CDC appoints mediation committee for NPP’s crisis
By Bridgett Milton
The ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) has appointed a Dispute Resolution Committee to mediate lingering disharmonies within its constituent party, the National Patriotic Party (NPP).
Last week, violent clashes led to NPP, a former ruling party of imprisoned former President Charles Ghankay Taylor holding separate conventions at the Paynesville City Hall.
The conventions were held by factions of the NPP loyal to Liberia’s Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, estranged wife of Mr. Taylor, and the embattled chairman of NPP Senator James Binney on the other hand.
The CDC said in a statement dated 10 October 2022 that it’s National Executive Committee has appointed the Dispute Resolution Committee in consultation with the Governing Council.
CDC National Chairman Mulbah K. Morlu said the Special Mediation Committee is to fully investigate post-convention controversies alleged to have emerged out of the NPP’s 7th biennial convention.
He said the committee is to submit recommendations to the party’s leadership for a sustainable resolution.
Chairman Morlu said the committee is expected to report in 14 days, adding that by Tuesday, 25th October 2022, it shall deliver a full report in which recommendations accompanied by action plans, will be enclosed.
He, therefore, requested all parties to refrain from public comments that impugn the integrity of the investigative process or bring the party into disrepute.
Those appointed on the committee are Cllr. Charles Gibson, Chairman; Mr. Moses Y. Kollie, Co-Chairman; Henry Fahnbulleh, Secretary; Prof. Wilson Tarpeh, Member; and Sen. Richard Devine, Member.
Others are Cllr. Edward K. Goba, Member, John T. Richardson, Member, Madam Lydia Nimley, Member, Mr. Jefferson T. Koijee, Member, Garbla V. Williams, Member and Madam Reginald Sokan-Teah, Member.
On Friday, 7 October 2022, Vice President Howard-Taylor snubbed a Supreme Court order that mandated the NPP Chairman James Biney and Secretary General Andrew Peters to hold the party’s convention.
She reportedly dedicated to herself the responsibility to hold the convention, leading to the violent clashes.
The NPP’s 7th 7th Biennial Convention was held in compliance with the mandate of the Civil Law Court, which adjudicated the prolonged leadership conflict within the former ruling party.
Eyewitnesses said it all started when supporters of VP Howard-Taylor attempted to force their way into the convention hall after being denied to do so due to lack of convention passes.
The Vice President in return was said to have ordered officers of the Emergency Response Unity (ERU) of the Liberia National Police to take siege of the gate to allow her “unaccredited” supporters into the convention hall.
This was met with stiff resistance from the Biney faction of the NPP leading to a dog fight inside the convention hall.
Following nearly an hour of intense dog fight among faction members, calm returned but that calm was short lived as violence erupted again.
This prompted the VP Howard-Taylor’s faction to conduct its convention outside the Paynesville City Hall with Emmanuel Lomax as chair of the elections commission.
Lomax said votes were taken and a decision was made to render all positions in the party vacant, allowing each of the partisans to contest.
“We the delegates attending the 7th Biennial Convention of the NPP do hereby declare the vote as a block to individual names attached for elective positions,” he said.
“We delegates have proffered this resolution and secured signatories of two-third majority votes of the 638 delegates … to give legal effect to any decision at this Convention,” he added.
Naming the officials elected, Lomax said Madam Jewel Howard-Taylor was elected NPP Standard Bearer; Cllr. Stanley McClain, NPP National Chairman; and Morris Paye, NPP Secretary General, among others.
After the VP Howard-Taylor’s group left the hall, the Biney faction also proceeded with its convention too, thereby retaining the Maryland County Senator Biney as National Chairman.
Biney’s challenger Abraham Masseley had withdrawn from the race.
However, partisans went ahead to elect George S. Mulbah- Vice Chairman /Administration, Daoda Metzger- Vice Chairman for Operations, Charlyne A. Taylor- Vice Chairman for Gender Affairs, John A. Siaway -Vice Chairman/ Planning, Policy and Research and Dopoe Menkarzon- Vice Chairman/ Special Project.
The rest of the elected executives are Thomas G. Goba- Vice/ Finance and Investment, Sylvia Z. Taylor- -Vice/ Social Services, Allison Barco -Vice/ Governmental Affairs and Randolph C. J. Cooper – National Treasurer.
Upon their elections, Mr. Biney in discharging his first major task appointed a 16-member coalition framework review committee to look at salient issues in the agreement that bounded the party to an agreement signed by the Congress for Democratic Congress (CDC), the Liberia People’s Democratic Party (LPDP) and the NPP during the 2017 election.
The 16-member committee is headed by Cllr. Abel Momodu Massaly and Dr. Agnes Reeves Taylor as Co-Chairperson while Atty Allison Barco is the Secretary-General.
Others on the committee are Samson Wiah, Albert Quenah, Charlyne A. Taylor, Dopoe Menkazon and other eminent partisans.
The convention conducted by the Biney faction also mandated the National Executive Committee of the Party to conduct conventions for the National Secretariat and other leaders with 6 years of tenure across the country.
Early signs of the convention experiencing some hitches popped up during the preparatory stages of the event when the party could not raise money for the initial budget of USD100K meant to cater to 638 delegates from across the country.
Those hitches were said to have prompted the party to take a decision on September 4, 2022, at NPP’s national headquarters to reduce the number of persons on the list to 301 persons, according to the Biney Faction.