Liberia: Sen. Karnga-Lawrence Threatens NEC with Lawsuit

Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence

The National Elections Commission has been threatened with a lawsuit from the faction of the opposition Liberty Party controlled by Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence.

The threat, if acted upon, seeks to force the electoral body to avoid “unwarranted intrusion into the internal matters” of the Liberty party, which has been in crisis since its founder, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine died.

The inner fight, primarily over who controls the party, took a severe turn after relationships between the party’s political leader, Karnga-Lawrence, and its chairman, Musa Bility, broke down, leading to both officials declaring each other expelled.

However, the latest fight, which has now led to a threat of a lawsuit against the NEC, comes as Bility’s faction of the party gains recognition from the electoral body.

This was contained in a letter from the NEC to Bility recognizing his faction’s collaboration with the Alternative National Congress (ANC) as part of the rebranding of the Collaborating Political Parties — a development that has not gone down with the Karnga-Lawrence faction as they prepare to challenge the NEC’s decision in court. 

“The National leadership of Liberty Party, headed by Senator Karnga-Lawrence has learned with utmost dismay of a communication from the NEC addressed to Bility associating the Liberty Party with a bogus collaboration with the ANC,” the Grand Bassa County Senator said in a statement. 

“Given the relentless determination of the NEC to prolong the crisis in the party at the directive of Bility and his benefactors, the Party is constrained to announce a string of political and legal actions to be taken against the unwarranted intrusion of the NEC into its internal matters. 

“The date for these unspecified political actions will shortly be announced and the government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Justice, will be duly informed.  These mass political and legal actions are intended to [show] how the NEC continues to recklessly undermine the stability of a critical opposition political party in the country,” Karnga-Lawrence added. “We herewith call on all partisans and supporters to stand ready as we pursue the ultimate actions to unmask the devil behind the scene and secure our party once and for all.” 

The Senator added that from the inception of the party crisis, the NEC, by admission and omission, is the principal enabler of the actions of Bility to disintegrate the Liberty Party. She described it as unfortunate that the credibility and neutrality of the NEC, a supposed integrity institution created by law to protect ‘our promising democracy’, has been eroded in broad daylight.” 

Karnga-Lawrence then accused Bility of securing a criminal appearance bond for the NEC Chairperson Davidetta Brown-Lansanah when “she was criminally indicted by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission for influence peddling and conflict of interest.”

“By this latest action of the NEC, it is now even more conspicuous that the Chairman and Members of the Board of Commissioners, have elevated their conspiracy with Bility to render Liberty Party inconsequential to the 2023 General and Presidential Elections by keeping the institution in perpetual conflict. 

“How could an election management body that is charged with the responsibility to exercise a duty of prudence be so parochial in its judgment?” the Senator wonders. “Did we not notify the NEC that Bility’s latest action violated the very Constitution whose correction he participated in, following his admission to altering provisions of the document? Did the NEC entertain any conference or hearing between the two parties to dispose of the issues raised?

According to the Senator, the procedures to commit Liberty Party to collaboration require a decision of her office in consultation with the National Executive Committee, and “not a spontaneous and unilateral decision by a single individual clandestinely operating under the guise of party chairman.”