Liberia: Internal Wrangling Hits Civil Society Group as Aggrieved Party Alarms over Delay In Induction of CSOs Council’s Officials-Elect

Members of several civil society organizations are calling for the induction of the newly elected officials of the National Civil Society Council of Liberia. The CSOs also called on its local and international partners to stop doing business with the ‘overstayed’ leadership of Madam Frances Greaves

Monrovia – Aggrieved party of the National Civil Society Council of Liberia has expressed dismay over the continuous delay of the council to induct its officials-elect to steer the affairs of the council for the next three years.

The National Civil Society Council of Liberia is a conglomeration of about 189 society organizations in Liberia.

The aggrieved party include representatives of several CSOs including 

Partnership for Sustainable Development (PaSD), National Human Rights and Budget (NHRBF), National Youth Movement, Gbarpolu County Civil Society Council, Maternal and Newborn Working Group and the Liberia Institute for Public Opinion (LIPO), among others.

Addressing a joint press conference on Friday, representatives of the group disclosed since the National CSOs Council’s elections in 2019, officials-elect are yet to be inducted due to the incumbent and losing party’s calculated attempt to continue their grip on power unconstitutionally.

According to them, the elections, held under the auspices of the Peace Building Office and the Governance Commission, and witnessed by the CSOs partners including Mercy Corps, and the National Elections Commission (NEC) were free, fair and transparent.

The group said it was astonishing that one of the defeated candidates, who happens to be the ‘overstayed’ outgoing Treasurer of the National CSOs Council of Liberia, Emma Youngor Boldoe filed a complaint days after the elections and while the winners were already being certificated.

“We are surprise about the emergence of an overnight complaint from one of the defeated candidates who is an outgoing treasure of the council under the leadership of Francis Greeves. The more compelling reason for our alarm and to question the motive of the complaint is that the alleged complaint was made four days after the ad-Hoc Committee conducted the election and announced results,” said the group in the statement read by Joseph N. Teah of the PaSD.

It continues: “As we look forward to the Ad-Hoc Committee, we are resolved to not compromise our urge to reawaken the true spirit of the National Civil Society Council of Liberia and call on all concerned parties to attach expediencies to making sure that our elected officials are inducted.”

Meanwhile, the group said the internal wrangling that has marred the CSO Council was the result of the outgoing leadership led by Francis Greaves, refusal to leave office.

According to them, despite Madam Greaves’ tenure expiring more than two years ago, she and her officials continue to hold on to leadership. 

Their continuous posture as the legitimate leaders of the CSO council is negatively impacting the council as donors have withdrawn their support until the power struggle is settled, the group stated.

It was against this backdrop, the group noted that the Peace Building Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Governance Commission intervene and set up an ad hoc committee to conduct an elections that will bring in legitimate leaders on board.

The elections were held in Gbarnga, Bong County in the latter stages of 2019 in which Loretta Althea Pope-Kai was overwhelmingly elected as Chairperson of the CSO umbrella body.

The group claimed that the past leadership of Francis Greeves (Chairperson) and Emma Youngor Boldoe (Treasurer) has embarked upon an effort to stall the induction ceremony in an apparent effort to continue their leadership at the expense of the mass civil society body of Liberia.

Madam Greaves could not be reached for response when contacted via mobile phone.

Meanwhile, the group has called on its local and international partners to stop doing business with Madam Greaves and the outgoing leadership. They also called for the intervention of the Peace Building Office and the Governance Commission to ensure a smooth transition. 

“We like to warn that, we the membership of the National Civil Society Council of Liberia will not sit and fold our hands and watch the democratic process and progress in civil society to be undermined,” they declared. 

“We will go to every length legally, within our reach to ensure the induction of our officials elect in the soonest. We are not ruling out the conduct of induction without the involvement of the past leadership. To this end, we like to use this medium to call on our national and international partners to not do business as with Madam Frances Greeves and Emma Youngor Boldoe Leadership.”