Ellen “Not Part of Lawsuit” against Boakai, UP, Says Piah

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Prez. Sirleaf.

Just a day to the ruling by Cllr. Muana S. Ville, dispute officer of the National Elections Commission (NEC), on whether or not he should proceed with hearings into the expulsion of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and other executives from the former ruling Unity Party (UP), the former President has backed out of the lawsuit.

Ellen’s decision to distance herself from the entire complaint filed before the electoral body was contained in a statement of clarification on Wednesday, February 21 by the former president’s press secretary, Jerolinmek M. Piah, when he appeared on the state-run radio station ELBC informing the public that Madam Sirleaf has withdrawn any interest of pursuing the matter any further.

Piah denied reports that UP standard bearer emeritus has filed a lawsuit against the party or its standard bearer Joseph Nyuma Boakai.

According to Piah, Madam Sirleaf has dissociated herself from reports linking her to a lawsuit against Mr. Boakai and/or the UP, adding that the former President is not a part of the process, and that she is not (at this time) intending to file any lawsuit.

“Others who were expelled by the UP are the ones who have filed the lawsuit against the party and not the former president,” Piah maintained.

Meanwhile, the Daily Observer has reliably learnt that no request for withdrawal of the case in question has been filed at the NEC.

It may be recalled that Madam Sirleaf and other party executives, including Senator Conmany Wesseh of River Gee County and his wife Medina Wesseh as well as Patrick Worzie, were expelled on January 18 for allegedly violating the party’s constitution, because the former president was allegedly supporting opposition party members during the runoff election.

Also, the UP claimed the behavior of the expelled persons…”constituted sabotage and undermined the existence of the party,” in the statement announcing the decision, which was taken by the party’s executive committee.

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Press secretary to Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Jerolinmek M. Piah

In his reaction to the expulsions at the time, Piah declared that the party’s rules were crystal clear on the requirement for expulsion, noting that such requirements were not fully exhausted.

He said President Sirleaf had heard of the action against her by the party, but was then focused on the conclusion of her transition.

Piah said the pronounced action by the UP did not deserve or require any official reaction, adding, “When she leaves the presidency, the party matter will be handled in conformity with the party’s way.”

But, Cllr. Jonathan Massaquoi, chief of litigation at the International Law Group (ILG), who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the former President and the former UP standard bearer against Boakai, alleged that her expulsion orchestrated by Boakai was in violation of UP’s constitution and the 1986 Constitution of Liberia.

The International Law Group (ILG) firm is jointly owned by Mrs. Wesseh and Representative Fonati Koffa of Grand Kru County.

The ILG suit also alleged that the meeting which led to the expulsion of the former president and other party executive members was secretly held at the residence of Mr. Boakai with 31 executive members in attendance, but only 17 voted to effect said ‘prejudicial and illegal action.’

They argued that the party’s constitution provides that the National Executive Committee shall require at least 42 votes in favor to acquire the two-thirds majority of the 65 members at the time of the decision; unfortunately only a majority of 32 were at the residence of Boakai that took the expulsion action.

But when the case was first heard on Wednesday, February 21 by the NEC’s dispute officer, the party’s lead lawyer, Albert Sims, argued that Patrick Worzie was the only person whose name appeared on the suit filed to the NEC.

However, Sim’s argument was strongly resisted by Cllr. Massaquoi, who insisted that the former president was aware of the complaint filed against Mr. Boakai.

According to Cllr. Sims, the available legal option was for the expelled executives to have sought reconsideration or review of their expulsion through a quorum of UP executive committee members instead of the legal recourse.

It can be recalled that on Thursday, January 14, a group of individuals described as “thugs” converged on the UP Congo Town headquarters to stage a protest against the expulsion of the former president and some party members, but were resisted by security guards.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. EJS did the right thing, she is an elder stateswoman now; and truth be told, those who claim to love her should’ve advised, at least, three or six-months vacation. The fact of the matter is that she cannot control public (our) perception of her governance. Moreover, the longer she sticks around the more caustic the criticisms become; and without sounding like a psychiatrist, such attacks – often over the top – could be depressing and unhealthy for her age.

    For example, in Sierra Leone, President Siaka stevens was succeeded by his choice in the APC party he singlehandedly founded. Well, that person was Army Force Commander Brigadier Mommoh. Reportedly, instead of leaving the scene for a while, Siaki stuck around; he was accused of meddling, lost respect, and died a broken man in spite of some wealth. That news was devastating to many who knew, despite mistakes, how hard he worked for his people, country, and party.

    Ironically, the humorous old man forgot to remember one of his own jokes: “Familiarity breeds contempt, you play too much with dog, e go lick you face”. The two situations are different, yet that anecdote is instructive. Anyway, the happy ending is that history vindicated him: APC regained power in 2008 and still retains it. Bur Knowing Siaki, he would’ve liked it better were he alive to joke and crow how right he was all along.

  2. The resort to the NEC with matters such as this is not only baffling but imperial and dictatorial, to say the least. Why NEC and not the court system? How can the NEC be “judge and jury” in cases it supposed to be not only neutral in and for the mere sake of neutrality, because that’s what one would expect of any fair judge, but more than that the NEC supposed to not be supporting or helping any side in a conflict, disagreement, etc. within these political parties! We have seen in the past, for example, where a certain political party once impeached or removed certain of its leaders from office based in whatever the internal dynamics within that party, and the affected leaders solicited the intervention of the NEC on their behalf in the obtaining matter. The NEC rejected that change, to the chagrin and dismay of all stakeholders. The need for any intermediary within these inter-party dynamics ought to be by some other entity totally different from the NEC! Imagine this very obtaining scenario with Joe Boakai and UP vs Ellen Sirleaf, and the NEC as judge, for example. For anybody who followed the recent election, does Joe Boakai and party stand any chance in this same NEC arrangement or intervention, in such a scenario? It goes to show why any other intermediary entity but the NEC, will be more prudent, practical and commonsensical in matters like this. The same NEC? Very fatalistic!

  3. If this is coming from Madam Sirleaf, then I can only say that she is taking the right steps forward toward reconciliation.. Like it or not, Madam Sirleaf still have stake in the party, and to put the past behind us doesn’t require further muddying the waters. Five years may seem long but are very short and the way the train of governance is picking up, I do not think it can gather enough stain to sustain it and receive a second term mandate from the Liberian people. The UP can make a serious come back when there is unity within the party itself and the iron lady of Africa will do everything in her reach to be influential in the future UP. As for those pursuing the case, their chances of getting redress is not through the court or NEC but rather to recourse to the party for conciliation. To solidify our emerging democracy and make it a model for the subregion, we have to understand the dynamics and working of party politics which is not possible when you are jumping from party to party as a result of expulsion from one because of disloyalty and acts that are inimical to growth, development and success of their party. If the president has withdrawn or recuse herself, the others should follow suit, I think.

  4. I think the best alternative for unity party to do is to unite all UP Partisan then to engaged in Laws suit that will bring Disintegration to the party

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