Liberia: Sen. Karnga-Lawrence’s Response to the Supreme Court Ruling on the Liberty Party Leadership Dispute
THE POLITICAL LEADER OF THE LIBERTY PARTY SENATOR NYONBLEE KARNGA-LAWRENCE’S ADDRESS TO THE PARTISANS AND SUPPORTERS OF THE LIBERTY PARTY FOLLOWING THE RULING OF THE SUPREME COURT OF LIBERIA, HELD AT THE PARTY’S COUNTY HEADQUARTERS BUCHANAN CITY, GRAND BASSA COUNTY APRIL 15, 2023
Distinguished members of the National Executive Committee o the Liberty Party;
The Chairman and members of the Grand Bassa County Chapter;
County chairpersons from across the country;
Distinguished Legislative Aspirants of the Liberty Party from Grand Bassa and other counties of Liberia;
Elders and distinguished citizens of Grand Bassa County;
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Over 20 years ago, the Liberty Party was conceived and established in Liberia as a national political party. Many of you who are here today, and some that are watching via live social media broadcast, as well as listening to radio or not following, are either founding members, executives, stakeholders of the Liberty party. Some of you are also members of the friends of Brumskine (FOB0 that helped to give birth to the Liberty Party. We all find ourselves in these categories because we believe in the founding ideology of the Liberty Party.
After the 2017 presidential and legislative elections in Liberia, Liberty Party held a Special Convention in Lofa County in 2018, and I was elected as the Political Leader of the Party. Amid grief from the sad passing of our Founding Father and Vision Bearer, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, we were encouraged by majority vote of the Party's National Executive Committee and County Chairpersons to amend the Party's Constitution, because they argued that the “Constitution was largely authoritarian,” suggesting that the Constitution gave immense powers to the Political Leader or the Standard Bearer which entailed the “power to dissolve the National Executive Committee at will.”
In support of fostering genuine internal democracy and selfless leadership, I consented to the amendment of the Constitution to diminish the perceived excess powers of the Political Leader.
In January 2021, the Special National Convention, having amended the Constitution resulting from two separate retreats held in Grand Bassa County in 2020, fresh elections were eventually held at another Special National Convention in Gbarnga, Bong County, at which a new National Executive Committee was elected with Musa Bility as Chairman. We can admit that there were concerns and apprehensions from most partisans and supporters who expressed their displeasure about Mr. Bility’s election as Chairman of the Party owing to either the real, perceived and or imagined not-so-good character and public reputation of Mr. Bility.
Distinguished partisans, we must note that when the Founding Father of our Party was alive and seeking the 2017 presidency of Liberia, Mr. Bility joined the Party in 2016 under his leadership. All that was said to us about Mr. Bility's character and reputation left much to desire; yet he was welcomed into the Party by our Founding Father. He was elevated and was named "Chief Executive Officer" for the 2017 Presidential Campaign. He was later elevated to chair the National Advisory Committee of the Party at the 2018 Special Convention presided over by the Founding Father of the Party.
My fellow Partisans, this is a party that opens its doors for any member to excel and be given the opportunity and necessary support to serve in the interest of the Party in particular, and the country in general.
Today, we are here because that has not been the case with partisan Musa Bility. He has proven that all partisans do not come with the same motives.
His election to the position as a Party Chairman is now considered one of the biggest mistakes that we ever made. We submit that indeed, "a mistake that makes you humble is better than an achievement that makes you arrogant."
We have been through so much unwarranted misunderstanding, confusion and chaos. We have had sleepless nights as a team strategizing, blaming one another at some point, and even shutting down for days to reflect.
Our executives, partisans, well-wishers, supporters, family and friends have gone through so much political trauma and pain for a decision we thought would have been best for our institution.
As the Leader of our beloved party, I stand here today, humbled, and sad and want to say sorry; sorry for putting you all through all this trauma, frustration and sleepless nights. I take all the responsibility!!!
To all the partisans especially women who have fasted and prayed since we started this case for a little over two years, and the entire women wing and their new leaders who took charge of the women and stood by us, and have used their own resources to follow us to the National Elections Commission, the courts, at press conferences, protests, etc. ... under the sun and rain and sometimes walking because there was no transportation, I take the blame and say sorry. I appreciate you. I value your loyalty and commitment shown to me and love for our Party.
I record two examples with the old ladies who went to the US embassy, and the lady who woke up to previous announcement that was replayed on the radio to go for a March to the NEC, Prescilla’s example)
To our Youth Wing who sat in meetings with big hands and were promised pickups and huge money to have a press conference against us and leave us but decided that integrity matters and their future would have been compromised, so they rejected those offers including monthly salaries when they have no means of survival and still running behind us with nothing, I appreciate and value you.
