Months ago, the news of a political merger among the Liberia Action Party or LAP, Liberia Unification Party or LUP and Unity or UP was broken to the public. According to leaders of these political parties, the merger was against the back drop of the commonalities of visions and objectives shared by these three institutions.
Reducing the number of political parties in Liberia was also cited as one of the reasons for this political marriage, which dates back as far as the mid-19980’s when the three parties entered into a coalition following the 1985 general and Presidential elections which brought the Late President Samuel Kanyon Doe to power.
Come May 6, 2010, LAP and UP will be in the commercial city of Ganta in Nimba County without LUP, to formalize this merger with incumbent President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf already chosen in the absence of a national convention as the Standard Bearer. Why we may want to discuss the political objective of Ganta as the venue, the LUP factor of the Unity Party merger must first be approached.
The Ganta merger convention will be taking place at the same time partisans and the new leadership of LUP headed by Acting Chairman John Kerkulah Cooper and Acting Secretary General Francis A. Yalapah, will be leading other executives and thousands of partisans to an extraordinary convention in the central Liberian town of Gbarnga to re-assess the party’s activities, structure and interim leadership pending the national convention before the 2010 general and presidential elections.
The suspended Chairman and Secretary General, Issac Mannah and Cleteus Sieh will also be in Ganta to join LAP and UP. Unfortunately, there’s this confusion as to who will these two individuals actually be representing considering their suspension from the party.
Chairman Mannah and Secretary General Sieh, since the 2005 elections, have been secretly conducting the affairs of the party outside the knowledge of the general membership, giving the impressions to the Leadership of the ruling Unity Party and Standard Bearer, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf that they were the only voices of LUP.
Many partisans are said to have received news of their party’s entry into a merger with the Unity Party with the highest degree of dismay, owing to the fact that there were no communications, including documents to substantiate the news. They kept everything secret until the Gbarnga meeting of the UP in February, following which other officials of LUP, including the Vice Chairmen and other officials rejected the decision of Mannah and Sieh as unilateral and selfish.
Of course at the center of this conflict is Cleteus Sieh, who has already been suspended along with Chairman Isaac Mannah for betraying the cause of the party. One thing that is most puzzling about this unfortunate situation in LUP is the encouragements given such rapacious political behavior of Sieh and Mannah by President Sirleaf.
The fact that she has continue to accept these fellows as the only leaders of LUP without reference to the executive committee and other senior partisans, President Sirleaf has her share of the embarrassment the Ganta convention faces. All the new officials and partisans of LUP need to be cognizant of is the unity which should continue to prevail among them.
It is expected that under-ground movements and maneuverings are on-going for the current leadership to reconsider its decision to boycott the Ganta convention.
But again, the executive committee and partisans of LUP must also be reminded that if President Sirleaf and other lobbyists of the Unity Party did not engage them at the start of the clandestine activities of Mannah and Sieh, their present behavior towards them is only to buy them over for the Ganta Convention.
May LUP partisans be cautioned that “a gift from a wicked man at the eleventh hour is a trap.”