‘Belligerence Becoming Normal in PLP’

Flashback: Wilmot Paye (r) with PLP leader Dr.Cassell.

-- Ousted party chairman Wilmot Paye claims

Wilmot Paye, the ousted acting chairman of the People’s Liberation Party (PLP), has expressed disgust over what he said is the alleged ongoing intolerance from supporters of Dr. Daniel E. Cassell, the party’s political leader, concerning views of others who do not subscribe to their general political ideology. 

“Belligerence is becoming a normal thing in the People’s Liberation Party and it is a very sad thing for a political party that is yet to develop its roots on the ground,” Paye noted as he responded yesterday to questions from the Daily Observer concerning a scuffle said to have taken place between two groups of young people at the headquarters of the new political party.

“I have not made any official and in-person contact with any of the guys who sustained injuries from the incident as a result of the intolerance demonstrated by the young zealots of Dr. Cassell, but I have seen on social media some pictures of young men with blood running from their bodies.

“It’s not about me or anyone else but, in all fairness, the civilized thing to do is to condemn the act of violence in any form and manner,” he said. He added: “Even the devil has followers and his followers don’t care about what or how others think. That is the political environment the PLP is breeding and one would think, what is the change in waiting, then?” Paye added that he is a man of peace and has never, nor will he ever, instigate violence or create any tension through which people sustain wounds.

Paye’s fate with PLP

The National Elections Commission (NEC) sometimes pacifies the hearts of some politicians who feel their political institutions trample on their rights, but Paye’s case is said to be headed down the drain. Paye, who is also the former chairman of the Unity Party (UP) and who was also expelled from the PLP recently, said NEC has further worsened the situation concerning his abrupt expulsion from the PLP.

“NEC invited us to a conference, but they only further created problems. They asked us to return to the status quo ante, but with no caveat statement compelling the PLP to respect my rights. This is why it is not welcoming for me to return. There is a stage-managed platform I don’t want to continue fighting against,” Paye told the Observer. He alleged that the PLP supporters in Grand Bassa and Nimba Counties are unhappy that he has been expelled.

“I went all around the country in a short period of time and opened offices for the party as required by the New Elections Law before holding a national convention. The people who know me, the people who follow me are not happy but, again, this is the kind of politics we have in Liberia. One who has money plays with the law and goes scot-free,” he insinuated. “Cassell wants his brother-in-law, Tarple Doe, to become the chairman of the PLP. This is why they are doing all they can to ensure no one else with a strong political mind becomes chairman.”

Paye took the mantle of acting chairmanship of the PLP on February 20 this year (2021) but, in about six months, he was booted out. In reaction to Paye’s allegations, Stephen Vorkpor, Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) for press and propaganda, said it is unfortunate that Paye has indulged in misleading the public about happenings within the PLP.

“The guys who came yesterday (Tuesday, Sep. 8, 2021) to our party headquarters are ‘gangsters’ who are still pushing a failed Wilmot Paye’s agenda, an ill-fated agenda, to be precise,” Vorkpor alleged in a mobile phone interview.

He said the gathering was to honor and celebrate him as he celebrated his birth anniversary. “Some of them came even before the ceremonies of my birthday celebration commenced. We knew about their plan because one of them called me and disclosed what was to happen. They started the riot and injured some of our fellow partisans and even destroyed the windshields of two of the cars that were parked in the compound of our headquarters,” he further alleged.

Vorkpor said some of the actors who initiated the conflict were expelled youth executives who held their positions illegally. “I saw two of them. I mean those guys who were illegally put in positions of trust by former chairman Wilmot Paye. They don’t mean well but all we have to say is that they should stop this battle they will never win,” he warned.

Vorkpor added: “They are angry because Wilmot Paye’s promise to them about fat jobs in the party backfired and he has been dismissed. Let them find somewhere else and carry their troubles and corrupt practices.”