Liberia: Partisans Of Former Ruling Party Stage Protest Over Reported Disqualification Of Aspirant Lassana Fofana

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Gbarnga, Bong County – Some partisans of the former ruling Unity Party (UP) in their large numbers Wednesday protested against the alleged disqualification of the incumbent Youth Chairman of the party, Lassana  Fofana, after his name was reportedly removed from the final listing of candidates vying for elective positions at the ongoing convention in Gbarnga.

Our correspondent, who moved around the venue of the convention, observed that police patrol vans, manned by armed policemen, were stationed at strategic locations at the convention

Armed with placards bearing different inscriptions, the protesters thronged the Gbarnga Administration building – venue of the convention – chanted protest songs and displayed various placards to buttress their arguments against the incumbent chairman Amin Modad’s alleged decision to influence the disqualification of Fofana on allegations that he’s above the required age to contest as Youth Chairman.

A loyalist of Fofana told our reporter: “There are reports that our candidate Melvin Cephas has been disqualified from contesting as Youth Chairman of Unity Party over allegations about his age. There will be no election until aspirant Cephas is qualified to contest. We strongly feel this is a ploy by Chairman Amin Modad to disqualify our candidate for his preferred choice.”

Modad, however, couldn’t be reached for comments, but the chairman of the election commission of the convention, Lofa County Representative Clarence Massaquoi, told reporters that the controversies surrounding Fofana’s age will be addressed before delegates go to the polls to elect news officials of the party Thursday.

“There is a complaint from aspirant Melvin Cephas about Lassana Fofana’s age. Once the investigation is concluded we will get back to the press,” he said.

“This is a political gathering, and I expect contestation from both parties but it doesn’t mean the outcome of the convention will be influenced by what’s being witnessed here today. This is a mere party fuss. The dust will be settled once we meet in-house.”

“This event is not a new thing in our great party. It is expected that when we hold such a big event, like the national convention, we make sure we have a befitting outing.”

Rep. Massaquoi promised that the exercise would be hitch-free. Over 300 delegates are billed to elect the standard bearer, chairman, secretary general, and other top officials that will lead the party beyond the 2023 presidential and legislative elections.

Modad, Ali face daunting re-election tasks

Meanwhile, incumbent chairman Modad faces a tough re-election bid amid a series of allegations ranging from “regime collaborator” and “not being a grassroot partisan.”

A faction of delegates have accused Modad of being a protege of Nathaniel McGill, the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, who’s also a confidant of President George Weah. “Modad is being protected at this convention by people believed to be members of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change. How can we elect such a man as our chairman,” one delegate told FrontPageAfrica.

Another delegate said: “Electing Chairman Modad would be stamping our approval for the re-election of President Weah because he’s no more one of us. He’s a regime collaborator.”

Modad, who refuted the charges as baseless, is being challenged by Rev. Luther Tarpeh, who joined the party few months ago. Tarpeh may seem new to politics, but a survey conducted by FrontPageAfrica amongst delegates at the Gbarnga convention put the odds in his favor. FrontPageAfrica has gathered that elites of the party are said to be pushing for Tarpeh’s preferment, having reportedly met the consensus of the standard bearer of the party, Joseph Boakai, who is poised to win unopposed.

Another elite member of the party facing a tough re-election is Mohammed Ali popularly known as Mo Ali. Ali is being heavily challenged by another popular figure in the party, Amos Tweh for the position of Secretary General.

As at the time of this report, Ali and Tweah appeared to be neck-to-neck in convincing delegates ahead of today’s election. 

Like Modad, Ali faces a lot of allegations regarding his loyalty to the party amid claims of his strong bond with some top-notch officials of the ruling establishment.

But Ali has slammed those allegations as “cheap propaganda” being fuelled by the ruling establishment.

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