Sen. Lawrence annuls Bility’s chairmanship
Barely two years ago following the demise on 20 November 2019 of the foundering father, inter-wrangling for power and control has marred Liberty Party (LP). The party has been virtually split between Senator Nyonblee Kangar Lawrence as Political Leader, on one hand and Standard-bearer and Musa Hassan Bility as Chairman, on the other hand.
The presumed running mate, Sen. Lawrence is applying every effort to lend LP’s support to former VP Joseph Boakai to secure CPP’s standard-bearer position, while Musa Bility is believed to be pulling forces to Mr. Cummings of ANC.
Due to the apparent disarray, the Political Leader, addressing a press conference, expressed deep concern over the appalling state of the party and said she was taking the necessary steps to protect LP.
“So, we now have to determine whether the political foundation he (Brumskine) so sacrificially poured will indeed remain the bulwark for the change we desire, or resign ourselves to a faint spirit and allow his legacy to be laid to ruin. I challenge us to reject the latter,” Senator Lawrence said.
She said Liberty Party was meant to be that institution that would strive to stand the test of time, as it labors for change in our society. The female politician said LP, in its continuing drive to strengthen democracy and ensure peaceful co-existence, under the direction of its founding father, reached out to other institutions and leaders to build bridges where rivers divided them.
“Yes, Cllr. Brumskine never envisaged Liberty Party to be an election project meant for the higher bidder. Sadly, the happenings in our party today appear to defy everything this institution has stood for over the years.
Recently Chairman Musa Hassan Bility in a letter dated December 6, 2021, addressed to the Political Leader of Liberty Party, Sen. Nyonblee Kangar Lawrence, informed of her suspension for delinquency in due payment to the party.
Chairman Bility in his letter quoted article IX of LP by-law and constitution, stating that, “persons accepted as members of the Liberty Party shall pay a monthly membership fees as may from time to time be set by the National Execution Committee (NEC). The communication said members in good standing are members whose membership dues are fully current and up to date”.
The letter signed by Chairman Bility said Sen. Lawrence is obligated to pay $1,500 USD monthly to the party, an amount, the letter said, she has not been paying since January and has accumulated to $18,000 USD for this year alone.
The Chairman in the communication said the decision to suspend Sen. Nyonblee Kangar Lawrence and others was taken by the National Executive Committee in a meeting held in Ganta, Nimba County on November 20, 2023.
In response Senator Lawrence, however, accused Chairman Bility of fueling tension in the Party since his ascendency to the chairmanship of the Party. She also alleged that Chairman Bility admitted to fraudulent alteration of the party’s constitution that he submitted to the National Elections Commission, a claim Chairman Bility has since denied.
Addressing partisans over weekend on Saturday December 13, 2021, LP political leader said she was under obligation to protect the constitutional foundation of LP and to ensure that the benefits of rule of law prevail.
“We must take responsibility to make the necessary corrections in line with our value of following the rule of law. In view of the findings of the Special Investigation Committee which incorporated testimonies of the major actors in the planning and execution of the Convention, and acting in line with Article Five Section 1 (d) of the 2015 Constitution which designates the Political Leader as the Convener of the Special National Convention, we hereby declare the Convention of January 21-23, 2021 nullified. The party returns to status quo ante”, she said.
LP Political Leader said Senator Stephen Zargo would assume the leadership of Liberty Party as Chairman. “In the coming days, the Chairman will convene a meeting of all stakeholders, including Mr. Musa Hassan Bility, who reverts to his previous role as Chairman of the National Advisory Council, to decide the future of our party.
The female political warned that, “I also want to be extremely clear that Liberty Party will not tolerate anyone operating as an officer of the party if not granted by the 2015 constitution under which we now operate. Such behavior is classified as fraudulent and unlawful; as such, any partisan found impersonating an authority not granted by the 2015 constitution would be subject to disciplinary actions up to and including disqualification from holding LP office in the future”.
