Liberia: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Calls for Change of Leadership in the Unity Party


MONROVIA – Thursday’s meeting at the Unity Party’s headquarters was quite unprecedented. Such had not happened in about two years because bloods were boiling. Yet, the former standard-bearer, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, opened another Pandora’s box – she wants a change in leadership at the party.

Report by Henry Karmo, [email protected]

The meeting brought together former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the current standard-bearer, Joseph N. Boakai, who during his quest for the presidency in 2017 disclosed that Madam Sirleaf, to whom he served as Vice President for 12 years, did not support his quest.

But the pair buried the hatchet a fortnight ago, agreeing to set the pace for genuine reconciliation within the party.

The face-to-face meeting between Madam Sirleaf and Mr. Boakai paved the way for Thursday’s executive meeting in which the former standard-bearer did not mince her words.

Need for Change

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.

EJS: “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.”

In response to Madam Sirleaf, the party’s chairman, Wilmot Paye, said the change in the leadership of the party would happen at the rightful time.

He said, “We cannot make party decision that would affect a whole nation on sentiments; when we get to 2022, we will discuss the need for change.”

But the former President had the backing of the current Deputy Speaker of the House, Prince Moye, who is an executive member of the party. He described Madam Sirleaf’s call as “honest”, stating that “In as much we are the biggest opposition if we are not seen stronger together, it weakens our strength in any collaboration.”

“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.”

– Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former Standard Bearer, Unity Party

I will not be inactive Politics

During her return to the headquarters of the Unity Party since the lifting of her expulsion by the party after the 2017 elections, Madam Sirleaf said she would not be involved in active party politics because of her current portfolio.

The Unity Party former standard-bearer promised to remain a UP partisan and called for partisans to reconcile with each other with open hearts.

“I want everyone to know that I will no longer be engaged in active partisan politics. That does not mean I will not have a say. It does not also mean I will not recognize good politicians but you will not see me in campaigning or promoting any particular individual in anyway because my activities don’t allow it.

“The source of my prize don’t allow and I cannot afford to lose that source of my prize because it is the only real source of support that I have but also from my own thinking and commitment I also know that deep in my heart I have done my share and I am proud of the success we have had and I also know that deep in my heart, you got to know that when it is time to let go.”

Boakai call for reconciliation 

Recently upon his return from the US, UP current political leader of the former governing Unity Party (UP), expressed fear that the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) would lose public support if it does not resolve its internal wrangling and remain committed to its objectives.

“The time has come when we must bite the bullet, bury the hatchet, and reach out to those whom we feel have hurt us. We must do so not because we are weak, nor because they are indispensable to our progress, but because we must, as people of faith in God and in nation be willing to give each other a second chance for redemption,” he said.

The former Vice President spoke Monday when addressing the press on his recent visit to the United States where he attended the Convention of the Unity Party Chapters in the Americas.

The CPP, a conglomeration of opposition political parties, has in recent times been shaky with some members of its members publicly disagreeing on with strategies, leadership and threatening to back out. 

The CPP was birthed in order to have a united force defeating policies of the government that is not in the interest of the masses and also to collectively unseat the Weah-led government in the next election.

The CPP comprises of the former ruling UP, Alternative National Congress (ANC) of Alexander B. Cummings, All Liberian Party (ALP) of Benoni Urey, and Liberty Party (LP) of Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence.