President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf’s former Minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs Mr. Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan says frustrations he experienced in the governing Unity Party compelled him to leave the UP to take up membership with little known Victory for Change Party, VCP established by suspended Liberian Lawyer Marcus Jones.
Cllr. Jones, an ex-president of the Liberian National Bar, is serving five years suspension from active legal practice, slammed against him by the Supreme Court of Liberia. But the ex-minister, who initially served as Budget Director and subsequently Minister of Finance before moving on to become Minister of Foreign Affairs finally in the Sirleaf Administration, denied perceptions that he may have left the ruling UP because he was not the party’s choice for its standard bearer post.
Instead, he told talk show hosts on (Fabric Radio FM 101.1) on Wednesday, 26 October that one would have to evaluate if he belongs to an institution when his ability to find solutions to existing problems there is being frustrated.
“Now, in an institution, there are issues and there are solutions. Once you find out that your ability to find solution is being frustrated, especially in an institution, you must sit down and reevaluate whether that institution is where you belong,” Ngafuan said.
According to him, while in the Unity Party, there were issues, but there are “some battles you don’t want to fight,” and added, “you have to choose your battles.” “Even in government, ask my cabinet colleagues … I spoke my mind at the rise of things, you know.” He said he stood up for his rights everywhere, even with bullets “to our breasts,” recalling his [struggle] in the 80s and the 90s when people could not speak.
The ex-student leader recalled that in 2005 when he supported the Unity Party and served as spokesperson for its campaign team, he had not joined the party, then. He reiterated his intention to contest for the Presidency in 2017, maintaining that his presence in the little known Victory for Change would enhance the party’s strength.
He said based on his supporters’ advise against the proliferation of political parties, he finally decided to “take membership in the Victory for Change party,” on grounds that “it ascribes to our original vision of alignment and realignment.”
The 2017 presidential and representatives elections are flooded with the formation of parties amidst growing number of presidential aspirants seeking to battle UP’s standard bearer Vice President Joseph Boakai who hails from Lofa County as Mr. Ngafuan.
He suggested that people have been cross – carpeting in the political field here long before him, citing ruling UP’s standard bearer Vice President Boakai, a former member of the United People’s Party or UPP founded by the father of multiparty democracy in Liberia, the late Gabriel Baccus Mathews.
He added that even President Sirleaf “was originally a LAP member before she joined the UP,” while Mr. Musa Bility was recently a UP member, but now joined the opposition Liberty Party. At the UP, Ngafuan noted, “We were on course for the most part, “and that’s how the Liberian people gave the woman [President Sirleaf] new endorsement in 2011.”
The former minister says while he does not join or agree with critics, who argued that the current administration has not achieved much progress, he however believes that there would have been more progress.
“… And that’s what I tell young people around, if you have the ability to score a B or … an A, don’t settle for a B; although everybody will say yes, B is good grade. But push yourself to get the A because it is good for the country, if you maximized your potential – your full potential,” a somewhat tacit acknowledgement of critics’ views.
Continuing with his analogy, the presidential hopeful says he feels that “we” needed to fill that gap, with arguments that while somebody who scores F may be happy for a C, the one with the potential of scoring B must settle for a C, especially when you are endowed with special talent and you have the natural environment to be able to push yourself to reach the fullest potential.
By Winston W. Parley-Editing by Jonathan Browne