Read the full speech below:
PRESS STATEMENT BY SENATOR NYONBLEE KARNGA-LAWRENCE,
POLITICAL LEADER, LIBERTY PARTY
December 11, 2021
Mrs. Estelle Brumskine, widow of the founding father of Liberty Party; Senator Stephen Zargo, Chairman, the LP Senate Caucus, Representative Hans Barchue, former Deputy Speaker and Chairman, Liberty Party House Caucus, Senator Jonathan Lambort Kaipay, Member, the Liberty Party Senate Caucus, Senator Abraham Darius Dillon, Member, Liberty Party Senate Caucus; all former Liberty Party Legislators in attendance; The Chairman and Members of the National Advisory Council of Liberty Party; all former members of the National Executive Committee of Liberty Party, including the former National Secretary General, Mr. Jacob J. Smith; the Chairman and members of Liberty Party Diaspora Groups, especially USA Branch headed by Mr. Peter Paye and Chairman Emeritus, Mr. Philip Suah (participating by zoom); County Chairpersons; Members of the Youth and Women Congresses of Liberty Party, members of the Concerned Partisans Group and all auxiliaries of the party; Members of the Wailing Women Group, members of the Pastoral Network; Liberty Party’s members of the Islamic Community; Partisans of Liberty Party dispersed throughout the length and breadth of this country following us by way of radio technology; Supporters and sympathizers, Members of the Fourth Estate, fellow Liberians:
Please stand with me in observance of a moment of silence to the memories of our fallen distinguished statesman and founding father of our great institution, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine and all committed partisans who have passed on from labor to rest in the course of our arduous journey to securing a prosperous nation for ourselves and posterity. Thank you.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Fourth Estate, fellow partisans:
Two years ago, we, partisans of Liberty Party, found ourselves in the wilderness of despair, as the arrow of death struck deep in our midst, snatching away a great Liberian legal luminary and a political torchbearer of distinguished statute. Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine and others of like minds, had, during one of the difficult periods of our political history, stood the test of time to birth an institution that was meant to produce an alternative to political governance in our country. His political philosophy and the models upon which it would be realized, was erected on the four pillars of Reconciliation, Reformation, Recovery and Rebuilding.
Liberty Party was meant to be that institution that would strive to stand the test of time, as it labors for change in our society. In its continuing drive to strengthen democracy and ensure peaceful co-existence, the party, under the direction of its founding father, reached out to other institutions and leaders to build bridges where rivers divided us. True to this, before the end of his earthly sojourn, Cllr. Charles Brumskine reached out to his fellow compatriots, mainly within the opposition community, to define a new political direction that would narrow our political divide. He sought to ensure that Liberty Party, acting alone or in concert with other compatriots, would be an enduring beacon light of hope in the body politic of Liberia. Yes, Cllr. Brumskine never envisaged Liberty Party to be an election project meant for the higher bidder. Sadly, the happenings in our party today appear to defy everything this institution has stood for over the years.
So, we now have to determine whether the political foundation he so sacrificially poured will indeed remain the bulwark for the change we desire, or resign ourselves to a faint spirit and allow his legacy to be laid to ruin. I challenge us to reject the latter.
Over the last several months, you have raised questions about what is happening to the health of your party. Many of you have been tempted to believe Liberty Party has been laid to waste. You asked questions about why, as your leader, I did not come up to address the issues that have confronted our party. But I tell you today, fellow partisans, that over the period under consideration, I addressed these issues to the fullest extent, of course, avoiding the temptation of negative publicity. I remained true to the traditions of our Party to keep internal issues within our party. I believe, then and now, that as your leader, it was upon my shoulders to draw wisdom from the first plank of our Manifesto, RECONCILIATION, as a guide. Unfortunately, every available opportunity that was intended to salvage our internal problem was defeated by personal agenda, greed for power, and greed for financial gains. WE MUST THEREFORE ACT NOW!!
Accordingly, as a build up to the decision we will announce here today, against the sinister plan designed to make our institution irrelevant and by extension, the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), permit me to give a chronology of the events that have brought us this far:
Following the death of Cllr. Brumskine, the National Executive Committee of Liberty Party was saddled with intra-party conflict manifesting the 2018 endorsement saga, among other issues. As a party, we decided to hold a retreat to discuss what was crippling our party. It was at that retreat in Buchanan a proposal was made to the effect that the Constitution of the party needed revision in some of its provisions. While some partisans registered aversion to reviewing the constitution outside of a convention, some argued that the process could start with a Constitution Review Committee (CRC), whose work would come in the form of a proposal to be taken to a convention for endorsement by constitutionally qualified delegates. Thus, on the strength of the views of majority of the attendants at the retreat a committee was set up. Following a period of review, the committee submitted its draft proposals to the Political Leader and the National Executive Committee. A National Executive Council meeting followed, to review the draft, with a mandate to proceed to a Special National Convention for the purpose of adopting the new framework.
