10 August 2018

Liberia: Former Ruling Party Reportedly Contemplates Ousting Chairman

Monrovia — Numerous sources have confided in this newspaper that the Chairman of the Unity Party (UP), Mr. Wilmot Paye, has been asked to resign his post.

According to our sources, this is geared toward giving way for the return of the party's former standard bearer, Ex-President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

UP stalwarts Mo Ali and Neto Lighe told FrontPageAfrica that they didn't know about such development within their party when this newspaper approached them. Boakai Jaleiba, another party loyalist, responding to our inquiry, however, stated that there was an Executive Committee meeting on Thursday, August 9, and there was nothing about the resignation of Mr. Paye or the return of Madam Sirleaf.

"The two things are unrelated. Yes, there was an executive committee meeting at the Hq. Discussions were held on recommendations from a report. I learned some decisions will be made but can't confirm that the Chairman will resign."

According to him, Ellen's return to the party "is a long way off. I don't think the party is any close to it. However, if you're asking my opinion, I would say we should extend an olive branch to every partisan who left the party."

According to sources within the party, Madam Sirleaf is seeking to come back to her base because it appears President George Manneh Weah is not listening to her again.

"She needs a base because the House Speaker and some officials of the government continue to rain invectives at her. She thinks that they are being instructed by their boss to insult her so she wants to fight back and to do so she needs a base. She will provide the resources."

Our source said they currently lack the needed resources in the UP to mount any strong and sustained defense for their party or anyone.

For the last several months, it has not been all rosy between Madam Sirleaf and her fellow UP partisans. The party blames her for turning her back of them when they needed her most in the 2017 General and Presidential Elections. They said it was her influence in the election that made President George Weah to win the election.

At some point, the rift became so wide that the party expelled her.

Madam Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Laureate, won two successive terms of six years each on the UP and was replaced on January 22, by President Weah.

When party expelled them, they had said this about she and others, who were expelled.

"The behaviors of the expelled persons constitute sabotage and undermined the existence of the party."

Mo Ali, who is the UP's Assistant Secretary-General for Public Outreach, had said then that the vote for her expulsion was taken because of several violations of the party's constitution and other "acts inimical to the existence and reputation of the party."

"Section 1(e) states the role of partisans in elections: (e) To support the Unity Party's candidate through campaigning for the election of the Unity Party candidate and to provide any other support within his/her capacities for any candidate of the Unity Party at any election; and (f) To demean and conduct himself/herself in a manner that would bring credit to the Unity Party at any election;" the release quoted the party's constitution.

Along with Madam Sirleaf, the party also expelled Commany B. Wesseh, Senator of River Gee County; Madam Medina Wesseh, former Executive Committee member; and Patrick T. Worzie, Deputy Secretary were also expelled from the party.

According to that release, in the case of Patrick Worzie, who was the Deputy National Secretary, he in addition to alleged constitutional violation, took a total of US$11,000 worth of stationery from the Lion Stationery Store in the name of the party without the prior knowledge of the National Chairman and the Treasurer. This information was, however, not independently confirmed by this paper.

Throughout the 2017 election process, several calls were made by partisans to expel these individuals who they accused of campaigning against the party's Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates in gross violation of the party's constitution.

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