.
"The reason why we left is simple. Mr. Biney and his likes entered into a collaboration with the CDC and the collaboration was not clear. What we sought or wanted was a clarification. In a telephone communication, Biney said his intention was to do what he wanted to do, and I said, then I will recuse myself and I immediately resigned from the governing council because then, the interest of the NPP and the Liberian people I didn't see it clearly."
Senator Johnson Added: "I suspended my membership from the NPP and later resigned and went to the All Liberian Party (ALP). We came back and told them that we have come back to the NPP again to declare our support, we did not even stop there we wrote documents that we are coming back, and those documents were received and press statements were released," he said.