Liberia: “Modad Not A Unifier”

UP chairman-elect, Rev. Luther Tarpeh

Rev. Tarpeh, UP chairman-elect tells why he won his predecessor

The chairman-elect of the opposition Unity Party, Rev. Luther Tarpeh, has disclosed that he defeated the party's former chairman Amin Modad for the post on the grounds that his predecessor “was out of touch with partisans.”

According to Tarpeh, Modad lost because of his lack of ability to unify his people.

“I believe Amin Modad lost the election to me because he is probably not a unifier. He was not visible in the counties and he was not close to the youth,” Tarpeh said while appearing on the Spoon Talk yesterday night. “But I have the ability to move around and I know how to mingle with people.”

When asked as to whether Modad lost because of UP’s loss in the Special Senatorial by-election recently held in Lofa, Tarpeh said his election was not based on the UP’s loss of Lofa’s Senate seat but on a desire to have a change the partisans long wished for.

He however alleged that Modad abandoned former Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai in Lofa. Boakai was elected unopposed to the position of standard bearer, a position he has held since 2016.

“Modad abandoned our standard bearer in Lofa and came to Monrovia. He left for reasons best known to himself and his corps of officers. But that is not the issue of concern now. Our focus is to reconcile the party and ensure President George Weah is defeated in 2023,” Rev. Tarpeh said.

He boasted that even though he was not in Lofa in person, he spent over US$5,000 to support the election in the county.

“I could not leave the students for Lofa because it could have been a bad public image. I transported five persons, apart from the US$5,000 I contributed, to go to Lofa,” Tarpeh said.

When asked how he would handle his teaching profession alongside his new role in politics, the UP chairman-elect said he will do all he can to give the best for his political party, even if it requires him to quit teaching.

He, however,  assured the public that he is on good terms with both Modad and Mo Ali (UP’s former secretary general).

“I am not a politician who people vote [for] and I disappoint. I am already a successful person. I want to bring people together. I will do my best to restructure our political offices across the country. I will provide the leadership to ensure that UP produces the next President in 2023,” Tarpeh boasted.

He said UP will welcome negotiations with like-minded political parties aiming to unseat Weah, but the position of standard bearer remains the exclusive right to former VP Boakai.

“I believe that the only person who is fit to defeat President Weah is our standard bearer, former VP Joseph Boakai. If you love Liberia, then you will agree with me that for now, it is only our standard bearer who is qualified enough to remove Weah from the Presidency in 2023,” he said.

He noted, however, that UP alone cannot win Weah at the polls in 2023 unless it collaborates with other opposition political parties that have the same ideology and mission.

Concerning money to effectively run the UP and participate in the 2023 elections, Tarpeh said he will lead campaigns to raise sufficient funds not only in Liberia but also in America and other parts of the world.

He explained that he became an official member of the Unity Party in 2018 but has been an affiliate member of the party since 2016.

Making emphasis on reconciliation, the new UP chairman said he will do his best to broker peace between former VP Boakai and his former boss, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and all others.

“I let go of bitter feelings. I take personal feelings, not above the interest of our collective happiness or success. I will do my best and work with all to realign and rebrand our political party,” Tarpeh said.

He added that his election was in no way influenced by Boakai.

“He is an honest person. His statement that the UP had many opportunities but squandered some of them was a genuine expression. The UP did well by getting the country back to its position the international community came to love, compared to the troubling experience we have now. Good to be fair,” he continued.

Tarpeh: “We are in the mess we are in because people hate truth and honesty. Boakai was truthful and that is it.”

Rev. Tarpeh disclosed that Liberty Party (LP) Chairman, Musa Bility, has reached out to him and extended congratulations on his victory.

“LP will become a great party when they unite. [Whether to recognize] Bility as chairman or Senator Yonblee Karngar Lawrence as the standard bearer will [depend] on the ruling from the court. We respect the rule of law and we shall continue to do so,” he said.