Liberia: Crisis in Vice President’s Camp; President Weah’s Interference Suspected

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Monrovia – The National Patriotic Party (NPP), a member of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) from which Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor comes, is in chaos – the leadership has been tampered with and the Vice President has been placed in a very tight corner, FrontPageAfrica has gathered.

Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]

The NPP in a release issued Monday, November 5, disclosed that its national executive committee has with immediate effect expelled its former national chairman, James P. Biney, and suspended its assistant secretary for operations, Bolton Dennis, for violating key provisions of the party’s by-laws and constitution.

The party reached the decision on Sunday, October 21, 2018 in its regular national executive committee meeting following a report by the grievance and ethics committee that adjudged them guilty of all allegations levied against them by the county chairpersons and auxiliaries.

The national executive committee called on the public and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) not to do business with expelled and suspended individuals. 

Caveat to CDC

The NPP, in its press release, somewhat signaled lack of collaboration and strained relationship with the Coalition. The party is on record for expressing disenchantment over marginalization by President Weah’s when he started the formulation of his government. The party expressed concerns that its members were not being considered for possible appointments.

In the latest release announcing the expulsion and suspension of its key members, the NPP cautioned the CDC to respect its decision and govern itself accordingly.

“The national executive committee of the National Patriotic Party also calls on the Coalition for Democratic Change to respect its decision as an independent constituent political party within the Coalition that exercises its constitutional duty in the framework of the party’s by-laws and constitution, and will in no way accept any indirect or direct interference from the other two parties (CDC, LPDP), as doing so, will undermine the spirit and intent of the Coalition for Democratic Change as enshrined in the Coalition agreement,” the NPP cautioned in its release. 

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Biney-Taylor Crisis

The embattled chairman of NPP seems to be enjoying the confidence of President Weah while having a very sour relationship with the party’s standard bearer, VP Taylor.

Vice President Taylor and Biney have not been able to come to terms on the reinstatement of some officials, who left the party in 2016 to support or contest on other political parties’ ticket.

It can be recalled that VP Taylor in May this year ordered the instatement of those members and officials on grounds that the party needed to reconcile and move forward.

Her decision was, however, heavily resisted by Biney, who claimed she was acting outside the bounds of the party’s by-laws and constitution. 

In a May 15, 2018 press conference, Biney claimed as chairman, the current leadership of the party could not recognize the decision of their standard bearer to reinstate the resigned officials, claiming her action is in violation of the party’s constitution.

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“It is important that we let Madam Taylor know that her decision is not recognized by the current leadership and we do not abide by it. The official constitution of the party remains the April 6, 2004 constitution,” he said.

Biney further stated that those who Madam Taylor claimed to have reinstated at her meeting cannot be made to occupy any position in the party under the NPP constitution until they reapply for membership and then contest for any position at the party’s national convention.

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Prior to his press conference, Biney had resisted the presence of the reinstated members and officials at the party’s headquarters leading to a scuffle between supporters of both sides.

A vote of no confidence petition was subsequently turned over to the grievance and ethics committee of the party during a meeting reportedly presided over by VP Taylor.

The misunderstanding within the party led to the issuance of a preliminary injunction on the party by the Civil Law Court on May 19, 2018. The complaint was filed by Bolton Dennis.

The court ordered absolute restrain from occupying, accessing, using, operating from or removing any material connected with the offices of the NPP.

The NPP’s national chairman and the secretariat have also been ordered not to make any representation in respect of the subject position of secretary general or any of the positions which individuals are said to be reinstated to.

Weah’s Got Biney’s Back?

An impeachable source within the CDC governing council has informed FrontPageAfrica that the NPP made a decision to categorically add the stern warning to the CDC in its release due to the constant inference of President Weah in the NPP’s activities. 

According to the source, Biney has been operating on the orders of Weah, who is bent on not welcoming into his company anyone who has record of campaigning against him in the 2017 elections.

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FrontPageAfrica also gathered that it is the President’s plan is to ensure a merger of the NPP with the Congress for Democratic Change which would enable him enlarge his territory without having resistance from the bigger member of the tripartite Coalition. 

“The Vice President is under pressure to merge the NPP with the CDC. The sole intent is to give the President and the CDC absolute control over the Coalition. The Vice President, as we are told, might suffer some consequences if she refuses to allow this to happen,” a member of the governing council told FPA.

According to the source, President Weah has been supporting and influencing Biney and other members of the NPP to lead the campaign for the merger which the Vice President has been strongly opposed to leading to a strained relationship with the President.

All efforts to get comments from the President’s camp proved futile, but office of the Vice President denied having tense relationship with the President, noting, both the Vice President and the President have been working cordially and in the interest of the Liberian people. 

However, source maintained that Pres. Weah has warned that the Vice President would suffer the consequence should the NPP fail to reinstate Biney and keep the members who resigned in 2016 and 2017 away from the party and the Coalition at large. 

“In our last meeting, a high-placed figure within the CDC who is also a member of the governing council made it clear to us that the President wants Biney back in the party,” the source, also a member of the governing council said.

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