NPP prepares for convention, but…
As mandated in the recent ruling by the Hearing Officer of the National Elections Commission (NEC), the ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP) has appointed an 11-member Convention Coordinating Committee to take the party to its long-awaited 7th Biennial Convention.
The NPP, currently a member of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) took the decision here in a stalwart meeting held on Friday, April 1, 2022.
The gathering, initially designed to be a stalwart meeting, brought together hundreds of jubilant partisans from all 15 political subdivisions (counties) who converged on the party’s National Headquarters on Old Road, amid chants of thunderous battle cries and other party revolutionary songs and slogans.
Those appointed on the Committee are Nyudueh Morkonmana, Cllr. Lavela Supuwood, Francis Menwon, Rev. George Taylor, Jacqueline Toe, Janet Sumo, Askia Cornneh, George Yeeplah, Robert Bear, Dennis Walker, and Edward Garmah.
But a faction of the NPP has described the action of the bearer as illegal and has planned a National Executive Committee meeting this week to take a decision on the unfolding.
In a statement signed by Andrew Peters, NPP Secretary General, the party said the meeting which has been scheduled to take place at its National Headquarters will take a look at the illegal actions of the Standard Bearer and other partisans on April 1, 2022, at the Party Headquarters.
The NPP leadership notes that decisions emanating from said illegal forum do not represent the view of the party and are not binding. Thus it says it’s of no effect.
The leadership also calls “on partisans and NEC members to remain calm as it will use all legal means available to deal with the current lawless behavior being carried out by partisans herein mentioned above.” The statement added.
The Hearing Officer of the NEC recently ruled that Senator James P. Biney’s leadership of the NPP has expired and is without legitimacy.
The NEC at the same time appointed former House Speaker Nyudueh Morkonmana to cause the hosting of a stalwart meeting of the NPP for the purpose of constituting a convention coordinating committee that will lead the party to its 7th Biennial Convention.
According to the NEC ruling, Partisan Morkonmana’s selection was based on a careful review of the records available at the Commission, his independence, and public records.
The NEC further mandated that the stalwart meeting must be opened to all interested partisans, including the parties involved in the actions; and that Partisan Morkonmana is further mandated to submit names of members of the Convention Coordinating Committee to the Political Affairs Section of the Commission within twenty-one working days as of the rendering of the ruling.
Thomas Plauto et al of the National Patriotic Party (NPP), on November 30, 2021, filed a six-count complaint with the Elections Commission, alleging constitutional breaches by the outgoing Chairman James P. Biney and others, as well as attempting to manipulate the list of delegates intended for the planned 7th Biennial Convention to have been held in Gbarnga, Bong County.
The complainants (petitioners) also claimed that procedures for the nomination of candidates to be elected to various positions were not followed; and that Respondent Biney, who had registered as a candidate to be re-elected chairman of the party, has appointed a convention committee, naming himself as the chairman of said committee.
The complainants (petitioners) presented in all of their submissions and arguments that the Respondents (Biney and others) have lost legitimacy to govern the NPP, neither are they qualified to take the party to a convention by virtue of the expiration of their tenure to rule.
“While we agree with the Respondents (Biney and others) on their argument of the law (NPP Constitution) which requires that the chairperson shall preside over all meetings and conventions, we wish to also remind the Respondents of another provision of the same constitution which requires that the party proceed to convention in four years for purpose of electing new officers. The party’s constitution must be considered in a holistic manner. One cannot be in violation of one provision of the law and enjoy rights provided under another provision. Respondents (Biney and others) cannot enjoy constitutional protection to take the party to convention while at the same time violating the provision Which protects their rights to enjoy tenure,” the NEC ruling emphasized.
Former Speaker Morkonmana, to the effect of his appointment by the NEC, had made a passionate plea to all stakeholders of the NPP to rally around him for a successful holding of the 7th Biennial Convention.
Meanwhile, speaking at the meeting over the weekend, NPP Standard Bearer and Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, called for unity and urged partisans to keep the “pepper bird flying above all else, the people.”
VP Taylor emphasized the politically-strategic role the NPP currently plays in Liberia, and reminded partisans of the glorious days ahead if all agreed to chat the course of unity, hard work and discipline.
For his part, Mr. Morkonmana thanked fellow partisans for honoring his call from all walks of life, thus demonstrating that the NPP will remain together and strong.
The selected names will now be submitted to the National Elections Commission as mandated in the ruling, for further actions and decisions. Editing by Jonathan Browne