Subsequently, and acting under the provision of Article VIII, Sections 1 and 2 of the 2015 Constitution (the only logged LP Constitution with the National Elections Commission today), the Political Leader issued a Special Order convening a Special National Convention for the purposes of:
1. Reviewing and adopting the proposed language as agreed in the Buchanan Council Sitting, and
2. Electing new national officers upon the adoption of the revised constitution.
In the same breath, the Political Leader constituted a Convention Planning Committee whose work was, as prescribed in Article VIII, Section 3, to plan all activities associated with the Special National Convention, including the rules and procedures for the convention for subsequent adoption and approval by the Political Leader. It is important to mention that we relied on the Convention Planning Committee to ensure that the Special National Convention was planned in line with the relevant provisions of the 2015 Constitution relating to the holding of Special National Convention. And based on their report that all provisions of the constitution were followed, the Special Convention took off on January 22, 2021 with the revision of the proposed new language to the 2015 Constitution. The Constitution was adopted and election of new national officers was subsequently held on January 23, 2021.
Upon our return to Monrovia, the Political Leader made frantic efforts to have the newly elected National Chairman, Mr. Musa Hassan Bility and the National Secretary General, Mr. Martin Kollah, submit the records of proceedings of the Convention including the final compilation of the Constitution for review before being submitted to the National Elections Commission. This is the process as prescribed in the constitution. Every step along the way, both the Chairman and the SG assured us that the documents were being consolidated for review. This went on for close to two months. Unfortunately, the convention documents never reached the PL. It was after receiving tip-off that the Constitution and the proceedings of the convention had been submitted to the NEC that I wrote the body (the NEC) requesting that a copy of the LP newly-revised Constitution be sent to me. The NEC obliged itself and made a copy of the Constitution, already probated, available to me. Let me state that the submission of the constitution to the NEC by Mr. Musa Bility and Mr. Martin Kollah, without my review and signature, was unconstitutional. Per the constitution, I had to review the final draft to ensure it represented what transpired during the convention before submitting the constitution the NEC. The intent of this clause in our constitution was to prevent exactly what we are now dealing with, altering of the document before submission to the NEC.
On closer examination of the constitution I received from the NEC, it was detected that contrary to what delegates had approved at the Special National Convention, both the Chairman and the Secretary General had proceeded to reword the provision of Article VI Sections 1 and 2, affecting the functions of the Political Leader and the Executive Committee headed by the National Chairman. The provisions are stated below:
As approved by the Gbarnga Convention in relation to the PL
The Standard Bearer/Political Leader, in consultation and collaboration with the NEC, shall formulate policy and procedures to implement the decisions of the National Convention, call Special Conventions as provided for in Article VIII, and take such other actions and proper measures that he/she may deem as necessary to advance the best interest of the Party.
As altered by the Chairman and Secretary General and submitted to NEC
The National Executive Committee, in consultation and collaboration with the NEC, shall formulate policy and procedures to implement the decisions of the National Convention, call Special Conventions as provided for in Article VIII, and take such other actions and proper measures that he/she may deem as necessary to advance the best interest of the Party.
Immediately, the Political Leader informed the National Chairman about this and requested that action be taken to correct the changes made in the Constitution. The Chairman and the SG put up stiff resistance, arguing that as far as they were concerned, the Constitution they had submitted to NEC was the proper Constitution, and that nothing would be done about it.
The fundamental issue of concern here was, and still is, why did the Chairman and the Secretary General act outside of the normal procedure for submitting the final version of the Constitution along with the records of the proceedings to the Political Leader who was the convenor and Presiding Officer of the Convention? Why had they failed to submit to a simple internal process of correcting the flaw and instead, embarked on a sustained media propaganda against the PL, in some cases, representing her to the public as being deceitful?
A logical response to the questions raised above is therefore found in the actions of Mr. Bility following the submission of the unauthorized reworded version of the Constitution to NEC. He had proceeded in the direction of arbitrarily restructuring our county structures, replacing county leaders with his cronies; he had proceeded to set up, outside of his bounds, a Committee on Grievance and Investigation, among others. Most disturbingly for the first time in the history of our party, almost every week there was some kind of investigation and conviction leading to expulsion or suspension. The Chairman and the SG would say, “We have a Constitution and will use it.” So, clearly, there is no gainsaying that the changes made in the Constitution by Chairman Bility and SG Kollah were deliberate as to the point of giving the Chairman, the head of EC, a hand to undermine the Political Leader and thus, stair stir up the confusion such as we now have in Liberty Party.
