PATEL Leadership Crisis Deepens

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Business on Water Street, Monrovia during the first day of the latest PATEL strike action in 2017. Many businesses seemed closed, but owners still showed up for work and kept a narrow door open, “just in case...” (Photo: E. Dennis)

As embattled Chairman Presley Tenwah wants new Gov’t prioritize Liberian businesses, but….

An organization of business associations, the Patriotic Entrepreneurs of Liberia (PATEL) that staged a three-day peaceful protest against the government citing economic hardships that ranged from the imposition of high tariffs on goods imported into the country to police harassment, among other issues, is deeply engulfed in a leadership crisis, with its founding executives and members bitterly divided.

Divisions among PATEL’s top officials have been made public in recent times, with claims and counterclaims that Presley Tenwah is no longer the legitimate chairman of PATEL.

But, Tenwah in his recent statement congratulating the new leadership of President-elect George Manneh Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), urged the public not to do business with any PATEL officials other than those loyal to his faction, headquartered on 19th Street in Sinkor.

He, however, urged all of its members and the people of Liberia to respect the rule of law and consider Mr. Weah as their new president. He said the organization has put in place a six-month plan to engage the new government with mechanisms that will uplift the organization and achieve its goals in 2018.

It may be recalled that last year members of the PATEL officially expelled him as chairman of the institution due to what they termed as his “inability to manage the organization.”

“The incorporators, executives, and members of the patriotic entrepreneurs of Liberia wish to officially express through this release that Presley S. Tenwah is no longer chairman of the organization as of 11th of August 2017,” the group said.

According to them, the decision to expel Tenwah is based on his unilateral spending of the institution’s funds without approval and accountability, thereby creating rifts and disenfranchisement among several incorporators, executives and members of the association.

However, Tenwah was recently exonerated and certificated by the Civil Law Court as national chairman.

The incorporators also noted that the Tenwah lacked the ability to properly structure the institution to systemically and adequately function as an entity, thereby impeding the growth and development of the organization.

This action, according to the group, was agreed upon by a majority vote of the incorporators, executives, and members of the organization based on Tenwah’s inability to properly structure and adequately manage the entity, and also his constant insults and threats against PATEL members who disagree with his autonomous decisions during meetings.

They further noted that the expelled chairman has persistently held meetings with government operatives, representing the organization single-handedly and making decisions without mandate from members of PATEL, thus creating serious suspicions of him being a sellout. For these and much more the group said it is urging the general public not to do business with Presley Tenwah.

Against this backdrop, Caesar R. Morris, chief communications officer, and Dominic Nimely, acting national chairman of PATEL, told the Daily Observer via mobile phone that PATEL is not split, but the embattled chairman is trying to fight his way in and “we have no case with him, because majority carries the rule.”

Hear them: “We have seven persons that founded PATEL and of the seven persons, six went against him including the executives and members, so that shows that Mr. Tenwah has no case and is no longer chairman of the organization.”

Nimely said Tenwah is still an incorporator and member of PATEL but no longer acting as national chairman.

“We are now saying that it is a message, but again, he is not a legitimate chairman, so under my leadership as acting national chairman of PATEL, nobody should also do business with Mr. Presley Tenwah,” Nimley stressed. “We have papers to that to substantiate our case. We went there and fought the case and another one is still there and has been taken to the Supreme Court for hearing; and right now as I speak to you we will be going to court today to address this issue.

“So, Tenwah is still impersonating; and what he is doing, we are not going to be running behind like small children fighting him in the street. As far we are concerned, I have taken PATEL to the top under my administration. We now own an office space on Newport Street, bank account, susu, so we are moving forward with PATEL,” he said.

Given the above, all well-meaning Liberians are strongly advised by Nimley and the other incorporators not to do any form of business with Presley Tenwah on behalf of PATEL.

According to him, PATEL is currently being run and managed by the new acting chairman, Dominic Nimely, and executives appointed by six of the seven incorporators namely: Prince Howard, Kebbeh Collins, Patience Dean, Alexander Wento, George Kumakeh and Jerry Phred.

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