Queen Lawrence Vs. Democracy: A Guide To The Tension In Liberty Party
THE EARLY SIGNS OF TYRANNY
After our electoral defeat in 2017, there were deep divisions growing out of the second round politics that saw partisans torn between backing George Weah’s CDC or Joseph N. Boakai’s Unity Party.
To save the party, a process was designed to reconcile partisans and begin anew.
By Menipakei Dumoe, Contributing Writer
The late founder of the party, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine led a process in Lofa County that brought Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence to the helm as a political leader along with Senator Steve Zargo of Lofa County as chairman of the party. At that Lofa Convention, defects in the 2015 Constitution led to Harrison Karnwea and Ben Sanvee being passed over legitimately.
Strictly speaking, under the 2015 constitution, Harrison Karnwea should have become the Political Leader after Cllr. Brumskine decided to step down.
The overwhelming sentiment and the unwritten manifesto of the party in that period (2018-2019) was the reconciliation and repositioning of the party.
We started to witness an early move by Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence to concentrate power.
Several clashes ensued between her and Cllr. Brumskine, some of us who resisted the isolation of the founder of the party crafted the ‘founding father’ title cum handle.
We used that title to respond to Senator Abe Darius Dillon and others who insisted that Cllr. Brumskine had no constitutional role to play in the early coalition-building process that led to the formation of the CPP.
Remember when Liberty Party struggled to decide on who will represent her interest at high-level negotiations? Sometimes we had Sen. Nyonblee Karngar-Lawrence and Cllr. Brumskine shows up at programs to play the same role. This led to the question; who is the leader of liberty party?
This was when the woman who Cllr. Brumskine had considered a daughter and a successor started her quest for total power in the Liberty Party. Before his poor health, Cllr. Brumskine and his allies on the executive council resisted her power-grabbing moves.
The distinguished lawyer, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, fought hard and with the class to liberalize the party and institute a new culture of internal Democracy that would see the executive committee check the excesses of the political leader.
NYONBLEE LOSSES DICTATORIAL POWERS IN GBARNGA
The 2015 Constitution which was kept secret from most partisans had in it a dreadful clause; the power of the political leader to dissolve the National executive committee.
NEC members of the party walked chalk line and everyone had to bow to the whims of the “almighty” political leader.
As the reconciliation push continued, major party stakeholders impressed upon the Political Leader and the executive committee the need for Constitutional reform.
In January 2020, a retreat was held in Bassa of LP stakeholders at which a Constitutional reform committee was given a 45 days mandate.
COVID slowed things down but it picked up again in August of 2020 and was finalized in 2021 in Bong County at the Party’s elective Convention that elected a new corp of officers and adopted a new Constitution for the party.
This 2021 Constitution was made widely available to all partisans unlike 2015 one.
DILLON CALLS FOR DICTATORIAL POWERS
Although a review of meeting minutes from the convention recalls a motion by Senator Abe Darius Dillon to try and restore the dictatorial powers of the political leader as was provided for in the 2015 constitution, the move failed and progressive reform of the party took hold.
It is even more surprising that Senator Dillon is accusing his Chief of Office Staff, Martin Kulah who is also the LP Secretary-General of altering the constitution. Why would a man that has shown so much loyalty to Dillon take such an action? Martin Kulah helped Dillon win Montserrado twice within the space of 12 short months.
NYONBLEE AND DILLON PLOT A COUP
The pair that sidelined Cllr. Brumskine from his own party and governed the Liberty Party as they liked utilizing the draconian and undemocratic powers of the political leader were on their back foot.
The convention of 2021 had brought about a new era of decentralized power and the National executive committee or NEC had full powers consistent with democratic principles. The pair (Dillon and Nyonblee) worried how they would remain powerful in this context as they have very limited support internally.
After several trips abroad and many mid-night meetings, the two senators derived a plan to overthrow the will of Liberty Partisans as expressed at the Party’s convention in Gbarnga. They planned a constitutional Coup and have started the process.
DILLON DESIGNS ANOTHER LIE
They would claim that Musa H. Bility, the man who won the chairmanship on the white ballot in Bong County altered the constitution. The Montserrado County senator is reportedly the architect of the lie.
Their plot is simple but very powerful, they would exploit the CPP internal politics to get Unity Party and ALP backing in a propaganda war to discredit the legitimate constitution. The pair would use UP and ALP propaganda machineries to drum up support for Nyonblee in public opinion to lay the basis for a party coup.
What the pair forgot is that there are thousands of Liberty Partisans who have been watching them and are equally prepared to fight for their party. We will mobilize all the democratic forces within the party to resist the dictatorial machinations of Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence and her hand full of allies who want to take our party by tricks and schemes.
END OF PART ONE. WATCH OUT FOR PART 2!