Liberia: ‘No UP Candidate, No Senatorial Election in Lofa’ – Joseph Boakai

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MONROVIA – Several hundreds of partisans of the former ruling Unity Party took to Monrovia’s streets on Wednesday in protest of justice for its aspirant Garlakpai Kortimai ahead of the May 10 by-election.

“If the National Elections Commission doesn’t accept our candidate there will be no by-election in Lofa County,” said Joseph Boakai, standard-bearer of Unity Party.

Kortimai’s participation is under serious threat after a faction of Liberty Party chaired by its chairman Musa Bility and the political leader of the Alternative National Congress Alexander Cummings requested the National Elections Commission (NEC) to forbid the Unity Party and the All Liberian Party – formerly of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) – to register candidates in their own names for the by-election.

The CPP under the signatures of Liberty Party and Cummings had complained that the UP and ALP who had exited the CPP, however, were not in accordance with the laid out procedure prescribed in CPP Framework Agreement, therefore, they should not be recognized by the NEC as individual political parties.

And this week the NEC said it’s prohibited from taking any further action on an endorsement from or other documents brought forth by defendants regarding the fielding of a candidate by Unity Party in the by-election after a period of hearing.

Boakai: No UP candidate no by-election

But Boakai described the process as flawed and a total miscarriage of justice, insisting that there will be no elections in Lofa County without the Unity Party’s candidate on the ballot.

He emphasized that the Unity Party will not accept a repeat of the Brownie Samukai scenario, after the Supreme Court prevented his certification for his failure to return US$ 1.1 million worth of stolen money from a government pension account.

“Let the word go forth that the Unity Party and the people of Lofa County have had enough and will no longer continue to be insulted, disrespected, and disenfranchised by the CDC Government of President Weah,” he said.

Boakai had made similar call to the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Liberia, Mr. Niels Scott, who paid a courtesy call at the party’s headquarters on Broad Street, Monrovia a day before Wednesday protest.

Mr. Scott, who has been in Liberia for over a year, said he was calling on the UP standard bearer for the first time to get acquainted and to avail himself with political developments and trending issues in the country from the UP’s perspectives. 

Boakai welcomed Mr. Scott to his office and informed him the party is being unconstitutionally challenged by the Musa Bility-faction of the Liberty Party and Cummings.

Boakai said it was a pleasant coincidence that the UN Resident Coordinator came to visit him a day before the Unity Party had already planned a peaceful march to present petitions to the international community and assured him that UP will use the due process in pursuit of its political mission and goals.

Looking forward to the 2023 Presidential and General Elections, Boakai said Unity Party will demand for a new Voters Roll and the use of a Biometric system to ensure a level playing field that will guarantee free and fair national elections, the best guarantor of peace and national reconciliation.

Boakai, who was Vice President for 12 years, then praised the cordial working relationships with past UN Representatives in Liberia, and said he looks forward working with Ambassador Scott.

Present during the meeting with the UN Resident Coordinator were high-ranking officials of the UP’s National Executive Committee and members of the UP Legislative Caucus, which included, the Chairman of the UP Legislative Caucus, Hon. Hassan Kiazolu, Senator Prince Moye, Hon. Clarence Massaquoi, Hon. Ben Fofana and other members. The Unity Party Leadership attending the meeting was represented by its Chairman, Mr. Amin Modad, Madam Dabah Varpilah, First Vice Chair, Mr. Isaac Manneh, Vice Chairman for Governmental Affairs, Mr. Mo Ali, Secretary General, Madam Selena Mappy, Chairlady Women Congress, Mr. Lansana Fofana, Chairman of Youth Congress, Mr. Jake Kabakole, Acting. COS, office of the Former Vice President, amongst others.

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