At long last former President Charles Ghankay Taylor’s ex-ruling National Patriotic Party or NPP goes to convention this Thursday, February 18, in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County with invitation extended to three parties from the opposition bloc, including Senator George Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), businessman Benoni Urey’s All Liberian Party (ALP), and Speaker Alex Tyler’s Liberian People Democratic Party or LPDP to grace the convention.
Two of the political bedfellows – NPP and CDC collaborated in 2011 against the governing Unity Party of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, but they lost the polls, while businessman Benoni Urey’s ALP and Speaker Tyler’s LPDP are new parties on the block, Mr. Urey supported the CDC both morally and financially during that elections..
The conglomeration in Buchanan this week speaks volumes of what to expect as politicians and political parties form alliances here and there in what some described as marriages of convenience ahead of the 2017 presidential and representative elections.
The ALP political leader Urey was a major financier of the CDC in 2011, but fell out with the party and left to form his own party, while Speaker Tyler resigned from the governing Unity Party in 2015 to establish the LPDP.
The NPP says over 150 delegates from all 15 political subdivisions of Liberia are expected to converge this Thursday in Buchanan to elect a set of leadership that would take the party to elections next year in compliance with instructions from the National Elections Commission or NEC.
The party had been engulfed in serious leadership battle, leading to a split right in the middle with one group led by Cllr. Theophilus C. Gould and another faction headed by businessman Randolph Cooper.
The Cooper-led faction accused the Gould leadership of staying in power beyond its constitutional tenure and therefore, organized a convention that elected Maryland County Representative James Biney, as chairman of the party.
But the National Elections Commission nullified that convention and accordingly considers the Biney leadership as an interim administration, pending a full national convention that would involve all contending parties.
The selection of the three opposition parties have been strategic allowing highly placed NPP sources. They say this could be the beginning of a collaborative discussion-something that could turned the table in favor of the opposition. But the million dollar question is whether any merger or collaboration will hold till 2017.
By Jonathan Browne