– As the battle for control continues in LP
By. G. Bennie Bravo Johnson
For the first time in many months the Political Leader of the Liberty Party (LP), Senator Nyonblee Kangar Lawrence, spoke to the media from the party headquarters in Congo Town.
Speaking Tuesday, May 3, 2022, the Standard Bearer of the Liberty Party stated that the Supreme Court acted based upon their request to the High Court for Prohibition to stop all further activities by Mr. Bility and the National Elections Commission pursuant to issues involving Musa and her that has been handled at the level of the NEC.
Sen. Kangar-Lawrence stated that she sent a communication to the National Elections Commission (NEC) to formally withdraw the altered constitution. She said they communicated with the National Elections Commission to again formally withdraw the altered constitution submitted by Mr. Bility and Mr. Martin Kollah. She said on May 1, they communicated with all the signatories to the Farmington MOU, including Mr. Bility, for a meeting at 9A.M on Tuesday May 2, 2022 to ensure that the proper corrections in keeping with the MOU are made and signed for resubmission to the NEC.
However, Sen. Kangar-Lawrence disclosed that in chairperson Bility and his team had worked with the NEC to correct the wrongs in the constitution without the knowledge of the Kangar-Lawrence’s faction, something she believed was in violation of the ruling of the Supreme Court.
“Informed that the meeting was about to start, we received a text message from Mr. BIlity informing us that he and his team worked with the NEC yesterday to correct and resubmit the constitution in our absence, in fulfillment of the 72-hour mandate which he thought expired yesterday. We informed Mr. Bility that, in keeping with the Liberian civil procedure law section 1.7, the 72-hour period does not include Sunday and therefore expires today. We sent him a copy of the law and encouraged him and his team to attend the meeting. Also, he was informed that the NEC has no jurisdiction over our corrections process, and that doing it together as a party was in keeping with the mandate from the court, the NEC regulation, and the Liberty Party Constitution. At the end of the 72 hours today, there was no response from Mr. Bility,” she said.
Meanwhile, the LP political leader disclosed that the resubmission of the corrected constitution has been concluded in keeping with the mandate of the court and has resubmitted the corrected version of the constitution in keeping with the Farmington MOU and NEC regulation 3.4 (d), which states: d. Within 10 days following the convention, a political party shall submit to the commission a list of its national and local officials, including those of the national executive committee, indicating the political sub-division that each of them represents. Said submission shall be under the signatures of both the chairperson and Secretary General of the convention committee.
Senator Kangar-Lawrence noted that Mr. Musa Bility was not the Chairman of the convention and should not have signed and submitted the constitution to the NEC. He still has no such authority to sign and resubmit it after the alterations are made to the actual versions.
However, she further remarked that the copies of the resubmitted version, signed by the Convention Chairperson and the Convention Secretary General in keeping with the NEC’s approved regulation, have also been sent to the office of the Justice in Chamber.
“I wish to state that as an institution that was established to play its rightful role in the building of a democratic culture with its attendant benefits anchored on good governance and the observance of the rule of law, we must keep our focus on those values. We must not fall prey to the manipulation of individuals and institutions that could be promoting external agendas”.
She used the occasion to call out the National Elections Commission for the unfortunate role it played and continues to play in fueling intra-party conflict. She said the problem in LP would not reached this far had NEC acted properly within the scope of its rules and regulations.
“Today, it remains a searching question why the NEC, having received the Farmington Report in which the parties committed to correcting the constitution, insisted on recognizing the instrument as an authentic document, and why is the NEC still getting involved with guiding our corrections process? “
She continued by asserting that the NEC has not only proven its disability and partiality in this matter, but has also raised the red flag against itself. 2023 is such a defining moment for the peace of Liberia.
“Apart from the NEC’s guidelines that clearly provide how political parties should file convention reports, the NEC’s rules also frown on, and regard as an offense, the submission of false and misleading information to it. Why did it continue with the 2021 Constitution even after the facts were made available to it?”, she wonders.
“Through its handling of this matter, NEC has not only proven its disability and partiality in this matter, but has also raised a red flag against itself. 2023 is such a defining moment for the peace of Liberia. We will not leave it to chance. Hence, in the coming days and weeks, we will engage stakeholders from a broad spectrum of society in the view of forming a consolidated position on the NEC, as it is currently constituted”.
At the time, Sen. Kangar-Lawrence appealed to all partisans to cease all hostilities in the social and conventional media as well as in other forms and manners. “Fellow partisans and members of the public, I wish to inform you that our actions in the past several weeks and months were not about pursuing the option of a zero-sum game. With the decision from the Supreme Court, which represents a significant step in the direction of setting the Liberty Party on its proper course, I am appealing to all partisans to cease all hostilities, on the social and conventional media as well as in other forms and manners. In the days to come, we will take specific actions intended to heal the party and move forward”.
She concluded by informing the PL partisans and the general public that all other legal matters before the lower court remain. Pending their resolution, and again, calling for calm amongst partisans, thereby calling on the leadership of the party to take the lead in healing the party. “Of paramount importance, those of us who hold leadership roles must take the lead as we endeavor to bring calm to the Liberty Party”.