With less than ten months to the October polls, Charles Brumskine’s Liberty Party (LP) Vice Chair for Membership and Recruitment has resigned from the party.
Emmanuel Azango has meanwhile crossed carpet to the national movement in support of Boakai (NAMBO). Vice President Joseph Boakai is contesting as standard bearer on the ticket of the governing Unity Party (UP).
Mr. Azango attributed reasons for his resignation to a ‘crudely’ undemocratic LP constitution, and tribalism.
“Today, I decisively announce to the nation my resignation as vice chairman for membership and recruitment,” Azango told a crowded news conference yesterday.
Until his resignation, Mr. Azango spent 15 years with the party serving in various capacities.
Regarding LP’s constitution, he described it as, “crudely undemocratic, uncivil, despicable and condescending.”
For example, he said the constitution, which was single-handedly drafted by the party’s standard bearer, Cllr. Brumskine, gives exclusive power to himself, which makes Brumskine a “totalitarian leader against the will and to the detriment of others.”
The tribal dimension
Azango’s defection leans heavily on tribalism, as the LP, which has earned the brand name, ‘Bassa Party,’ is clearly reported to be one for people from Grand Bassa County. This is all coming to light from one of the party’s trusted lieutenants with 15 years of ‘die-hard service.’
In Azango’s public defection yesterday, he accused his superior and once trusted political leader of institutionalizing tribalism, accusing him of building a ‘Bassa empire’ where other tribes are not counted in spite of their services.
Azango, who hails from Lofa County, has now thrown his political weight behind the UP and sternly informed the public that tribalism has aggressively crept into the LP thus making marginalization a possibility in the party.
He said tribalism has been institutionalized, pointing out, “If you are not Bassa in the LP, you are considered non-essential or inferior and a villain.”
He told the news conference that Bassonians are firmly dominating the center of power in the LP and they are the benefactors, adding, “Cllr. Brumskine remains unbending, undeterred and uncompromising in effectuating his tribal gimmick (trick) in the party. In fact, from what I have experienced, I can safely declare the LP is a Bassa Enterprise where other tribes do not have any say.”
It was against this backdrop and for many other reasons that Azango has parted company with the LP, which had nurtured him politically, adding, “I quit and say good bye to the LP and never will I return as long as Brumskine remains its political leader.”
“I have found a new political path where I find peace, decency and diversity. I therefore challenge anyone who wants to come after me. I do not have prisoners of war; I will damage anyone who tries to come after me,” he threatened.
Although the party’s secretary-general, Jacob Smith, has on previous occasions promised to allow “freedom of speech” under the LP leadership, thereby giving rise to anyone defecting to say what he or she has against the party leadership, he is yet to comment on these latest allegations by Mr. Azango.