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Protest rocks UP retreat

The just ended retreat of former ruling Unity Party (UP) witnessed huge protest by some youthful partisans on 7 April at the Buchanan City Hall in Grand Bassa County, with demands for the resignation of Chairman Wilmot Paye.

The protesters are accusing Mr. Paye of being a major contributing factor that led the party to lose the 2017 Presidential election to the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), a former opposition establishment.

As chanting of battle cry intensified in the hall where the party was hosting the retreat over the weekend, UP’s Executive Committee had no option but to invite the protesters for a dialogue.

UP featured former Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai and former Speaker Emmanuel James Nuquay as standard bearer and vice standard bearer respectively in the 2017 polls.

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But the ticket was defeated by CDC’s George Manneh Weah and Jewel Howard – Taylor at a runoff conducted in December, ending the UP’s 12 years rule under former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf.

The protesting UP youths carried placards with different inscriptions as “Wilmot Paye is the cause of our defeat”, “We’re tired with Paye’s leadership, he’s a total failure and embarrassment”, “Paye must leave or be removed by compel compliance”, and “Paye has brought huge disunity among us”, among others.

In a two – page petition statement, the protesters led by Godwin Wiah under the banner “Partisans for Justice and Fair Play and the National Militant Brigade” claimed that Chairman Paye is reportedly creating more division in the party then bringing partisans together.

They are alleging Mr. Paye’s failure to properly manage the 2017 elections, leading to the massive defeat of the Party, accusing the party official of not being financially disciplined.

The protesters are claiming that Mr. Paye’s leadership lacks innovation to reunite partisans since the last national congress that brought him on board as national chairman of the party in July 2016.
In the midst of these allegations, the UP protesters say the only option they have for the party’s progress is to see the back of Chairman Paye from the headquarters of the party.

Meanwhile, when contacted on Monday April 9, the Assistant Secretary General for Press and Public Affairs of the party Mr. Mo Ali confirmed the information.

Mr. Ali said the protest is among other issues that were submitted to a 15 – member special committee headed by Senior Partisan Roland Layfette Giddings to look into and report to the National Executive Committee on Friday this week.

Mr. Ali says the retreat was intended for the party to establish what led to the defeat and how the Unity Party can make a comeback in future elections.

Meanwhile, Unity Party invited a Ghanaian trained elections specialist Mr. Peter Mac Nanu who lectured the party on the process producing positive result while serving as opposition especially, a party that has just left power.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Edited by Winston W. Parley

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