So, convinced of the fact that the Constitution logged at NEC did not represent what was adopted in Gbarnga, the office of the Political Leader, the convenor and Presiding Officer of the Convention, addressed a communication to the National Elections Commission (NEC) requesting withdrawal of the instrument and raising question as to procedure regarding the submission of the Constitution. The Chairman, in his characteristic disposition to continue this undermining effort, wrote a counter communication to the NEC in which he defended the Constitution he had submitted. Relying on the relevant provisions of the Revised Guidelines for Political Parties and Independent Candidates, the NEC, at a hearing with the PL and the National Chairman, referred the party to the use of its internal mechanism as a first instance.
In an honest effort to derive a resolution to the intra-party tension, the National Advisory Council (NAC) on August 26, 2021, met with the PL and the Chairman and extracted from the both of us commitment to set up an independent committee of seven (7) lawyers to be charged with the responsibility of reviewing the proceedings of the Gbarnga Convention with a view of determining what needed to be corrected, if any. Our commitment also included a moratorium on media engagement referencing the constitution and an agreement to seize exercising any function under the controversial constitution other than those related to the CPP, pending the submission of the independent committee’s report within one week. A memorandum to that effect was prepared by the National Advisory Council for our two signatures. Upon receipt, I signed all three copies submitted to me. Mr. Bility refused to sign the MOU and instead, submitted his edited version to the NAC for execution. At this point, there was an impasse.
Consequently, as a way of breaking the impasse that was being created, the NAC held a subsequent meeting where it was agreed by a majority decision of its membership that a follow-up communication be sent to Mr. Bility advising him to sign the MOU so as to facilitate setting up the committee to do its work. He never did. Instead, the Chairman and the SG launched additional rounds of media propaganda, pouring out uncomplimentary comments against the person of the PL, contrary to what had been agreed in the mediatory meeting with the NAC.
Again, the NAC communicated with me that it had resolved to take on the task of reviewing the convention documents instead of charging an outside body to do so. I accepted, pledging that I was available to attend meeting anywhere in search of a solution.
The Farmington Memorandum
On October 2, 2021, we met at the Farmington Hotel under the auspices of the National Advisory Council where a thorough review of the video recording of the Gbarnga Convention was done. During the review, it was abundantly established that indeed, provisions of Article VI of our Constitution had been altered. In summary, the role of the Political Leader had been swapped with that of the National Executive Committee, thus creating the impression that Mr. Bility was well on course in executing the decisions he had executed within the period the Constitution was kept at NEC.
The 10-hour Farmington meeting consummated yet another memorandum of understanding acknowledging the changes that were made in the Constitution following its adoption by the Gbarnga Convention, and agreed that the necessary corrections would be made, using the facts that were now available from the video recording. This is further buttressed by the NAC’s report on the Farmington meeting count 2 of which reads, “That two Articles of the Constitution submitted to the NEC under the signatures of the Secretary General and the National Chairman, did not reflect what was adopted at the Gbarnga Special National Convention. Those two Articles have been edited as is reflected in the MOU signed at the retreat.”
Fellow partisans, members of the Fourth Estate, I wish to inform you that Mr. Bility is a signatory to this memorandum, with Madam Wadei Powell, signing along with him as his resource person. I signed as Political Leader and Senator Abraham Darius Dillon signed along with me as my resource person. All National Advisory Council members in attendance attested to the memorandum. Sadly, as a manifestation of the bad faith with which Mr. Bility and some of his cronies have been operating, they immediately began putting a spin on the memorandum of understanding, contrary to what was generally agreed in the MOU and the moratorium. In one specific instance, Madam Wadei Powell featured on the Spoon Talk Show to deceive the public that everything we had said about alterations was proven to be false. In all this, we refrained from interpreting the MOU to the public, believing that Mr. Bility would see this as redemptive opportunity and act accordingly. This was not the case, as he, following all the misrepresentations of the document, wrote to inform us that he was calling a convention to endorse the “minor edits” that were done in the Constitution at Farmington.
