The progressives are getting their acts together for 2023, as the aged-old Liberian People’s Party (LPP) elects presidential hopeful Cllr. Tiawan Saye Gongloe, as its standard bearer, to take the party to elections.
Cllr. Gongloe succeeds Dr. H. Boima Fahnbulleh, Jr., another towering figure, who led the party to several successive elections.
Gongloe was elected on white ballot in Gbarnga, Bong County during convention on Friday, September 16th.
The LPP had held its congress in Monrovia on May 6th, 2022 and elected its Chairman, Yanqui Zaza and Secretary General, Leon Talery, amongst other party officials.
“Now that the Party leadership is in place, the critical task of building and growing its organs and membership can now commence,” said party leaders, ahead of the 2023 legislative and presidential elections.
The Liberian People’s Party was established in 1983, nearly 39 years ago. However, it was banned in 1985 by then Head of State Master Sergeant Samuel Kanyon Doe under the People’s Redemption Council (PRC) military junta.
The junta did everything to crush the progressive intelligentsia with Master Sergeant Doe determined to lead the country and refusing to return to the barracks as he had promised on the morning of April 12, 1980.
The military regime banned the LPP for fear that it would have won the polls, which came on the heels of the late Dr. Amos Sawyer for Mayor Campaign, and the popularity of the progressive forces that saw the Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL) under the leadership of the late Gabriel Bacchus Matthews, a champion for multiparty democracy in Liberia and his United People’s Party (UPP) enjoying massive grassroots support.
In many ways, pundits say the PRC arbitrarily derailed the electoral process by stealing the vote and harassing progressive leaders, who were either chased out of the country or silenced, as Doe and his henchmen did everything to solidify their grip on power.
The LPP originated from the Movement for Justice in Africa (MOJA) while PAL gave birth to the UPP.
Meanwhile, progressives are excited about the 2023 presidential and legislative elections, as they are fielding a grassroots personality as standard bearer, a man of integrity, Cllr. Gongloe, who has made corruption a central issue of his presidential bid.
Inside sources note that he is the only aspirant, who has volunteered to lead the LPP.
According to media officer Weah Karpeh, the former Bar Association President has distinguished himself both in the public and private sectors and has promised to transform the country based on rule of law.
He cuts across every political, cultural, regional or religious divide with a commitment to respect the rights of all Liberians, a track record that Mr. Karpeh says “is there to be vetted.”
Cllr. Gongloe is running on a resounding campaign message, pledging to revive the economy by putting agriculture, health, and education at the top of his agenda in what he has dubbed, “The Better Liberia Agenda” which is anchored on transformational change for prosperity.
His supporters claim that it is his clear progressive agenda and desire to help change the country’s historical narratives that positioned him as the leading opposition candidate for 2023.
Gongloe has been described as a transformational “public servant.” He is the first Solicitor General since the independence of Liberia in 1847 to have appointed college-educated lawyers as county attorneys in all 15 counties of Liberia, thereby improving the protection of rights and prosecutorial powers of the Government of Liberia.
As Minister of Labor under the Sirleaf administration, Gongloe issued Regulation Number 17, which increased work permit fees for non-Liberian residents from US$400 to US$1000, compelling foreign employers to hire more Liberians rather than non-citizens.
His most recent leadership role at the Liberian National Bar Association speaks for itself, as he left the Bar solvent with over US$100,000 in its coffers – money that was generated in a three-year period, even though that enviable body was in severe debt when he took over.
The former Bar President constructed the first floor of a three-storey headquarters of the LNBA, currently under construction along the Robertsfield Highway in Margibi County.
He also drafted the Decent Work Act while serving as Minister of Labor and submitted same to the presidency. The presidential hopeful recently pledged to, if elected, govern in line with best practices and strengthen law enforcement, while prioritizing manufacturing with the aim of creating employment for jobless youths and the population at large.
The LPP convention comes at a time when Liberians are looking for a clear substitute to lead the nation with level-headedness.
Gongloe has, therefore, offered to fill the gap created by bad leadership and restore Liberia on the path to prosperity.
“The main issue that has been keeping this country backward is corruption, and it exists because of the lack of respect for the rule of law, human rights, and total lack of patriotism and nationalism,” he says. Editing by Jonathan Browne