MONROVIA-The embattled Political Leader of the Liberty Party (LP), Senator Nyonblee Karngar Lawrence is said to have gone far in concluding discussions with Musa Bility and Mr. Alexander Cummings to go as running mate to Mr. Cummings, sources knowledgeable to the discussions told this paper over the weekend.
“Discussions between Senator Lawrence and the ANC have advanced to a good level. She is a good candidate, despite all that have happened, we think they can settle their political differences,” the source who declined to be named said.
The Grand Bassa County Senator and Mr. Musa Bility have been in legal battle for over one year for the political Chairmanship of the Party. The Leadership crisis deepened and ended up at the Supreme Court; which ruled in favor of Mr. Bility on April 12, 2023.
With the ruling, Mr. Bility’s faction expelled Madam Lawrence urging the public not to do business with her.
Prior to the ongoing discussions, Senator Lawrence was expected to go as running mate to Hon. Joseph Boakai, of the Unity Party (UP). Rather, Senator Jeremiah Koung was selected. This angered Senator Lawrence who urged her supporters to await the next course of action. The ANC is yet to have a running mate.
“We have had a series of discussions with her on the way forward,” the source added.
Another source could not confirm nor deny some of Senator Lawrence’s preconditions to her acceptance.
Senator Lawrence is said to have made two key demands; reinstatement and retractions by Mr. Bility and cash of half a million united states. The source refuted the allegations that Senator Lawrence made financial demands.
But another source said: “These are not any difficult demands. Cash is not a problem for Mr. Cummings. Her reinstatement is not a problem at all. But if these are correct, then, she has recognized the legitimacy of Mr. Bility and succumbed to his leadership of him as well.
It can be recalled that after the Supreme Court’s ruling, the party issued an external memo to the National Elections Commission (NEC), all political parties, and the international community warning against doing business with Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence as she is no longer the Political Leader of the Liberty Party.
As an expelled official of the party, she in 2022 appealed to the Supreme Court to invalidate her expulsion on the basis that the LP National Executive Committee did not have the authority to expel her.
“The recent SC Ruling explicitly addresses this matter by declaring the LP National Executive Committee is the body clothed with the authority to manage the affairs of the Party. Additionally, her tenure as Political Leader has expired since October 2022,” the Bility External Memo stated.
The memo comes in the wake of the Supreme Court handing down its final ruling in the Petition for a Writ of Certiorari in the case Musa Hassan Bility and others of the Liberty Party (Appellees) vs. National Elections Commission, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence and Emmanuel Azango (Respondents), declaring the Liberty Party (LP) Constitution filed at the National Election Commission (NEC) and the LP Leadership duly elected and inducted at the January 2021 LP Special National Convention in Gbarnga.
“We kindly inform you that Sen. Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence is no longer the Political Leader of the Liberty Party (LP). Sen. Karnga-Lawrence was expelled from the position of Political Leader in March 2022 and appealed to the Court to invalidate the expulsion on the basis that the LP National Executive Committee did not have the authority to expel her because the LP 2021 Special National Convention that voted the National Executive Committee into leadership and the Constitution that came out of that Special National Convention were both illegitimate. The recent SC’s Ruling has explicitly addressed both matters by declaring that both the LP 2021 Special National Convention and the resulting Constitution are legitimate and that the LP National Executive Committee is, constitutionally, clothed with the authority to manage the affairs of the Party. Additionally, as per the LP Constitution, her tenure as Political Leader has expired in October 2022,” the Memo furthered.
The issuance of the External Memo also followed a Saturday, April 15, 2023 Press Statement from the Liberty Party National Chairman informing the public of the SC ruling and reiterating the party’s call for reconciliation and charting the way forward together, while urging all members, both home and abroad, to refrain from making public statements and holding events, in the name of LP, without the authorization of the National Executive Committee, as this would not only be illegal but would only serve to further the divide and render reconciliation futile.
