The former ruling Unity Party (UP) says it is optimistic that a deal will be reached among the collaborating opposition political parties to put up a stronger fight for 2020 and 2023 respectively. The party also dismissed rumor of an internal conflict saying its reconciliation process is on course.
UP Chairman Wilmot Paye told the New Dawn via telephone interview Monday, January 20, 2020 that the party is focused on its reconciliation process and is building on the commitment of members who see the UP as their common vehicle.
Following the 2017 presidential and legislative elections, the former ruling party was embroiled in an internal bickering, which saw the suspension of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and other officials who were deemed close allies of hers.
The matter was brought before the National Elections Commission (NEC) which ruled in favor of President Sirleaf and others. However, current party standard bearer former Vice President Joseph Boakai and chairman Paye took an appeal to the Supreme Court. Nonetheless the case was soon withdrawn a year later following a reconciliation meeting between the both parties, led by Mrs. Sirleaf on one hand and Mr. Boakai on the other.
Paye says the reconciliation process entails individual commitment, mutual respect and seeking of the common good for each other, while the party remains the common vehicle that drives them all.
He denied reports that there is currently a bad blood between himself and party standard bearer Joseph Boakai, adding that they have been on good terms and that there is even a planned meeting of party officials in days.
Mr. Paye described the media report of a brawl between he and former Vice President Boakai as the work of distractors who want to exploit the gains being made within the party by creating an artificial conflict to ride on.
He said he is not surprise that such reports are coming at the time when there is a pending mid- term senatorial election in October of this year.
Mr. Paye argues that the UP is a party which has held its members together even when the naysayers predicted its collapse in 2011 and 2017. “UP has always had a number of issues but has surmounted the challenges,” he bragged.
The firebrand UP Chairman intimated the most important thing is that as an official of the UP what matters most to him is integrity saying “Politics and opposition should not make us to act differently from what we believe in. Our (foremost aim) is how to transform the governing system of our country irrespective of political party affiliation, ethnicity and religion.”
On the collaboration talks, he said it is fair to say with confident that the party is in conversation with other opposition parties including the Alternative National Congress (ANC). He said his is to propagate the UP interest.
He denied speculations that he was unilaterally driving the party towards the ANC. “I don’t know of any such idea”.
However, despite these speculations, Mr. Paye said the UP will not contradict itself. “I am very optimistic that there will be a collaboration to consolidate and this will make our politics competitive.”
He indicated that he will be happy if the UP can produce the standard bearer for the collaboration but it’s too early to say. However, he said the party will be willing to work around whatever arrangement to the opposition bloc will arrive at.By Othello B. Garblah