The ex-ruling National Patriotic Party or NPP says it will offer a word of prayer for its founder and former standard bearer, Mr. Charles Ghankay Taylor at a pending convention on July 24th in Montserrado County.
Mr. Taylor, a former Liberian President, is currently serving a 50 years sentence in a British prison after the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone convicted him on April 26, 2012 for “aiding and abetting” RUF rebels in Sierra Leone.
“Charles Taylor played a very important role in the formation of the party, and as usual, we will pray for him”, said Acting Chairman Randolph Cooper. He said NPP partisans feel very sad that Taylor is not around adding, “but we also realize that the party is bigger than Taylor; the party is not Charles Taylor and Taylor is not the party.”
When asked whether current officials of the party or former government officials are rejecting anything that would link them with the former Liberian President, he said for a long time people have been castigated for their association with Mr. Taylor, but “people also realize that there are good people in the NPP.”
Cooper claims the National Executive Committee of the National Patriotic Party, which is the highest decision making body within the party has mandated him to hold convention.
He said arrival time for delegates is July 20 -22; and registration will be held on the 23rd , while the convention will run from 22nd to 25th July at the party’s headquarters in Monrovia. At the convention several officials will be elected, including a secretary-general to replace the late Senator John Francis Whitefield of Grand Bassa County.
The former ruling party has been locked in leadership crisis for some time, with some aggrieved partisans besieging the party’s headquarters.
According to Acting Chairman Cooper, the tenure of National Chairman Theophilius C. Gould expired since December 2014, but he had perpetuated himself into power against the NPP’s constitution and wishes of majority of the partisans.
He added that the party contracted under former Chairman Gould because he drove everybody away.
Liberian political parties have been holding series of talks for merger ahead of the 2017 Presidential elections. Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine of the Liberty Party has stressed a need for a united opposition for 2017, while the main opposition Congress for Democratic Change of Senator George Weah has held talks both in Bong and Nimba counties. Weah was petitioned recently by the people of Nimba to contest for the Presidency.
But Cooper said the NPP would go for collaboration rather than merger. Asked whether the NPP was already in talks with any party, he said until the convention is held, he could not talk about any merger, adding, “decision on merger is with the National Executive Committee.”
However, he said as a politician, he thinks the party should collaborate with any party that shares strategies of the NPP, which include establishing a honest government and commitment to the people.
Cooper the strength of the NPP is it does not have a dominant standard bearer like the Congress for Democratic Change.
“We had excellent relationship with the CDC in 2011; Unity Party brought money; CDC brought votes so we went for the votes”, he concluded.