-Petitions NEC to interpret the framework binding the three political parties under the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC)
Senator Dan Morais of Maryland County, who is an executive member of the former ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP), has joined rank with his standard-bearer, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, to accuse the Congress of Democratic President George Weah of violating the current framework that governs the tripartite coalition — the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change.
Sen. Morais, who is up for reelection this year, has written the National Elections Commission (NEC) to interpret to all the three political parties, the provision that talks about the determination of candidates for ensuing elections as in the case of the pending December 8 Special Mid-Term Senatorial Election.
Sen. Morais further argued that the current framework gives the right to the individual political parties in the coalition to decide who becomes their candidate, more so when there is already an incumbent with whom they can work.
“For these two by-elections, it was decided by the respondent Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) that for the Senate seat in Montserrado County, the Congress for Democratic Change of President Weah, should nominate a candidate because the seat was once occupied by his party,” he said in his petition addressed to the NEC yesterday.
Adding, Sen. Morais said: “The respondent also decided that the NPP should file a candidate for the coalition for the Bong County Senatorial seat vacated by the election of Sen. Jewel Howard Taylor [who ascended] to the office of Vice President of the Republic of Liberia. Marvin Cole of the NPP, meanwhile, was nominated and ran on the ticket of the CDC but was outdone by the former president of Cuttington University, Dr. Henrique Tokpah, who ran as an independent candidate.”
Supporting his claim, Morais referenced the by-election in Sinoe that elevated to the Senate Augustine Chea of the Congress for Democratic Change. Chea replaced former Senator Joseph Nagbe, also of the Congress for Democratic Change, who was appointed by President Weah as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. He also cited that Abu Kmamra of the Congress for Democratic Change was also preferred for the Coalition without any confrontation from the NPP and the LPDP in order to contest in Montserrado District #15 following the death of Representative Adolph A. Lawrence.
Sen. Morais also recalled two other senatorial by-elections that brought to the Senate former Montserrado County District #13 Representative, Saah Joseph of the CDC and Darius Dillon of the Liberty Party. He called on NEC to take notice of its records and historical facts for verification of amendment.
Earlier, VP Taylor said that the entire collaborative framework on which the coalition was established, seems to be turning upside-down to the extent that the coalition is currently in a critical position because of the blatant violation of portions of the agreements that brought the three political parties in the coalition.
“There are areas where there are explicit rules and laws and we need to abide. We need to respect the terms of the agreement that consummated the Coalition so that we can live in an environment of peace and unity as we go forward. The coalition is at a very crucial point as we head to the Senatorial mid-term elections. The agreement that we had that those parties that have incumbents in certain seats have the right of nomination to those seats, but this is no longer the situation and has been the cause of confusion within the coalition,” she said.
The cracks within the Coalition, which is by no means new, began barely a year upon the coalition assuming state power, with reported visible strains between President George Weah and his Vice President, is becoming more unmistakable as the country heads into a crucial mid-term senatorial election slated for December this year.
It is something that many of the coalition support fears will badly hamper the bid to emerge victorious with the most seats come the midterm senatorial elections. And that the maneuvering or political interplays that have helped to keep the coalition together, will not outclass the current disenchantments that have overwhelmed the ruling coalition ahead of the December 8, 2020 polls.
According to the Vice President, the situation has led to people leaving constituent members of the coalition and by the coalition framework agreement, Bomi, Gbarpolu, and Maryland Counties belong to the NPP, “because we have incumbent Senators in those counties.”
“The fact of the matter is that the NPP should have had the right of nomination to those counties. Sando Johnson was with the NPP as an incumbent in Bomi County but his post was being contested by members of the ruling coalition, which is totally against our agreement. So this led to him resigning. He thought that his rights were not being satisfied. I don’t know how the coalition will land on its feet,” the VP told the Spoon Talk show on Monday night.
Morais further said that, according to the framework establishing the coalition, all incumbent lawmakers of the CDC were immune to primaries, thereby allowing them to become automatic candidates from the respective political parties for the Coalition.
But this appeared not the case, as the tripartite coalition headed by President Weah’s party chairman, Mulubah Morlu, has begun conducting its primaries through which it will determine who becomes the candidate to contest in each of the 15 political subdivisions on December 8.
This, according to Sen. Morais, means the coalition is proceeding wrongly by denying him, a sitting Senator and member of the NPP, which is a member of the coalition, the right to be immune from contesting primaries. Such a situation, he said, forced Senator Sando Dazoe Johnson of Bomi County to leave the NPP and join the All Liberia Party (ALP) of Benoni Urey in order to be assured of not having to go into any primary with any other candidate.
“Senator Armah Jallah of Gbapolu and I are the ones now marginalized, even though we have each expressed our interest to run again,” he said.
Morais prayed the NEC to prevent the CDC from further proceeding with primaries while a declaratory judgment proceeding is still pending before the very NEC.