Liberty Party (LP), one of the leading parties making up the four opposition Collaborating Political Parties, is currently suffering a bitter power struggle that has contributed to a huge in-house division among executive members both at home and aboard.
A group of individuals calling themselves “Concerned Liberty Party Partisans Both Home and Diaspora,” at a joint press conference held at LP headquarters in Monrovia Wednesday, February 18, 2020, expressed discontentment over the way in which their political leader, Senator Nyonglee Karnga-Lawrence, along with Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon is steering the affairs of the party.
Reading a statement on behalf of the concerned group, Daniel Merchant, Chairman of Liberia’s Chapter of the Concerned Liberty Party Members, said the division in the party is the result of “Poor leadership skill.”
“Liberty Party is today experiencing several levels of internal division as a result of poor leadership skill. These divisions were made clear to the general public when a few weeks ago, what was meant to be a Special Convention intended to solve internal problems turned out to be a vehicle for the destruction of our party. But this did not come as a single event. It gained ground over a long period, with the full knowledge of our Political Leader, Senator Nyonglee Karnga-Lawrence working together with Senator Abraham Darius Dillon.” he said.
A stalwart of the party, Daniel Sando, who is the Vice-chair for Press and Propaganda, has denied the allegations and said those calling themselves concerned members are acting on the basis of anger after the convention.
Merchant said both Senator Dillon and Karnga-Lawrence have acted unadvisedly in using their privileged positions to engineer the ascendency of Mr. Musa H. Bility to the Chairmanship without due diligence.
He accused Dillon and Karnga-Lawrence of receiving a bribe from Bility to secure their nine years job to reciprocate him with the party’s chairman, a decision he told journalists that it disrespects the party’s constitution.
Sando responded that Senator Karnga-Lawrence was elected long before the convention was held in January 2021, therefore, Bility’s election as chairman cannot be attributed to her victory.
He said Bility has served as LP Chairman on the national advisory council and chaired the campaign in 2017, adding, “So, you cannot deny the influence such a person holds in the party. The only requirement for the chairman is that you should be a member with a good standing, and Mr. Bility is very resourceful not by cash but in ensuring that the right things are done.”
Merchant said both Dillion and the party’s political leader took the decision on the basis of reform, which was far from the reality.
“As a matter of fact, what sort of reform does it represent for both the Political Leader and Senator Dillon to have senior staffers in their offices heading key positions on the Executive Committee? What kind of reform does it represent for Senator Dillon to hold the positions of Chairman of the LP Legislative Caucus and Vice Chairman for Political Affairs in addition to his position as Senator, which entitles him to being a member of the National Executive Committee? What reform?,” Merchant questioned.
“In as much as we could not oppose to partisan Bility vying for the Chairmanship of LP, we could not support a hostile takeover as it was appearing to be,”he said.
“As you now know, Mr. Bility went public recently to reveal that he bankrolled Senator Dillon’s campaign, hence, in this process, Musa Bility appears to be the unsuspected victim in the court of public opinion and certainly an experimental sacrificial lamb.”
Merchant reading the statement added that as a key member of the opposition bloc represented by the CPP, Liberty Party must indeed live above the fray, noting, “But on the other hand, we entreat the same public to allow us use our internal mechanism to deal with the seeming integrity issue.”
The statement quotes the group as indicating that they are striving to redeem the name of the party and to send a strong message to the public that Liberty Party subscribes to democratic principles and good governance.
The group has called on Senator Dillon to surrender the portfolio of Vice Chairman for Political Affairs to hold onto the portfolio of Chairman for LP Legislative Caucus; ensure that his Chief of Staff, Mr. Martin Kollah, sees reason to resign as Secretary-General to avoid any semblance of bad governance practice; that equally, the Political Leader takes similar action by prevailing on her Political Officer, Mr. Daniel Sando, to resign as Vice Chairman for Press and Propaganda that makes him the official spokesperson of the party working directly in the office of the Political Leader.
Other recommendations indicate that the office of the Political Leader, together with the National Executive Committee, moves swiftly to set up a broad-based National Advisory Council reflecting geographic balance and include people with impeccable characters within the party; upon the constitution of the National Advisory Council, the Council should take seize of the widely publicized claims of corruption cases against Mr. Biliity so that he may have the opportunity to salvage his name from the negative profile in the public; all former Legislators, Religious Leaders, and former Executive Members should be inclusive of any major decision of the Liberty Party; the Vice-Chair position within the Executive be given to any partisan that has served over the period of ten (10) years and with good integrity, and counties are visited every year to show how strong the party stands across our political sub-divisions.
On election, Daniel Sando told the Daily Observer that as far back in 2011, he has been elected to three separate positions and as such, his boss has nothing to do with his recent election.
“Those who make those allegations apparently do not understand the working of the party and how people get elected to different positions; the convention’s rule was clear, and we went into the process… my position was one position that was seriously contested, and I won it on the basis of my record,” he said.