The National Elections Commission or NEC has announced the nullification of the just ended bi-annual convention of the National Patriotic Party or NPP.
NEC Public Affairs Director Joey Kennedy said authorities of the NPP failed to adhere to procedures put in place for the conduct of the convention and that their failure to adhere to such policy render the commission no option but consider the convention nullified.
The electoral body added that it did not give any authorization to the embattled opposition National Patriotic Party to go ahead with its planned convention. It could be recalled that NEC upon hearing about the holding of the convention, advised the party to discontinue such planned convention on grounds the Commission is yet to complete an ongoing investigation into misunderstanding within the party’s leadership.
For months the party has been engulfed in leadership crisis between one group, headed by Randolph Cooper, calling itself interim leadership until convention, and the other by Cllr. Theophilius C. Gould. The interim group has accused the Gould’s leadership of overstaying its term of leadership, while the Gould’s group considered such interim body as being illegitimate.
NEC involvement in the NPP prolonged crisis follows a standoff amongst party officials, as the interim group had vowed to deposed the embattled leadership over prolonged stay. In order to resolve the long standing conflict within the NPP, the Commission recommended that the two conflicting sides nominate five persons each from which six individuals would be selected to serve as members of the interim leadership of the party.
The interim leadership of the party, according to the NEC’s decision, would be chaired by a neutral partisan who would be elected by both sides and further noted that in the event that the two sides fail to agree on any neutral partisan to serve as Chairman of the seven-member interim committee, the Commission will nominate a list of between three to five prominent Liberians who are not partisans of the NPP, from which the two sides would be required to choose a chairperson.
The seven-member interim committee would be required to take the NPP to convention in December this year in line with the party’s constitution. When NEC Jerome Korkoyah was contacted last evening; he denied that the Commission gave “authorization” for the party to go ahead with its convention, pointing out, “they are on their own.”
Cllr. Korkoyah said the only thing that the Commission can do is to advise them, which he said the commission did, but that if they elect or decide to go ahead contrary to the advice of the Commission it can do nothing to stop the party from holding such unauthorized convention.
Chairman Korkoyah said the best the party can do is to pay heed to the Commission, stating it is good to abide by the rules, instead of engaging in the holding of a convention that is not healthy for the party. However, officials of the party defending their action said it could not delay the holding of the convention on grounds that their partisans from across the country had gathered for such event and ahead of the NEC pronouncement and that a delay would have led to a serious financial crisis for the party.
The convention, however, went on Tuesday night under the cover of darkness with no NEC observers present. Several key officials including those from the Gould camp were absent. By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor -Edited by Othello B. Garblah