Liberia: Expelled Party Chairman Accuses Vice President Taylor of Eyeing the Presidency

Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor and George Weah on the campaign trail (file photo).

Monrovia — Mr. James Biney, Chairman of the former ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP), says the Party is engulf in crisis because Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor has an ambition to contest for the office of the presidency in 2023.

And he said this is creating the feud because some members of the party are resisting her ambition.

In an exclusive interview, Mr. Biney, said the party's embattled chairman who some members of the NPP have expelled from the party for allegation of initiating a merger with the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), said he remains the legitimate chairman of the NPP and described people calling for his expulsion as non-partisans.

According to Biney prior to the existing crisis, VP Taylor invited him and informed him of her ambition to contest for the Presidency in the 2023 elections and will do so against President Weah, her current boss.

"This is the real issue, Mrs. Taylor invited me and told me she wants to contest the Presidency [in] 2023, and that she needs people to join me to remove the Party from the coalition and I said 'Mrs. Taylor that will be the saddest mistake you will make because we have a lot of work to do so if that is what you are thinking about wait for 12 years' and she said the Party is her husband's party and if I cannot conform to her proposal I should leave the party."

He accused the VP of looking for surrogates and stooges to create crisis, while responding to allegations that he is intending to merge the NPP with the CDC, he denied and warned the VP to disengage with the fight or she might destroy the Party.

"It doesn't make sense to say I want to merge the NPP with the CDC because to do that it requires a convention and they haven't provided prove about their claims that I want to merge the NPP with the CDC."

'VP Will Be Dealt With'

The embattled chairman also disclosed of plans by the party to hold an extraordinary session by the end of November and threatened to deal with the VP in line with the party constitution.

He also accused the VP of changing the Party constitution and forging his signature that gives her unlimited term as standard-bearer of the NPP.

"It's bad for Mrs. Taylor to mobilize ex-war general to go to the party headquarters and think she can seize territory. We cannot return to those days and we maintain that we don't feel it is appropriate for her to embarked on contesting for the Presidency even though we believe it is her constitutional right."

Vice President Taylor and Biney have not been able to come to terms on the reinstatement of some officials, who left the party in 2016 to support or contest on other political parties' ticket.

It can be recalled that VP Taylor in May this year ordered the reinstatement of those members and officials on grounds that the party needed to reconcile and move forward.

While the relationship with VP Taylor remains bitter, Biney has been operating on the orders of President Weah. FrontPageAfrica has gathered that it is the President's plan is to ensure a merger of the NPP with the Congress for Democratic Change which would enable him expand his territory without having resistance from the bigger member of the tripartite Coalition.

"The Vice President is under pressure to merge the NPP with the CDC. The sole intent is to give the President and the CDC absolute control over the Coalition. The Vice President, as we are told, might suffer some consequences if she refuses to allow this to happen," a member of the governing council told FPA.

According to the source, President Weah has been supporting and influencing Biney and other members of the NPP to lead the campaign for the merger which the Vice President has been strongly opposed to leading to a strained relationship with the President.

All efforts to get comments from the President's camp proved futile, but office of the Vice President denied having tense relationship with the President, noting, both the Vice President and the President have been working cordially and in the interest of the Liberian people.

However, sources maintained that Pres. Weah has warned that the Vice President would suffer the consequence should the NPP fail to reinstate Biney and keep the members who resigned in 2016 and 2017 away from the party and the Coalition at large.

'Grateful to the CDC'

Meanwhile, during the interview with reporters over the weekend, Mr. Biney furthered admonished partisans of the NPP to be grateful to the CDC for allowing a coalition with the NPP because, according to him, the party was almost dead under the leadership of VP Taylor.

Said Biney: "Mrs. Taylor went behind Mills Jones while others went to the Unity Party and other parties it took several negotiations for what we have today so we cannot allow hooliganism to overtake this party. It took me several backdoor negotiation to have Mrs. Taylor pay her first visit at the US state department."

The NPP in a release issued Monday, November 5, disclosed that its national executive committee has with immediate effect expelled its former national chairman, James P. Biney, and suspended its assistant secretary for operations, Bolton Dennis, for violating key provisions of the party's by-laws and constitution.

The party reached the decision on Sunday, October 21, 2018 in its regular national executive committee meeting following a report by the grievance and ethics committee that adjudged them guilty of all allegations levied against them by the county chairpersons and auxiliaries.

The national executive committee called on the public and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) not to do business with expelled and suspended individuals.

The NPP is embroiled in internal conflict and a strained relationship with the Coalition. The party is on record for expressing disenchantment over marginalization by President Weah's when he started the formulation of his government. The party expressed concerns that its members were not being considered for possible appointments.

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