However, subsequent to the issuance of the Saturday Press Statement, the Liberty Party in an updated Press Statement issued Sunday, April 16, 2023 said it had learned that Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, former Political Leader of the LP, held a public meeting in the name of LP in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County on April 15, 2023 and informed the attendees that the LP battle was not over.
“Also, during this meeting, Sen. Abraham Dillon referred to the SC Ruling as not legitimate and engineered and called on the people of Bassa to disregard it because they would be “King Makers” in the 2023 elections, while Sen. Jonathan Kaipay informed the audience that this was the beginning of a “coup” that would be led by Sen. Karnga-Lawrence, supported by them, called on all Bassa people to join.
“These despicable utterances are a clear indication that these individuals are resolved in keeping the disunity going within the LP, have no interest in reconciliation, and will go to any lengths to achieve their mission. LP has maintained throughout that the false accusations which led to this long-drawn-out legal case has never been about the sanctity of the LP for these individuals but, rather, has always been about garnering absolute power under the Constitution for the Political Leader position in order direct the LP towards supporting their personal interests in the upcoming 2023 Presidential and General elections. Now that the initial plan has failed, they are resorting to rallying “Bassa solidarity” under the false and malicious perception that others in LP are against Bassa people being in leadership in Liberia. No longer being able to keep their masks on, their utterances today has exposed their real motives and intention which is their desire to use the LP, not as a political institution to bring about change in Liberia, but rather as a vehicle to create the and use tribal sentiment to rally the Bassa vote. Not only does this go against the very essence of true leadership, but it also goes against the LP founding principles of inclusion and diversity of all ethnic groups in Liberia, virtues that the Founding Father, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, fought tirelessly to achieve.
“The LP hereby issues a stringent warning to individuals to desist from the continuing use of the LP name unauthorizedly, especially in light of the SC Ruling. Be warned that LP will take advantage of any and all remedies available under the laws of the Republic of Liberia to ensure compliance with this.
“Notwithstanding, the LP will not allow the actions of these individuals to thwart its efforts at reconciling the Party and reiterates its call for all partisans wanting to move the Party forward to join hands and do so. The doors are, and will remain, open to all who share our Party’s vision.
“We ask, therefore, that you please refrain from conducting business pertaining to LP with anyone other than the National Executive Committee, under the leadership of Mr. Musa Hassan Bility,” the Sunday Press Statement indicated.
After Bility’s party statement, Senator Lawrence also held a press conference in which she made these remarks.
She said, Liberty Party made a “big” blunder by electing Mr. Musa Bility as party chairman.
She continued that Bility’s election to the position as a Party Chairman was now considered one of the biggest mistakes that ever made. “We submit that indeed a mistake that makes you humble is better than an achievement that makes you arrogant. As the Leader of our beloved party, I stand here today, humbled, and sad and want to say sorry; sorry for putting you all through all this trauma, frustration and sleepless nights. I take all the responsibility. We have had sleepless nights as a team strategizing, blaming one another at some point, and even shutting down for days to reflect.”
“We all have fought the hardest, we all have stood together, and we all have supported the process in many ways. We are not discouraged and we are not tired fighting because we know that we are on the right side.”
“We are here today to tell you that this fight is not against only us, but the entire Country, and it’s not just about Musa Bility and his team fighting us, but every other power against our national growth. Why? Because we lead the base that will influence the 2023 elections, we have a team and base that do not compromise, we have a team and base that have integrity, we have a team a base that will never take money against the future of our people we have a team and base that mean well for Liberia,” Lawrence said.
Meanwhile, the Senator has accused the Supreme Court of not addressing the substance of the case, saying the signature of an Associate Justice who had recused himself at the hearing on the ruling is troubling.
“It is troubling when the courts cannot act on what’s before them out of fear that justice will jeopardize selfish political aims and objectives of agents and their benefactors that they favor. All of these actions are a recipe for chaos and disturbances in a Country that needs to focus its attention on good governance and peace building mission.”
This paper made series of calls to Senator Lawrence followed by text messages to confirm nor deny, but she did not respond. Also, the Secretary General and media relations officer were called to speak but to no avail.
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