The governing Coalition for Democratic Change, CDC which encompasses (Congress for Democratic Change, National Patriotic Party and Liberian People Democratic Party) primary in Harper City, Maryland County has come under protest. The CDC has named former Representative James P. Biney, as its senatorial aspirant for the county amid serious protest by incumbent Maryland County Senator, H. Dan Morais.
Senatorial aspirant James Biney is Ex-lawmaker of Maryland County and National chairman of the National Patriotic Party (NPP), an offspring of jailed former President Charles Ghankay Taylor’s disbanded National Patriotic Front of Liberia rebels.
But Sen. Morias, also an executive member of the NPP, recently filed a complaint to the National Elections Commission and took along with him the framework document that seals the marriage of the three parties into a Coalition, arguing that as an incumbent senator seeking reelection, he supposed to be the automatic choice of the Coalition in accordance with its framework. He argued that what was conducted in Maryland County is a Congress for Democratic Change primary, not a NPP primary.
The petition is still before the NEC, awaiting hearing. Morias notes that once the issue is before the electoral body, there should be nothing like primary conducted in Maryland County by the Coalition “because when a case is under investigation, you don’t act until decision is reached.”
Addressing a news conference Monday this week in the county, Senator Morais said, he doesn’t regard the primary because the National Priority Party had already elected him to re-contest on the party ticket in the December 8, 2020 midterm senatorial elections in all 15 counties of Liberia.
According to him, the Coalition signed a framework document that unites the NPP, LPDP and the CDC, explaining that the document clearly states in Article (3x) that an incumbent who goes to the Coalition with his or her seat shall be given preference to said seat in an election. However, he claimed this was never adhered to, and a primary was conducted in Maryland County.
Senator Morais continued that he thoughts the National Patriotic Party would have done such an arrangement, but it was unfortunate that the NPP didn’t do so, noting that the entire process in the country was allegedly micromanaged. He said the primary was like something personal because other partisans of the ruling Coalition expressed that he never supported the candidacy of now President George Manneh Weah, in the 2017 election.
He claimed CDCians consider him as an enemy, but noted that that argument has been debunk by those spreading it because an institutional decision was made in the Liberian Senate in 2017 prior to the presidential election.
He said, senators met and agreed that the Senate would have produced the next President of Liberia after Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the choices were between former Vice President and former senate president, Joseph N. Boakia and then Senator George Manneh Weah.
According to him, out of a total of 30 senators, 18 or majority decided to ex-vice president Boakia and as an individual, he has no regret for joining the 18 senators to support Boakai for the presidency.
Although his support for the former VP seems to now pose a serious embarrassment for his reelection bid, but Morias maintained that the decision he took was in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia that gives right to every citizen to associate freely, something which he says warrants no punishment.
The Maryland County Senator disclosed that some his colleagues senators who were in the forefront during the 2017 Presidential and Representative elections, campaigning for former Vice President Boakia against the CDC, are now enjoying preferential treatment in the Coalition.
He name Grand Kru County Senator, Dr. Peter Coleman, Senator Henry Yallah of Bong County, and Lofa County Senator George Tengbeh, among others who are currently on the Coalition tickets for reelection.
Senator Morias argues that if these senators, who vehemently campaigned against CDC have been endorsed by the Coalition to vie on its tickets why he is he being denied such opportunity as an incumbent Senator and executive member of the NPP.
“We are not so concerned about party ticket because we know what we have done for our people [who] have given us assurance that we can win this election without coming on the Coalition ticket but we want it to be known to the people that this county is about law, not about men”, he underscores.
He said though the primary was conducted in the county but lawyers representing the CDC allegedly denied primary was held in Maryland; something, which he says the NEC Presiding Officer over the case has reserved ruling in the case and promised to recall both parties.
The senator added that the filing of his petition to NEC is just the beginning, because he has an alternative if there were any negative results from the NEC hearing board, to either take an appeal to the Supreme Court of Liberia. “I can assure that I wouldn’t rest until the court interprets the document”, he vows.
He says partisans of the National Patriotic Party have been crying wolf but it is not CDC’s fault, but rather, the NPP because its members have torn themselves apart instead of demanding what is theirs.
The NPP seems to be split at many fronts for the impending senatorial race. In its standard bearer, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, is bitterly opposed to the Coalition choice for Bong County, incumbent Senator Henry Yallah. There are reports that VP Taylor prefers incumbent Representative Prince Moye for the county’s senatorial seat.
But Charline Taylor, daughter of jailed former President Charles Taylor publicly lifted the hand of Sen. Yallah recently in Gbarnga, Bong County, as the Coalition candidate clearly against Madam Taylor’s reluctance.
By Patrick N. Mensah, Maryland County–Editing by Jonathan Browne