Liberty Party’s Division Worsens

The Liberty Party chair, Bility (right) and political leader, Sen. Karnga-Lawrence (left).

... The Liberty Party chair, Bility (and political leader, Sen. Karnga-Lawrence might be friends in the public, but bad blood runs deep.

Another round of dirty politics has ensued between the Liberty Party’s political leader Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence and its chairman, Musa Bility, just a few weeks since they claimed to have settled their differences, which brought the party to public ridicule.

The previous crisis started when Sen. Karnga-Lawrence and the party’s vice-chair for political Affairs, Senator Abe Darius Dillon, openly accused the party’s chairman and secretary-general of dubiously making changes to the party’s constitution.

However, chairman Musa Bility and secretary-general Martin Kollah denied the allegation and it spilled over to the suspension of Sen. Dillon and Daniel Sando, an assistant to the party’s political leader, for “making several unauthorized public utterances, derogatory statements against the chairman and executives."

And just a month after they had released a statement and photos claiming to have settled their differences, another crisis has resurfaced again between the Liberty Party’s two most powerful leaders.

This time around, it relates to plans by chairman Bility and a faction loyal to him unanimously to host the political leader of the Alternative National Congress Alexander Cummings, at the Liberty Party headquarters for a welcome back program from the United States. 

The program takes place today, October 27.

But Sen. Karnga-Lawrence has issued a statement, distancing the party from Bility’s decision as a means of asserting control over the party, underscoring the growing challenge she faces is not just controlling the party, but unifying it.

In a statement, the Grand Bassa County Senator said she has no knowledge of the event, neither from the planners in LP nor from the ANC Leader, and advises all partisans and supporters to go about their normal activities and not give credence to any such program.

“In the coming days, the LP will institute specific measures to deal with this situation,” Sen. Karnga-Lawrence added.

But it is yet to be seen if the Senator’s statement would hold, especially when Bility now wields certain leverage, maintaining a stronghold on the party since his ascendency to the chairmanship saw the party acquiring a fleet of brand new vehicles and a spacious national party headquarters.

Also, the party’s Secretary-General has ignored his political leader’s directive and vowed to throw Cummings a welcome back jamboree at the Liberty Party headquarters.

Kollah added that Sen.Karnga-Lawrence’s decision is not the law and gospel of the party; therefore she cannot single-handedly overrule the decision of the National Executive Committee (NEC), which makes the decisions.

“The party’s NEC has decided and the program will go on,” he said. “Nobody now can stop the program so the political leader needs to stop thinking that she can just sit and change things. The party is above the individual and that the political leader’s release is far from reality.”

For Kollah, the granting of ANC permission to use its premises is intended to foster unity in the CPP and togetherness and that Senator Karnga-Lawrence cannot stop the process now.

The ANC has also added its voice, insisting that the ceremony will go on at the LP headquarters in the spirit of Unity, as they were invited by the Liberty Party’s National Executive Committee.

In a communication to Bility on October 7, ANC requested the use of his party headquarters, “based on the expectation that the size of your Headquarters space will be able to accommodate our anticipated crowd.”

They wrote that “the ANC has decided to host a welcoming program on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, in honor of Cummings to commemorate his return to Liberia from his historic political visit overseas."

"ANC, therefore, wishes to officially invite the Liberty Party to its welcoming program and to officially request the Liberty Party for the use of its Headquarters to host the program,” added the letter.

And in response, the Liberty Party said that its NEC, on October 25, approved the ANC’s request.  

The showdown between Sen. Karnga-Lawrence and chairman Bility will make the internal disagreement in the party worse, as factions on both sides fight for control and a political comeback.

Chairman Bility and his allies have branded Senator Karnga-Lawrence’s show of power as anti-democratic and will be resisted at all costs, while the political leader and surrogates, consider the LP chair as a crook, based on his conviction by FIFA for embezzling funds intended for the development of football in Liberia.

For that, he was banned from all football activities for ten years by FIFA’s Ethics Committee. However, Bility denied the charge.

Given the bad blood festering among leadership, the Liberty Party, once known for its organizational tranquility, is no doubt internally split and has been so since Bility got installed as chairman. 

The divide has also split the party’s influential youth league with claims and counter-claims of whether or not the party’s Executive Committee made such decisions.