COP Suspends Youth Wing Chairman, Eight Others

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Henry P. Costa, chairman, Council of Patriots

What appears to be a politically and financially induced decision taken by some members of the Council of Patriots (COP) Youth Wing, has backfired as the national leadership of the pressure group has begun taking drastic actions against those involved.

The COP National Leadership in a statement on Wednesday said it has suspended nine members of its Youth Wing, including its Chairman, Ben Togba, pending an investigation into what it termed as circumstances that led a few members’ recent decision to break rank with the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP).

Ben Togba and a few of his colleagues, at a press conference in Monrovia on Monday, said that they were withdrawing the membership of the COP from the CPP to focus on advocacy rather than politics.

The decision by Togba and others left many wondering as to whether the COP, as a mother institution of the Youth Wing, was ever a member of the CPP—a body that is known to only have four institutional members: Unity Party, Liberty Party, Alternative National Congress and the All Liberian Party.

However, a release signed  by the COP head, Henry Costa, said, “The COP wants to make it abundantly, emphatically and categorically clear that it did not authorize the pronouncement made on August 31, 2020, in Monrovia by some members of its Youth Wing withdrawing their membership from the CPP.

“The National Leadership of the COP further informs the public that the Youth Wing did not then, and does not have the authority to make any such statement regarding the relationship and collaboration between the COP and CPP in particular, and other organizations or parties in general. It is the sole authority of the National Leadership to determine and decide with whom it engages or affiliates in the interest of the Liberian people, and not its Youth Wing,” the release said.

Few days after the COP Youth Wing declared the purported ‘suspension of membership’ with the CPP, some members of the youth group have accused their leader, Togba and his accomplices, of receiving over L$500,000 from Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah, Jr., to announce the group’s withdrawal from the CPP.

Suspended COP Youth Chairman, Ben Togba (center), and some members at a recent protest in Monrovia

One of the Youth Wing members, Dominic Musa, in a social media post also accused the youth Wing Chairman of holding a secret meeting with Minister Tweah to petition CDC Senatorial Candidate Thomas Fallah for a financial reward. According to other members, the COP Youth Wing’s decision to suspend its membership with the CPP was done unilaterally.

According to the release, the suspension of the COP Youth Wing Chair and other members remains intact, pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation into the facts and circumstances that led to the press conference in which they averred that the Youth Wing of the COP was suspending its membership from the CPP.

Those suspended include Ben Believe Togbah, Jr., Chairman; Puka Roberts, Lansana S. Kanneh, Michael Varney, Foday N. Massaquoi, Kendrick Pelenah, Da-Silva, Robertson and Joshua Francis Kar.

While Ben Togbah is suspended, the Youth Wing’s Vice-Chair for Administration, Sameria Nyemah, will act as Chair. The Executive Committee of the COP calls on all to cooperate with Sameria and give her the full courtesy she deserves as acting chair of the COP Youth Wing.

“The COP wishes to reaffirm its commitment to the solid relationship and cooperation existing between itself and the CPP. Accordingly, the COP National Leadership wants to assure all of its members in Liberia and around the world to be assuredly confident with the serenity that the situation is well under control.

Meanwhile, a swift internal investigation has been launched to determine the circumstances that led to the unfortunate pronouncement. Upon the conclusion of this comprehensive investigation, appropriate punitive measures, and deterrent
mechanisms will be put into place in order to avoid a repeat of such an unacceptable occurrence,” the COP release under the signature of Costa said.

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