Liberia: Amin Modad, Unity Pary’s New Chairman, Faces Daunting Task of Revamping the former Ruling Party
MONROVIA – Being an entrepreneur who has established businesses and built institutions, Amin Modad, the newly elected chairman of the former governing Unity Party (UP), believes he’s endowed with the prowess that could bring the political institution back to its once formidable status.
His election as chairman was a landslide victory – 34 votes against Senator Conmany Wesseh who obtained only eight votes. CB Bashell got five votes while George Wisner obtained nothing.
Modad credited his success in business to the UP administration and says it is high time he gives back to the party.
“Everyone contesting for these positions are honorable people but I bring in the qualification of a successful entrepreneur who have built institutions, who has succeeded despite the challenges, who has remained loyal to the Party despite the adverse reaction from the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change government,” he said.
Who is Amin Modad
Amin Modad was born in Monrovia, Liberia on December 23rd 1975. He is a surprising change to the political landscape. He is the CEO of the MI Group, a 100% Liberian owned company with diversified investments in Hospitality, Realestate Development, and Food Production. He has always been a trailblazer; in addition to owing the largest Liberian owned hotel, he also owns the Atlantic Foods Company, which is the largest Liberian owned food & beverage company. With over 20 years of public and private sectors experience, Amin Modad is one of Liberia’s few trade development experts and postwar business success stories.
He has served as Liberia’s representative to the World Trade Organization, headed the multi-donor funded Enhanced Integrated Framework Program in Liberia, and served as Sr. Policy Advisor to the government of Liberia on trade and investment. He has played a key role in Liberia’s post-conflict recovery especially with regards establishing key economic policies and Liberia’s integration into the multilateral trading system.
Mainly staying in the background, he has been a long-standing supporter of the Unity Party. He has not only demonstrated success in terms of business, but also as an innovative technocrat and institutional builder. He has little or no political baggage; and, generational change can’t get better than this. Many see him as an assertive, well connected, and levelheaded leader who would bring refreshing credibility to the party and national political arena.
Madam Dabah Varpilah won as senior vice by obtaining 27 votes against Mr. Roland Giddings who obtained 20 votes. For the position of secretary general, Mr. Mo Ali won the Secretary General position with 24 votes against Amose Tweh who obtained 17 votes and Mr. Jacob Kabakollie obtained six votes.
The Challenge Ahead
Modad now faces a daunting task of bringing a new flavor to a political institution almost lost its salt since its defeat in 2017 elections that brought its major contender, the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) to power.
Also added to his task would be the uncompromising need to bring unity among members of the party and forge a common vision.
With the Unity Party being unarguably the largest constituent of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), Modad’s administration would be expected to amicably provide the leadership in the leadership of the CPP.
In the debate before the election, he told his fellow partisans that he is going to work endless to bridge gaps within the Unity Party, especially between the youth and the women groups.
Modad: “My vision rests on four pillars: unity, restructuring, rebranding, and re-visioning the party, recruitment of membership and sustainability of the party. We are on the side of unifying the party by bringing everything back and strengthening our counties structures. There is a total disconnect between the youth, the Women and this has to change I am developing a team and I will work with anyone who wins.”
The Call for Change & Unity
His predecessor, Mr. Wilmot Paye was suspended and subsequently expelled from the Party in January for unilaterally issuing a statement against a mass protest organized by the Council of Patriots and endorsed by the UP standard-bearer Joseph Boakai.
Paye was arraigned to face investigation for violating the party’s constitution, but he condemned the decision accusing former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Boakai, of plotting against him.
It was always in the public glare that Paye and former President Sirleaf had unsettled beef. Some political pundits tend to blame the lack of support from Madam Sirleaf to Boakai during the 2017 elections was due to his alignment with Paye.
In November 2019, Madam Sirleaf’s first meeting in two years at the Unity Party’ headquarters stirred up things within the party – she called for change in the leadership.
Madam Sirleaf was careful not to mention names, but she was bold in her call for a change of leadership of the party if the party must have genuine reconciliation. She, however, said the change is not about the standard-bearer.
Sirleaf: “There is no two ways about it, I am not talking about the standard-bearer but there got to be. You cannot go forward in a new day with the old ones, some of you may not like it, but it’s a statement of fact.
“There is a need for a change of order, a change of major commitment, and a change of ideas so that you can be able to claim the leadership in the collaboration.”
“My vision rests on four pillars: unity, restructuring, rebranding, and re-visioning the party, recruitment of membership and sustainability of the party. We are on the side of unifying the party by bringing everything back and strengthening our counties structures. There is a total disconnect between the youth, the Women and this has to change I am developing a team and I will work with anyone who wins.”Amin Modad, Unity Party Chairman-elect
Who Contested the election?
Tuesday’s mini-convention brought together 53 delegates. The delegates were members of the Unity Party legislative caucus, the county chairpersons of the 15 counties and elected and appointed members of the Party’s National Executive Committee.
Contesting in the election were Senator Conmany Wesseh, Amin Modad, George Wisner and Representative CB Bashell for Chairman.
Amose Tweh, Mo Ali and Jacob Kabakollie contested for the position of Secretary General and Roland Giddings Dabah Varpilah contested for the position of senior vice chair.
During a mini debate organized by the organizing committee, all of the candidates spoke similarly about rebranding the UP and making it vibrant. Candidate Varpilah was the only female candidate among the men candidates. She spoke to the conscience of delegates and played the gender sympathy by asking delegates to vote her for the sake of gender equity.
She further told delegates that she, too, has what it takes to be a senior vice chair of the Unity party. She promised to use her financial management capacity to rebrand the UP. “We are tired of our caucus member complaining of paying dues without record. Today is the time to liberate the women of this party.
“I have eight men contesting, I am the only woman who has come forward not that we don’t have qualified women, but we are kept at the back. The UP provided the first female President and we need a woman’s face on the party’s leadership.
For George Wisner, he has a long history of membership and commitment to the UP. According to him, when everyone thought that the UP was dead, he mustered the courage to stand against the “populist leadership “of President George Weah. “We want to continue to inspire the partisans and bring everyone together. We need to mobile the necessary human resource. It should be done on a partisan scale.
For Senator Conmany Wesseh, the oldest amongst the candidates who vyed for the position of Party Chairman, he said he would work with the party leadership to ensure that UP as a member of the CPP plays leadership role that will ensure that the CPP succeeds and as the engine and glue and not as just followers.
“I do not intend to tell you who I am because only few people will not know who I am. We are rebuilding the UP. We want to respect our legislators and help them become better Legislators,” he said.