I wish to inform you, fellow partisans and the general public, that consistent with the advice of the National Elections Commission (NEC) that this matter be handled, using our internal mechanism, we submitted a formal information to the NEC by way of the memorandum of understanding and the report of the National Advisory Council on the Farmington meeting. In effect, on November 15, 2021 we withdrew from the NEC, the revised 2021 Constitution as submitted by the National Chairman and the Secretary General. In this regard, all actions by Mr. Bility capitalizing on the unauthorized changes he made in the Constitution, are nullified. Where necessary, the appropriate actions will be taken.
Fellow partisans, may I also inform you that while we are in the process of dealing with the problem of the Constitution, we were, on October 30, 2021, handed a follow-up complaint by Partisan Emmanuel Azango along with copy of a ruling from the National Elections Commission to the effect that partisan Emmanuel Azango had filed a case with the Commission, alleging that improprieties (ranging from the use of wrong delegates to an incomprehensive list of delegates, among others) marred the 2021 Special National Convention. The complaint was first brought to my attention following the Gbarnga Convention. I had, over the period, tried to seek an internal resolution, urging Mr. Azango to take advantage of the internal party mechanism. It was not until lately that I received his second complaint attached to a NEC ruling directing him to use his party’s internal mechanism, as NEC would not adjudicate a case that is before another jurisdiction. On the merit of this matter, we have notified the National Advisory Council and as well informed the National Executive Committee.
You will agree with me that until the now recalled constitution is structured in its proper context as adopted by the delegates, it cannot be used to adjudicate this matter. In this regard, the Political Leader appointed a three-member committee to look into the veracity of Mr. Azango’s complaint. The Committee has submitted its findings which is detailed as follows:
(The full text of the committee’s findings here)
1. On 23 January 2021, Partisan Azango sought the intervention of the Political Leader and Presiding Officer of the Convention because “the entire electoral process was riddled by constitutional violations and procedural breaches citing Articles five & seven of the 2015 Constitution – the Constitution under which the Convention was held as per the attachment marked “B”. The following events occurred thereafter:
2. On 26 August 2021, Partisan Azango filed a formal Complaint to the Board of Commissioners of the National Election Commission seeking nullification of the outcomes of the January 22-23, 2021 on allegations of fragrant violation of Articles V of the Liberty Party Constitution; the appointment of ten (10) individuals as super delegates; the appointment of the heads of the Youth and Women Wings as delegates; violation of Section 3.4 of the National Election Committee Guidelines; amongst other.(Exhibit “C”). The Chairperson of the NEC forwarded the complaint to Mr. Ignatius B. Wisseh, Director of Political Affairs for NEC,
3. Based on Partisan Azango’s Complaint, Mr. Wisseh of NEC cited parties for a conference scheduled for 6 September 2021. At that hearing, Liberty Party was represented by Mr. Musa Bility (Exhibit D)
4. Upon hearing the matter, Mr. Wisseh ruled invoking Chapter III, section 3.3 of the NEC’s Regulations and Guidelines relating to Political Parties which requires that Intra-Party dispute must first be heard within a political party and thereafter an appeal may be perfected to the Commission. (Exhibit D2)
5. Not being satisfied with the Political Officer’s Ruling, Azango’s appealed to NEC Board of Commissioner (letter misdated 23 January 2021 but received by NEC on 16 September 16, 2021), indicating that the decision of the Political Officer regarding the utilization of the internal dispute resolution process narrated in Count 4 above on the ground that the current leadership is the product of the fraudulent process he is challenging; and that the Constitution which was adopted at the Gbarnga Convention is also being challenged (Exhibit E)
6. On 5 October 2021, Partisan Azango’s wrote a follow-up letter to the NEC Board of Commission asking for an expedited trial. (Exhibit F)
7. On October 12 2021, the Board of Commissioners cited the Liberty Party and Partisan Azango to hear his appeal scheduled for 13 October 2021. Upon hearing both parties, the Board affirmed and upheld the decision of the Political Officer indicating that it would be unfair to prejudge what the internal process within the Liberty Party may arrive at regarding Mr. Azango’s Complaint. (Exhibit G)
8. On October 30, 2021, Partisan Azango amended and revised complaint to the Political Leader and Presiding Offer entitled “The Complaint against the Procedure and Constitution of the Liberty Party Special National Convention Held January 22-23, 2021, in Gbarnga City, Bong County, Republic of Liberia.” (See Attachment) citing the absence of a quorum and violation of Article fourteen of the 2021 Constitution as adopted at the Special Convention, governing the transition period which requires that within 150 days a special Convention shall be convened to elect the Chairperson, members of the NEC and members of the Secretariat. (Exhibit H)
CTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR NATIONAL CONVENTION & ANALYSIS
Article 1.c provides that the National Convention shall be composed of three categories. It defines an accredited delegate to the Convention to be a registered due paying member of the Party who is also a registered voter of the Republic of Liberia.
