The All Liberia Party (ALP) has informed the Inter Religious Council of Liberia that it won’t attend its inter-party inaugural meeting.
In a letter to Bishop Jonathan B. B. Hart, President of the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia, the ALP said the premise of the forum is “unduly redundant, in light of the fact that there is already an Inter-Party Consultative Committee at the National Elections Commission, which addresses these identical issues that are being raised.
“We have, and always shall remain committed to the preservation of peace and stability in our country,” said the letter dated May 24 and signed by J.S.B. Theodore Momo Jr., national chairman of the party. The ALP noted that it was invited by the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia to participate in an Inter-Party Forum under its sponsorship with other political parties leaders in Monrovia to ensure the maintenance of peace in the wake of the forthcoming elections in the country.
The release quoted the party as saying: “It should, therefore, not come as a surprise that the ALP is resolved not to participate in any forum designed by this government. Moreover, we discern the handiwork of unpatriotic Liberians, who have perennially masterminded acts of constitutional abuses.
“Once more, they are seeking to undermine our state of peace and tranquility by being at the fore of this new mercurial action that is being trumpeted by the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia, perhaps entirely unknowingly.”
The letter pointed out what it described as the “continuous abrogation of our Constitution and the flagrant attempts to circumvent the Code of Conduct (COC), for example, of high level partisanship positions in the ruling Unity Party.”
It cited, for example, Lenn Eugene Nagbe, Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, for simultaneously being elected and serving as National Secretary General of UP; Messrs. Cole Bangalu, Deputy Director General for Administration at the GSA and Neto Z. Lighe, Minister of Labor, both of whom the ALP said are currently serving as senior national vice chairpersons of the Unity Party.
The letter drew Bishop Hart’s attention to what it described as other acts of gross violations of the Code of Conduct by the government.
Citing nepotism, the ALP said President Sirleaf has violated the Code of Conduct by appointing two of her sons Fumbah and Charles Sirleaf as Director of the National Security Services and Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, respectively.
The ALP reminded Bishop Hart of the “illegal closure and seizure” of Radio LIB-24’s equipment by the National Security Agency (NSA) and said to date “against all appeals to the Minister of Justice, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the President of Liberia, the government has refused to return said equipment.”
The ALP pointed to the exclusive use of public facilities for the sole political interest of the ruling establishment, “thereby creating an unlevel playing field to the detriment of the other political parties.” It said the recent endorsement of Vice President Joseph N. Boakai by 19 senators at the rotunda of the Capitol Building was attended by the Minister of Justice, Cllr. Frederick D. Cherue; Minister of Health and Social Affairs, Madam Bernice Dahn; and others using government-owned vehicles, all in flagrant violation of the COC and the electoral laws of Liberia.
The ALP also reminded Bishop Hart of what it described as “the blatant acts of corruption, abuse or power with impunity, as demonstrated by the Unity Party,” though it did not provide details.
More troubling, the ALP said, is the deliberate silence of the religious community. However, the ALP welcomed the repudiation that has come from the European Union to ensure that the rights of Liberians are not violated and noted that the EU’s action resonates with its position. “We are resolved to reach out to the diplomatic community, especially the Embassy of the United States near Monrovia, toward ensuring that checks and balances evolve in these dire straits.”
“We are in a quandary as to why the religious community has remained impervious to these human rights violations,” the ALP said.
The ALP reminded Bishop Hart that “when we posed the question to you as to the source of your funding for this undertaking in the interest of fair play, your response was that you are being supported by the government.”
The ALP said it does not feel comfortable to be led in the direction of the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia, with a government that has not demonstrated its preparedness to ensure that it is even-handed.
The ALP meanwhile called on the Inter-Religious Council to bring pressure to bear on the government “to reverse these glaring violations of the electoral laws of Liberia as a basis for adherence to the rule of law and enhancing a level playing field for all political parties.”
Meanwhile, when contacted yesterday, Bishop Hart did not deny the Council’s invitation extended the ALP to participate in an inter-party forum, but said information that the funding of the initiative is from the government is incorrect. “I never provided anyone that information,” he said in a mobile phone conversation.
The ALP letter is dated May 24, but Bishop Hart said he has not received a copy, and that it will be addressed upon receipt.