To our youth wing again who stood against the division of the party and resisted the opening of another party headquarter causing division of our party in Grand Bassa County, and said to me, "this is off your hands, and we can no longer agree to calm down", some of them went to jail, I appreciate and value you.
To our diaspora leadership and members, who have also had sleepless nights on zoom calls, organized programs to accommodate us and continue to raise money to help with every activity. To those of them who have said lately, we can’t take this anymore, when will this end? I appreciate and value you.
To our Media team that has been defending everything we stand for and explaining to the partisans and the people of Liberia what has been unfolding including updates, sometimes we scream at them to keep talking and they have remained committed to that, I appreciate and value you.
Out of fifteen County chairs, we have only six chairs who have refused the constant $5,000, or $2,5000 or $1,000 occasionally, including motorbikes and sleeping in expensive hotels just to sign resolutions that further depended the divide and confusion in our party, I appreciate and value you.
To our former Chairman (Sen. Steve Zargo of Lofa County), Executive Committee, Advisory Council Members, and inner teams who have stood by us in these difficult challenging years of our political journey, we have had meetings after meetings, we have had sleepless nights together, we have fought, we have blamed one another, we have refused very attractive offers to compromise, and in the end have said it was done in good faith and we need to look ahead, face the challenges together and pick up the pieces and fight! I appreciate and value you.
You were told that we sold the party
You were told that we were selfish
You were told that we cannot be trusted
You were told that we have no integrity
You stood by us because our character outweighs all lies told about us. You have shown to the world that if no one knows us you know us. For this we have come to say THANK YOU.
We all have fought the hardest, we all have stood together, we all have supported the process in many ways. We are not discouraged and we are not tired fighting because we know that we are on the right side.
However, We are here today to tell you that this fight is not against only us, but the entire Country, and it’s not just about Musa Bility and his team fighting us, but every other power against our national growth, Why? Because we lead the base that will influence the 2023 elections, we have a team and base that do not compromise, we have a team and base that have integrity, we have a team a base that will never take money against the future of our people we have a team and base that mean well for Liberia.
All these against people who will never think beyond themselves and have compromised the survival of this Country out of greed and only us with you behind us can stop that.
The last Supreme Court ruling in the Liberty party was given on Wednesday April 12, 2023.
We finally ended up in the Supreme Court after the following actions:
The National Elections Commission regulation
2.The NEC intervention in the matter
3.The NEC intentional actions to ignore all reports and communication ( Farmington report, communication to stop two illegal conventions, illegal expulsion, letter to disassociate the party from CPP, refusal to accept corrected version of the constitution after the associate Justice advised that we correct the 2021 constitution by the Farmington MOU and resubmit to the NEC
4.The March to force the NEC to act. And our petition to all of our international partners and ECOWAS
5.The Resumption of the case at NEC
6.The latest actions by the Supreme Court
-the court didn’t address what was before them
-the representation of the associate Justice who recuse himself at the hearing and his signature to the ruling
-the delay to present the judgment
We are here today because all of these facts are troubling news for our Country. When the NEC cannot act independently or without undue influence, and the courts can not act on what’s before them out of fear that Justice will jeopardize selfish political aims and objectives of agents and their benefactors that they favor.
All of these actions are recipe for chaos and disturbances in a Country that needs to focus its attention on good governance and peace building mission.
My fellow partisans and Liberians in Liberia and all over the world, we are very concerned about how to affect change in such a system for the redemption of this Country even more than how to find a logical conclusion to the Liberty Party matter.
To do so, we can not fall in the trap of the delay tactics that is intended to keep our focus away from the October 10 2023, general and presidential elections. We are grateful, honored and thankful that even in the midst of all these distractions we remain in control of the party base which is the second largest opposition constituency in Liberian politics.
Therefore, we are here to announce to our partisans, after several consultative meetings with all the relevant structures including the diaspora chapters, stake holders and advisors. That we will not abandon the legal battle, and our next legal action will be announced on Tuesday. But we are ready to get up and get energized and position ourselves to collaborate with the political institution that will make the decisions that are in line with the values and beliefs that we continue to stand for and redeem this Country.
We remain the influencer in the 2023 general and presidential elections and in few days we will roll up our selves and use our political capital and all resources available to us to decide who the next president to rescue this Country becomes.
The wellbeing of our people matter to us!