1. Category 1: “Members of the Party in each electoral district of a county within the Republic shall select a resident of the district, who is otherwise qualified, as a delegate to the National Convention; Party members of a membership group in a foreign country, consisting of at least five hundred registered, due-paying members of the Party, shall select a member who is otherwise qualified, as a delegate to the National Convention; (Members of the Party in the Diasporas who may not meet the five- hundred membership requirement in the foreign country in which they reside, may combine their membership number with that of one or more other membership groups in the Diasporas for the purpose of achieving the minimum five-hundred membership requirement and electing a delegate to the Convention.)”
Analysis: This requirement was completely ignored. Chairman Zargo informed the Committee that there was no election of County delegates to the Convention. Further, there is no evidence on the records that these delegates were registered at the Convention. This the Committee says, denied participants in the 73 political districts the right to vote on the Constitutional Amendments and the election of Officers.
2. Category 2: Every elected national and county officers of the Liberty Party, who are otherwise qualified: and Party members who are members of the Legislature, Party members who are ministers or deputy ministers of government or equivalent.
Analysis: The emphasis is on elected national and county officials and must be taken in the context of Article VII in its entirety but with particular emphasis on section 6 which requires the holding of elections of officers at least 3 weeks prior to the National Convention and by extension to the Special National Convention. Notwithstanding, the election for these officers was not conducted.
Twenty-four (24) National Officers are listed in Article VI of the 2015 Constitution. Additionally, Article V provides for the positions of a Youth Wing Congress and a Women Wing Congress, the heads of which are eligible for accreditation (+2). Specialized Committees shall include the National Campaign Strategies Committee, the Presidential Campaign Strategies Committee, and the Committee on Information, Research and Propaganda – the heads of which are also eligible for accreditation (3). This is a total of at least twenty-nine (29) elected officers at the National Level.
Article V also list the elected Officers at the County level: the County Chair, Vice County Chair, the County Secretary, the County Treasurer, the County Youth Wing Chair, and the coordinator of each district in the County. This is a total of 6 per county for a total of ninety (90) partisans – the district coordinators excepted.
3. Category 3: Every former elected national officer of the Party, former Presidents, Vice Presidents and members of the Legislature of the Republic who are members of the party.”
Analysis: There are 5 members of the present Legislative Caucus.
The Committee projected a population of 197 partisans eligible to attend the Special Convention. A quorum would consist of 99 accredited delegates from at least 8 counties in accordance with Section V.c of the 2015 Constitution.
F. THE SPECIAL NATIONAL CONVENTION
The Report, entitled “Report of the Liberty Party Special National Convention Held in Gbarnga City, Bong County, January 22-24, 2021 to the Liberty Party National Executive Committee” signed by the Chairman of the Special National Convention Planning Commit…
Fellow partisans, we are under obligation to protect the constitutional foundation of this party and to ensure that the benefits of rule of law prevail in our midst. The rights of the weakest member of this party are as important as the strongest among us. We must take responsibility to make the necessary corrections in line with our value of following the rule of law. In view of the findings of the Special Investigation Committee which incorporated testimonies of the major actors in the planning and execution of the Convention, and acting in line with Article Five Section 1 (d) of the 2015 Constitution which designates the Political Leader as the Convener of the Special National Convention, we hereby declare the Convention of January 21-23, 2021 nullified. The party returns to status quo ante. The Honorable Senator Stephen Zargo assumes the leadership of Liberty Party as Chairman. In the coming days, the Chairman will convene a meeting of all stakeholders, including Mr. Musa Hassan Bility, who reverts to his previous role as Chairman of the National Advisory Council, to decide the future of our party. I want to commend the Special Investigation Committee for its professional service. I also want to be extremely clear that Liberty Party will not tolerate anyone operating as an officer of the party if not granted by the 2015 constitution under which we now operate. Such behavior is classified as fraudulent and unlawful; as such, any partisan found impersonating an authority not granted by the 2015 constitution will be subject to disciplinary actions up to and including disqualification from holding LP office in the future.
Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot conclude this press conference without addressing an issue that has gained much currency in the media in the past week. It has not been a surprise that Mr. Musa Bility would go to the length he has reached to abuse the opportunity he was given to clarify his character. Upon realizing our determination to expose his sinister plans, Mr. Bility and a few surrogates, some of them individuals who hold no membership in LP, have been parading with information that he has suspended me, the Political Leader, along with other individuals whose financial contributions and invaluable service to Liberty Party, are beyond words. It doesn’t matter to me personally, the listing of my name as a delinquent due payer.
As leader of the party, I am under obligation to vindicate the reputation of the party and those whose hard-earned characters he has attempted to soil. So, I now take the liberty to put into perspective the due payment issue. It was the contemplation of the Convention that one of the first things to handle by way of policy implementation was the payment of due. This would entail categorizing the dues, determining who pays what and the party’s preferred bank. Sadly, the action of Mr. Bility and others to tamper with the Constitution pushed us into dealing with a prolonged problem that had chilling effect on some of the actions that were needed earlier, including due policy.
Due to this lack of clear direction, we could not enforce this policy on our members. But even more to that is the fact that the National Treasurer was requesting that people made their payments into her personal account. Mr. Philip Suah, our Vice Chair for International and Diaspora Affairs had to deposit, at one point, his due into the personal account of the Madam Wadei Powell, National Treasurer. Secondly, Mr. Bility and Madam Powell proceeded to unilaterally change all bank information without making the information available to those they consider their men-of-war.
With this reality of the due payment regime, our major contributors were encouraged to invest in other equally important projects of the Party until both the constitution and the bank account issue could be resolved. For example, Senator Steve Zargo paid for two years on our Lofa office and has ensured that everything needed to keep it functional and active are there. Senator Kaipay is engaged with the Bassa Office making contributions such as face-lifting of the facility, ensuring some cash is available to provide compensation for party workers. Senator Dillon is engaged with our Montserrado team by acquiring an office space for the County. Mr. Debar Allen, the Chairperson of our National Advisory Council, is a two-time Campaign Manager who has invested hugely to the financial cost of Liberty Party from its very inception. Former Deputy Speaker, Hon. Hans Barchue single-handedly undertakes projects that keep LP’s image booming outside of Montserrado County. There are people in this party whose due cannot be measured in terms of dollars and cents. Talking about the Political Leader? The Financial burden we bear on a daily basis is immeasurable. I have spent tens of thousands of dollars to help sustain our institution including a total of thirty thousand (30,000.00) to rent our former headquarters at Catholic Junction from 2018-2020. During LP Chairmanship of the CPP, I singlehandedly sponsored all activities including the turning over ceremony and other event on behalf of LP. Not to mention funds spent to assist with LP activities including retreat and conventions. A little over a year ago, Liberty Party was blessed to receive into membership Honorable Barnes. Mr. Barnes, as you know, comes with so much value to Liberty Party. Is this an individual Mr. Bility will refer to as not being able to pay due, therefore proceeds to publish his name?
When LP was in arrears at its former national headquarters, it took me, Senator Zargo, Senator Dillon, Mrs. Carmena Abdallah and other stakeholders, to save the party by collecting up to $40,000 United States Dollars to offset the arrears. At that time, Mr. Bility was nowhere around. Also, Grand Bassa made the highest deposit in our party account that was unilaterally changed by Wadei Powell.
Indeed, due payment is an honorable thing, and I encourage our partisans to pay their dues regardless of their financial positions. But we must first give partisans the safe and structured means by which payments are made within the framework of an approved constitution. Instead of fixing the financial process and the constitutional issues, Mr. Bility chose a poor public relations tactic that has now backfired on him. Of course, we know that this is now a complete charade whose effect cannot see the light of day.
As I am mandated, by the strength of the 2015 Constitution, to give political direction to our party, I shall act within the limits of such authority to protect the image of our dear party from being derailed by any particular person or group of persons. I want to thank you my fellow partisans, for standing with us over last few months as we struggled to set Liberty Party back on track.
May the Almighty God strengthen our resolves to propel Liberty Party to the heights envisioned by its founding father?