Reports from the just ended ruling Unity Party or UP convention in the central Liberia town of Gbarnga, Bong County say, there were heated exchanges between the outgoing standard bearer President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and outgoing party chairman Senator Varney Sherman.
Sen. Sherman currently faces bribery charges at the court based on a Global Witness report that he had bribed several officials of government including Speaker Alex Tyler to alter a mining law in favor of Sable Mining, a British company.
It all started when the moderator at the convention hall invited the Chairman emeritus Cllr. Sherman, currently indicted on multiple charges, to give report for his six years leadership. But Sherman moved to the microphone with neither a report nor a speech to deliver. Instead, he unleashed serious condemnation against the performance of the government of President Sirleaf, and warning delegates to be careful in electing leaders for the party.
Cllr. Sherman, who is facing trial before the Criminal Court ‘A’ at the Temple of Justice for alleged bribery, said the performance of the UP-led government is far below expectation thus, putting the party in a very difficult position for the impending elections in 2017.
He announced his support for chairman-elect, Wilmot Paye, Stephen Nuefville as vice chairman for interparty and National Elections Commission relations and Montserrado County Representative Henry B. Fahnbulleh as national secretary general, among others.
But President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who moderated last Thursday’s session in the morning at the Gbarnga Administrative Building, took the podium in an apparent angry mood and told the delegates that Cllr. Sherman’s comments were intended to undermine the electoral process of the convention.
She said the statement by the chairman emeritus effectively undermined the entire electoral process, noting that it was wrong for the national chairman, who had taken the party to convention to have announced candidates of his interest.
The President and standard bearer emeritus stressed that it would be a good thing for every delegate to be given an opportunity to vote candidate of his or her respective choice instead of to have been told who to vote for.
With these reactions by President Sirleaf, Cllr. Sherman could hardly sit comfortably on the platform as he frowned bitterly and became visibly unease. Notwithstanding, President Sirleaf pledged her unflinching support to Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, who was elected unopposed as standard bearer. She then urged all partisans of the Unity Party to go all out in making sure the Presidency is retained democratically.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor