‘UP and I no longer share the same political ideology,’ Says Findley
With just eight days into the ongoing political campaign for the October 10 polls, a stalwart of the ruling Unity Party (UP), Gbehzohngar M. Findley, has resigned from the party, stating “UP and I no longer share the same political ideology.”
Findley is a former Senator of Grand Bassa County and former Pro Tempore of the Senate. In 2014 he was defeated by Jonathan L. Kaipeh during the Special Senatorial Election.
Findley was among eminent Liberian politicians who were expected to be named as vice-standard bearer to Joseph N. Boakai on the Unity Party ticket for the October 10 polls, a position now occupied by Speaker J. Emmanuel Nuquay.
Mr. Findley told reporters in Monrovia over the weekend that Liberia is at a crossroads, and therefore, “The decision we make in the upcoming elections will either help to further propel or impede the progress Liberia has made, and its people.”
Findley said his decision to join the ruling Unity Party in 2005 was to ensure that Grand Bassa County gets a community college and other development that would positively impact the lives of the people.
He, however, called on Liberians to consider his decision to quite the UP as a pleasing duty towards keeping the peace and exercising the democratic freedom and the natural, inherent and inalienable right to associate and disassociate in the prime interest of the country and its people as expressed in Article 17 of the Liberian Constitution, which states: “All persons, at all times, shall have the rights to associate fully with others and refuse to associate with political parties, trade unions and other organizations.”
Findley said the party had offered him the opportunity to serve as campaign chairperson for the elections, but that he turned down the offer, citing “politics is interest.”
“The chairmanship of the campaign committee was offered to me, but I turned it down for personal reason. I worked meticulously with the UP since 2005 as an associate and collaborated with them fully in 2011. In 12 years we have enjoyed each other’s confidence, and I feel at this particular point in time, we must move on to the next level for the good of Liberia,” Findley said. The party recently named former Foreign Minister Augustine K. Ngafuan as the chairperson for the campaign.
When asked whether he wouldn’t be disappointing his supporters after taking vice president Boakai to Bassa and terming him as the best man to lead Liberia, Findley said: “Politics is interest and my supporters too have interests, and if their interests are not secured then we need to address them properly.” As for the selection of Speaker Nuquay by V.P. Boakai, Findley said, “Nuquay and I worked for nine years, and there are lots of things that we share in some ways in common. We are both legislators – I am a former legislator and he is a sitting legislator, and we worked on the ways and means finance committee. He worked on the House side, while I worked on the Senate side.”
He said he remains open to any political discussion during the October elections, adding, “I am resting small with politics for at least two weeks before coming up with where I will be going.”
Shortly after the press conference, it was reported that Findley has crossed over the the opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), a political block of the erstwhile National Patriotic Party, the Congress for Democratic Change and the Liberia People Democratic Party of former House Speaker Alex Tyler.
In a related development, UP has released the full listing of its national campaign committee and chairperson of the county campaign committees. Those named on the committees are Nimba County Senator Thomas Grupee, chair; businessman Siaka Toure, also a Nimbaian, as first vice chair; and Grand Bassa County Representative Mary Karwor, as second vice chair.
The 67-member national campaign committee also comprises a representative from each of the 11 political parties that have endorsed the presidential bid of Vice President Boakai.
They include the People’s Unification Party, Union of Liberian Democrats, Victory for Change Party, National Democratic Coalition, Grassroots Democratic Party of Liberia, All Liberian Coalition Party, and at least one representative from each of the 15 counties.
Meanwhile, the UP has named 11 other people, who will serve as chairperson of their respective counties.
They are Senators Geraldine Doe-Sheriff, Montserrado; Varney Sherman, Grand Cape Mount; Alphonso Gaye, Grand Gedeh; Albert Chie, Grand Kru; Matthew Jaye, River Gee; Henry Yallah, Bong; and Francis Paye, River Cess counties.
Others are Benny Johnson, Grand Bassa; Zuba Aggrey, Lofa; Christopher Orbel, Margibi; and Blebo Brown, Maryland counties.