Liberia: NPP to Replace James Biney's Leadership

The National Patriotic Party (NPP) has appointed an eleven-person Convention Coordinating Committee to take the party to its long-awaited 7th Biennial convention.

The move by the NPP came weeks after the Hearing Officer of the National Elections Commission had ruled that Senator James Biney's leadership of the Party has expired and was without legitimacy.

The NEC Hearing Office at the same time appointed former House Speaker Nyudueh Morkonmana to cause the hosting of a stalwart meeting of the NPP for the purpose of constituting a convention coordinating committee that will lead the party to its 7th Biennial Convention.

According to the NEC ruling, Morkonmana's selection was based on a careful review of the records available at the Commission, his independence, and public records.

Those nominated on the Convention Coordinating Committee are Nyudueh Morkonmana, Cllr. Lavela Supuwood, Francis Menwon, Rev. George Taylor, Jacqueline Toe, Janet Sumo, Askia Cornneh, George Yeeplah, Robert Bear, Dennis Walker, and Edward Garmah.

The NEC further that the process should be open to all interested partisans, including the parties involved in the actions. Morkonmana is now expected to submit the names of members of the Convention Coordinating Committee to the Political Affairs Section of the NEC within twenty-one working days as of the rendering of the ruling.

Thomas Plauto et al of the NPP on November 30, 2021, filed a six counts complaint with the NEC, alleging constitutional breaches by the party's Chairman, James P. Biney, and others, for attempting to manipulate the list of delegates intended for the planned 7th Biennial Convention to have been held in Gbarnga, Bong County.

The complainant also claimed that procedures for the nomination of candidates to be elected to various positions were not followed; and that respondent Biney, who has registered as a candidate to be re-elected as chairman of the party, has appointed a convention committee, naming himself as the chairman of said committee.

The complainant presented in all of their submissions and arguments that the Respondents (Biney and others) have lost the legitimacy to govern the NPP, neither are they qualified to take the party to the convention by the expiration of their tenure to rule.

"While we agree with the respondents (Biney and others) on their argument of the law (NPP Constitution) Which requires that the chairperson shall preside over all meetings and conventions, we wish to also remind the Respondents of another provision of the same constitution which requires that the party proceed to the convention in 4 years for purpose of electing new officers. The party's constitution must be considered holistically. One cannot violate one provision of the law and enjoy rights provided under another provision. Respondents (Biney and others) cannot enjoy constitutional protection to take the party to convention while at the same time violating the provision Which protects their rights to enjoy tenure," the NEC ruling emphasized.

Speaking at the well-attended meeting at the weekend, NPP Standard Bearer and Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor called for unity and urged partisans to keep the "pepper bird flying above all else, the people." She emphasized the politically strategic role the NPP currently plays in Liberia and reminded them of the glorious days ahead if all agree to chat the course of unity, hard work, and discipline.

For his part, Morkonmana thanked his fellow partisans for honoring his call from all walks of life, thus demonstrating that the NPP will remain together and strong.

The selected names will now be submitted to the National Elections Commission as mandated in the ruling, for further actions and decisions.