The recent crossover of UP stalwart Harrison S. Karnwea to the Liberty Party (LP) has angered a cross-section of Nimbaians who feel Karnwea’s political decision has threatened the county’s solidarity (unity).
Senator Prince Y. Johnson (PYJ) has meanwhile described Karnwea’s cross-carpeting to LP as ‘laughable.’
“The whole thing still sounds funny to me on the grounds that my junior brother (Karnwea), who has been with a failed UP, will become one of those political bats masquerading the political terrain,” said Sen. Johnson.
PYJ, the political leader of opposition Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR), made his reaction clear during a mobile phone interview with the Daily Observer yesterday.
His response to Karnwea’s decision to switch parties was prompted by calls from Nimba UP lawmakers that Mr. Karnwea should resign as head of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), the agency overseeing the country’s forestry sector.
“It is the will of Nimba lawmakers to decide on what is right, but I think Karnwea’s resignation has nothing to benefit our beloved county, neither the country, because he has nothing significant politically to offer the county,” Sen. Johnson countered.
According to him, Karnwea “has no weight to present the county to any politician, least to mention a political party.”
Johnson said he has gathered from a well-placed source that Mr. Karnwea wants to become a running mate to Cllr. Brumskine, a decision which he said “has no steam.”
The multi-party system of governance calls for one to exercise free political will, “but the defection of former UP partisans is because of shame, and a complete misrepresentation of the culture of democracy,” Johnson opined.
“Why jump from place to place like a bat only because the UP has failed to deliver on its campaign promises?” PYJ inquired, noting, “They will be paid for their good job at the ballot box on October 10.”
A member of the UP Legislative Caucus, Representative Worlea Saywah Dunah, urged Karnwea to resign his post as Managing Director of Liberia’s Forestry Development Authority (FDA) “without the least delay.”
Like Senator Johnson, Rep. Dunah and Mr. Karnwea are prominent sons of Nimba County, hailing from Zoe-Geh Statutory District, a predominately Gio/Dan region.
Mr. Karnwea recently resigned from the governing UP and joined the opposition, LP, of Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine.
The decision has been described by some politicians as a blow to the candidacy of Vice President Joseph Boakai, who is seeking the presidency at the October polls. VP Boakai has denied being frustrated, particularly by Karnwea’s defection.
Meanwhile, Mr. Karnwea, speaking to our reporter from Geneva, Switzerland, where he is attending the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA2020) meeting at the World Economic Forum, questioned the political identity of those that are calling for his resignation.
“Who are they that want me to resign my post in government? Do I owe them an explanation for my actions? If they have the power, let them fire me,” Karnwea challenged.
But Rep. Dunah said his demand for Karnwea to quit, which is being misunderstood by Karnwea’s supporters, is intended to save him (Karnwea) and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf from future political embarrassment.
According to Dunah, Karnwea’s action has elevated former Senator Kekura Kpoto’s popular call to “Put your clothes where the sun shines.”
“The FDA managing director’s position is a cabinet job and so for Karnwea to keep the job in the sunshine, while looking to secure the next sunshine, is tantamount to undermining the UP. By that, Mr. Karnwea is keeping his cabinet job to campaign against the very cabinet he is working for in an attempt to unseat that government and remain in the next government,” Dunah observed.
He added: “Whatever the torrent contains, we are not interested, because it is elementary that intellectuals and factual scarcities invariably lead to mudslinging. So we resist such situation, because it undermines and exposes our candidate, VP Boakai, who is running on the achievements President Sirleaf has made.”
According to him, the UP has some critical decisions to make, adding that, “If Karnwea should stay in the cabinet his role could be viewed as King David’s advisor Hushai in the Bible with the rebellious son Absalom.”
Dunah recalled how the Trojans did not know what was in the belly of the wooden horse, but “here the UP saw the fanfare of Karnwea’s transfer,” and he questioned, “Should the party’s leadership pretend that this dangerous politics has no bearing on the upcoming elections?”
“And so our call for Karnwea to resign is simply a call to save him and the President from embarrassment, a saving gesture not understood by him and his so-called followers. The murky waters of Liberian politics, which Kpoto epitomized is the historical shame to all of us. But in all honesty, to remain in a cabinet and become an opposition is an exhibition of the highest level of Kpoto’s sunshine philosophy that is only self-seeking, unanchored and reveals a desperation of a kind of power greed politicians percieve.”
He further noted that it is desperation and greed that lead man in different ways, adding, “If the Karnwea conundrum is allowed to stand, it will not only make Liberia the laughing stock of global politics, but will be recorded in the Guinness Book (of Records).”
Dunah said that as a follower of Christ Jesus, who said “no man can serve two masters,” he will not want to be Karnwea in that cabinet room “where everyone knows that whatever policy decisions they make and issues considered are not protected from the opposition, represented by Mr. Karnwea.”