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UP executives divided over protest

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Three former Representatives and stalwarts of former ruling Unity Party (UP) are questioning a decision by the party’s chairman Wilmont Paye, committing the UP to a planned protest due June 7.

A press statement dated 8 May names the founding UP executives questioning Paye’s pronouncement as Worlea Saywah Dunah; Richard Matenokay Tingban and Elijah Seah.
As founding executives of the Unity Party, the press statement says the UP stalwarts are taken aback by the actions of Chairman Wilmot Paye in using his offices to commit the party to work under a political pressure group Council of Patriots (COP) that is seeking to express its grievances on some national issues.

The Council of Patriots is leading efforts for a planned June 7 protest recently endorsed by Liberia’s four collaborating opposition political parties, including the UP, Alternative National Congress, All Liberian Party and the Liberty Party.

Allegations of corruption, the poor state of the economy and a US$25m mop – up exercise are among many other reasons why opposition and critics of President George Manneh Weah’s regime are saying they will protest and make demands for some reforms here.

The three UP stalwarts say what is of concern is whether this pronouncement to commit the party to the protest called by the Council of Patriots was approved by the party’s standard bearer, vice standard bearer, UP Legislative Caucus and the total membership of the National Executive Committee of the party or done in consultation with key stakeholders of the party.

The three UP stalwarts indicate that it’s worthy to note that President Weah on separate occasions hosted their current political leader Joseph Nyumah Boakai and their Standard Bearer Emeritus, former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf at the Executive Mansion on May 1, 2019, and May 3, 2019, respectively.

According to them, President Weah’s action to invite the Unity Party leaders reflects his desire for continuous dialog with the Unity Party and a recognition of Unity Party’s role as the main opposition.

The former UP lawmakers call upon the party’s political leader Joseph Boakai, to urgently cite a broad leadership and stakeholders meeting of the party and include all founding executives, Legislative Caucus, former legislators including former Senate Pro-Tempore Cletus Wortorson, and the current National Executive Committee Members to deliberate on this matter and other recent political developments that are impacting the party.

The group recommended that discussions be held on the party’s decision including Chairman Paye’s announcement of support to stage a protest on June 7; the indefinite suspension without investigation of the party’s stalwarts in the Liberian Senate; the commencement of a process of participating in a coalition without broad consultations among founding executives, auxiliaries, membership, and the case at the National Elections Commission over the expulsion of Standard Bearer Emeritus, Mrs. Sirleaf and other executives.

They further suggested that the Unity Party that consolidated the peace and laid the foundation for Liberia’s democratic growth must lead from the front, ensuring that the ultimate national interest supersede all else.

“The eyes of the world are on the Unity Party and rightly so, because we provided the midwifery for the entrenchment of Liberia’s nascent democracy and we therefore owe its survivor the greatest duty of care,” they concluded.—Press release

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