The National Election Commission (NEC) is expected to give its final ruling today Monday, 18 March in a case between two opposing factions of the former ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP).
A faction of the NPP loyal to Vice President Jewel Howard – Taylor has been battling against another faction that backs dethroned party chairman Mr. James P. Biney before the NEC through the last five months.
Mrs. Taylor’s faction of the NPP removed Mr. Biney from the chairmanship of the party in 2018, but in retaliation the later and his loyalists conducted a convention in which they also announced the removal of Mrs. Taylor as NPP’s political leader.
This prompted a complaint before the NEC which has been heard by the electoral house over the past months.
Final ruling into the hearing by the NEC follows the presentation of witnesses and documentary evidences into claims and counterclaims by rival factions.
There is a question over who is the legitimate leader of the party which the NEC is expected to answer, and this may determine the party’s next course of action.
It can be recalled that the Biney faction of the NPP held an extraordinary session in Bentol City, lower Montserrado County during which it expelled the party’s former Standard Bearer, now Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor.
While taking this decision, the Biney faction of the NPP also requested the Government of Liberia to remove from offices all officials nominated by the Taylor faction of the NPP to serve in the Coalition Government.
The NPP is one of three parties that make up the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led – government.
Among witnesses testifying before NEC are expelled party chairman James Biney and his rival Mr. John Gray, a onetime Vice President of Liberia.
Both men are also former lawmakers who entered the Legislature on the NPP ticket.
In preparation for the 1997 elections here, the defunct rebel faction National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) reorganized itself into a civilian political party known as the National Patriotic Party (NPP).
Imprisoned former President Charles Ghankay Taylor ran for the presidency on the NPP ticket and won.
Following his departure from Liberia, Mr. Taylor’s estranged wife Vice President Taylor became NPP’s political leader before being picked by President George Manneh Weah as his running mate in the 2017 presidential elections which they won.
By Emmanuel Mondaye –Edited by Winston W. Parley