Liberia: UP’s New Faces – How The Old Were Wiped Out, How the New Arrived and Prospects for the Future
GBARNGA, Bong County – After months of intense politicking among partisans, the opposition Unity Party (UP) on Saturday elected new officials that would pilot the affairs of the party for six years, with Rev. Luther Tarpeh emerging as the new National Chairman.
Tarpeh defeated Amin Modad, while Amos Tweh won as National Secretary, at the expense of Mo Ali. Dabah Varpilah and Cornelia Kruah-Togba won unopposed as Senior Vice Chair and Vice Chair for Inter-Party and NEC Affairs respectively.
Former Bong County Superintendent Selena Polson-Mappy defeated former Monsterrado County lawmaker Josephine Francis for the position of Chairlady, National Women Congress, while Whroway Bryant clinched the position of Vice Chair for Membership, Mobilization and Recruitment.
Margibi County representative Ben Fofana is the party’s new Vice Chair for Governmental and International Relationships, defeating Curtis Dorley.
Rev. Tarpeh told journalists following his victory Saturday. “I want to thank the Unity Party delegates for a peaceful election in Gbarnga, Bong County. Now that the election is over, we must unite to move our party forward,” he said.
“The next 15 months are very crucial. I want to personally thank former chairman Modad for congratulating me on the occasion of my ascendency as the new chairman of the party. I appreciate your personal contribution to the growth and development of our party under your leadership.”
In his address, Joseph Boakai, who won unopposed as standard bearer of the party, warned the new leadership to guide against the imposition of candidates ahead of the 2023 presidential elections.
The UP standard bearer further charged party leaders not to indulge in backstabbing. He called on aggrieved party stalwarts to bury their hatchets and work in concert towards ensuring the victory of the party in the oncoming general elections.
Given the many shifts and controversies over candidates’ registration fees ahead of the much-awaited convention, not a few people had feared the convention will end without leaving the party fragmented and brutally bruised.
But by noon on Saturday, when the three-day event ended, it was clear that the feared disintegration was pretty far from happening, despite early protest by aggrieved partisans over the reported disqualification of Lassana Fofana, a candidate for the position of Youth Chair of the party, for being “over-aged for the position.”
But the convention was preceded with heaps of intrigues, shenanigans, and outright mischief. Some of them are discussed below:
Did Boakai plot Modad and Ali’s Defeat?
There were many things that can be described as oddities of the recent convention.
Chief among the oddities were allegations against Modad and Ali of being “regime collaborators” by some delegates of the convention, including Lofa County representative and an ally to Joseph Boakai, Francis Nyumalin.
Though Modad and Ali denied all the allegations, the Lofa lawmaker was emphatic about his support to Modad during an altercation Friday outside of the venue of the convention.
“For me, I won’t vote you because of the way you behaved to our party during the conduct of the by-election in Lofa. For you to have left the standard bearer in Foya, and went to sleep in Voinjama, I think it was a big mistake you made.”
“It didn’t show that you cared for the standard bearer.” The campaign against Modad and Ali is said to have paid off, particularly with the reported involvement of the standard bearer against their re-elections.
FrontPageAfrica gathered that Boakai organized a meeting with some delegates at Passion Hotel, where he had lodged, to announce his support for Tarpeh.
Ali blames Boakai for defeat
What may be a surprise to many is Ali’s snub of Boakai in his appreciation post. In a detailed post lauding the newly elected leaders, Ali wrote: “Congratulations to partisan Amos Tweh for his election as National Secretary General of our great Unity Party. Like I said during the debate, our commitment remains with the institution and our goal remains 2023. We will not waiver in our quest to ensure that a more formidable UP wins in 2023. We trust the ability of the new leadership and we trust they will do all they can for our victory.”
“I also congratulate our Chairman elect, Rev. Luther Tarpeh. Our partisans have spoken and we must all abide. This is democracy. Over our one year 10 months service, we brought so much life to the party and achieved a lot together. We were able to advert so many catastrophes that would have effectively ended the existence of our party.”
“Cornelia Kruah-Togba, Whroway Bryant, Ben Fofana, James Yolei, Christian Cooper, Emmanuel Kunneh Wreh Farr, Collins Tamba, Selena Mappy, Edmund Forh Forh, Gayduo Zayzay, Frances Wright, Valerie Williams, Patience Randall, Nene Chieyoe, Simi Will Kuitay, Amb Evans Boima Tuku and all the other winners, I say a big congratulations and I am super proud of you all. Dabah M. Varpilah, you are the mother on the team and I want to congratulate you for this super big victory. Now let’s go and get Cape Mount in 2023.”
Days after conceding defeat to Tweh and promised to work with the new leadership “to move the party forward”, a two-minute leaked audio has surfaced on Ali, in which he accused Boakai of plotting his defeat. “The oldman has reportedly said I am supporting the CDC that’s why he wasn’t going to support me.”
Boakai’s final journey
Last Friday, Joseph Boakai matched nearer his ‘life-long ambition’ when he won the standard bearer. Boakai’s emergence as standard bearer unopposed bespeaks of how deep and calculated the party strategies were. The result speaks volumes.
But having won as standard bearer, he would yet have one more river to cross, and that would be the October 2023 presidential election.
The former vice president remains optimistic of winning the presidential elections 2023. He declared that voters’ anger against President George Weah in 2023 would prevent him from rigging the elections.
Boakai said many citizens are furious, but they are silent about their disapproval of the president, and are waiting for the right time to strike back.
“A lot of people are disgruntled but keeping quiet and lying low,” he said. “Our people are suffering terribly and now they are being sold into slavery.”
“Everyone knows my track record of inviting and attracting a good team and giving them the opportunity to work professionally. Liberians are tired of leaders who cannot think big and work big,” he added.
He said defeating President Weah will be a cakewalk for the Unity Party in 2023 because citizens themselves “want change”.
Boakai said President Weah has become politically weak after squandering the goodwill Liberians accorded him during the 2017 presidential elections.
“I will definitely beat him this time. He has wasted a lot of his massive goodwill,” Boakai said.
Boakai said he would be ready from day one should Liberians elect him president in 2023.