Liberia: Dillon Dodges Question of Party Dues

Senator Abraham Darius Dillon of Montserrado County.

... But goes on blasting Musa Bility, for poor handling of Liberty Party

Senator Abraham Darius Dillon of Montserrado County has dodged answering questions regarding claims that he owes the Liberty Party a huge sum of money in unpaid dues. 

Instead, Sen. Dillon responded rhetorically by labeling his party chairman Musa Bility as one who thinks party dues are only about money. 

“What is due? Musa loves money and he gets it anyway, so he thinks due is only money,” Sen. Dillon retorted while on OK FM two days ago. “So what about the partisans who are loyal to the party, get up every morning and go to the headquarters and show commitment?  Is that not due payment?

“In Musa’s limited and criminal mind, due payment is only money. Everything about Musa is money and his only concern is money,” the Montserrado Senator said. “Musa is under duress and working for the CDC (the ruling coalition of President George Weah) to destabilize the party.” 

Senator Dillon, who could not stop ranting, accused the Liberty Party chairman of criminally altering the constitution of the party. He then continued that Bility is evading payment of taxes on his businesses and, to be in good standing, he must work for the ruling establishment by destabilizing the opposition community, mainly the CPP. 

“Since Musa became chairman of the Liberty Party, we have not issued any press statement against the bad governance, massive corruption, and several other ill-practices. He is on a mission to destroy the gains we have made over the years but he will not succeed,” he said.

Sen. Dillon and a few other high-ranking officials of the party have had their membership suspended by the party chairman and other national executive committee members for allegedly failing to pay dues. 

Chairman  Bility, who also suspended the membership of the party’s political leader, Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, cited Article IX of the Liberty Party Constitution for his action. 

Article IX calls for the suspension of party leaders who are not in good standing for 90 days. It also called for expulsion after the elapsed 90 days grace period, provided a remedy is not made. 

Bility then warned that the failure by Dillon and the others to clear their debt during the stipulated times will lead to their expulsion. 

“By directive of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and consistent with Article IX, you are suspended from your positions of political leader and a member of LP legislative caucus and its leadership,” he said. “You have 90 days to bring your account current, thereby putting you in good standing, and have your position reinstated. Upon the expiration of the 90 days, if a remedy is not made, you may be permanently expelled from your positions.”

The Liberty Chairman backed up his position by letting the Senator know that his action was predicated on a meeting by the party’s NEC, which was held on Nov. 20, in Ganta City, Nimba County, where officials of the NEC deliberated on the party treasurer’s report and invoking Article IX for officials who were not in good standing or owed dues.

However, Bility in his letter did not indicate whether the suspended  Senators Karnga-Lawerence and Dillon and others were invited for the NEC meeting. 

Meanwhile, Sen. Karnga-Lawrence has fired back and denied Bility’s claims of unpaid arrears – and threatened to have him expelled for not respecting the rules and norms of the Party – deepening the root cause of their fierce struggle for political power that dates back more to the day the LP chairman took office this year.

“Musa has no authority in the first place to suspend me. You cannot gather five or six executive members who are always behind you to be disruptive. I am the political leader of the Liberty Party and I have individually spent more than US$50,000 to keep the party running, not to talk about settling rent arrears in the past, which amounted to US$ 40,000 a year at the party's former headquarters at Catholic Junction,” the Senator boasted.

The current dispute between Chairman Bility and Sen. Karnga-Lawrence, which includes Dillon, marks a new peak in tensions for the Liberty Party, and a display of uneasy alliance between them. 

Meanwhile, Sen. Dillon, who campaigned for Bility to become chairman and once upon a time described him as “Saul-turned-Paul,” said his party chairman has lost his usefulness and will be booted out at all cost.

He alleged that Bility is working for the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and his mission is to destabilize the opposition bloc to ensure that President Weah retains the seat of Presidency for the next six years.

“Musa is working for the CDC and his motives and goals are to destabilize the CPP so that CDC can get a second chance, but we will get rid of him. We will remove him,” he claimed. 

Sen. Dillon then added that they are disappointed in Musa and regret having him as chairman of the LP.  The widening rift is a spillover of Senators Karnga-Lawrence and Dillon, as well as Daniel Sando, an assistant to the party’s political leader, open accusation that the party’s chairman and secretary-general made dubious changes to the party’s constitution.

Then chairman Bility and secretary-general Martin Kollah denied the allegation but took revenge by suspending Sen. Dillon and Sando for “making several unauthorized public utterances, derogatory statements against the chairman and executives.”

In the end, the Liberty Party has been entangled in one problem after another, which at any given time, can be kick-started by the two leaders or their support – thus underscoring the growing challenge they faced in exerting control over the party and unifying it. At the same time, it poses a serious challenge for the party’s National Advisory Council (NAC) which has worked so hard to find a safe option to resolve the internal political quagmire that came out of the tempering claims, as well as find a safe landing.