Monrovia – The exodus of key political figures from the ruling Unity Party is becoming a concern ahead of the crucial October elections.
“I did not discuss with the president and I think our President is one of the most tolerant presidents and she understands that as a human I have a right to act when and where I want to,” he said.
“No, I did not discuss with the Vice president because he hasn’t been in country; the option is to accept and for the record, there is no bad feelings between the VP and I.
"We are friends we can always talk; politics is not about antagonizing or attacking one another we will continue to be friends” – Harrison S. Karnwea
Businessman Musa Bility’s switch to opposition Liberty Party drew awe, and now Harrison Karnwea, another famous member of the ruling party, on Monday officially declared his membership for the Liberty Party.
Observers say it’s a boost for the opposition party as they look set to gain momentous support due to the influx of politicians and ordinary Liberians that are also pledging their support to the candidacy of Cllr. Charles Brumskine.
Recently, a group under the banner Professional, teachers and lecturers pledged its support to the party.
Mr. Karnwea, head of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), has been a strong supporter of the ruling Unity Party for the past 12 years.
In an interview with FrontPageAfrica via telephone, he said his decision to join the Liberty Party has been long coming but he chose to keep it personal, describing his move as “unconditional and only intended to build a very strong party”.
Karnwea said: “My brother, everyone wants to be where he will be appreciated. It is my right as a person to decide where I want to be and when I want to be. It is not about Unity Party and me, it is about Liberia and at this point I think I can be a good help to Liberia than UP.”
Responding to question about his role as running mate to Cllr. Brumskine, he said: “My coming over to the LP is unconditional my interest is to build a very strong party and whatever comes out of it so be it.”
Asked whether he discussed his decision with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf or his current standard bearer Vice President Joseph Boakai, he added that his decision was personal.
“I did not discuss with the president and I think our President is one of the most tolerant presidents and she understands that as a human, I have a right to act when and where I want to,” he said.
“No I did not discuss with the Vice president because he hasn’t been in country; the option is to accept and for the record, there is no bad feelings between the VP and I. We are friends we can always talk; politics is not about antagonizing or attacking one another we will continue to friends.”
He continued: “This is a decision that has been long coming I didn’t just want to talk about it. I told you we will build on what UP have done. I am not going to be like people who left the UP and said the Party has not done much.”
Gain for Unity Party?
Reacting to Karnwea’s exit from the party, Unity Party Chairman Wilmot Paye said the decision is welcoming and he described it as definite gain for the party.
“That too many people want to be running mate at the same time. We welcome his exit it’s a good thing we are happy about that. We are growing a new generation of leaders and that new generation is what we are proud of,” Paye said.
“What I mean is that people who have their personal ambition that could not be seen in UP have to leave. You know what it means for somebody who is desperate about something and wanted to be and cannot be and you not ready to make them.”
“Don’t forget, Karnwea wanted to be Chairman and he couldn’t be, so obviously you can understand why and this thing has been coming for more than six months. It is surprising to you, not to us and by the way - he and Brumskine are business partners. I don’t know why two of them working together will be strange to you.”
Paye said UP never wanted Karnwea to leave the party while describing the former internal affairs minister as an individual who has benefited from the ruling establishment. He said the party expected loyalty in return.
“The Liberian people want people who stand for principles, who when we say yes, we mean yes. People who whether rain or shine we are still there, who are not opportunistic and not chasing money. How many people can be running mate at the same time? We just don’t have room for too many running mates,” the UP Chairman said.