-Amidst Hints And Allegations; Charges And Counter Charges; Fmr. President Sirleaf Once Called for Change In Leadership; What Next?
Once considered as the ‘fearless’ Secretary General and Chairman of the then governing Unity Party (UP) Wilmot Paye, has been removed from his position with immediate effect.
The removal of the once vocal Chairman of the UP is being considered by political pundits and some Liberians as a ‘crucifixion’ despite taking some ‘political bullets’ for the party.
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Unity Party on March 4, 2020 unanimously voted to remove Mr. Paye from his position as chairman of the party.
In a statement signed by the National Assistant Secretary General for Press, Publicity and Outreach, Mo Ali said, the removal of Mr. Paye was a result of recommendations made by the Special Investigative Committee established by the NEC to investigate actions and decisions taken by Mr. Paye that contravened the party’s constitution and brought to question the reputation of the party locally and internationally.
According to the statement, the party has informed partisans and members of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) that Mr. Paye is no longer chairman of the party.
The UP has meanwhile mandated the Vice Chairman Isaac Mannah to continue to act as chairman and in consultation with the leadership in leading the party to extraordinary convention within a period of two months.
The Wilmot Paye of UP:
During his days as Secretary General of the UP, Paye was ‘fearless’ and ‘bold’, and could engage any of the party’s executives once the moral of the party comes in conflict and was willing to defend to all extend.
He occupied the position as Secretary General from October 2010 to 2016. Paye was elected on July 8, 2016 as chairman in Gbarnga, Bong County after taking from now Grand Cape Mount County Senator Varney Sherman.
Under His Watch As Chairman:
Under his watch as Secretary General of the UP, the Unity Party won her second term in 2011 winning more legislative seats from across the country.
The party was later defeated by the governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) in 2017 when two terms Vice President Joseph NyumaBoakai was now its standard bearer following the expiration of the constitutional tenure of then President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Mr. Paye and other stalwarts of the party resisted the arrest of Cllr. Varney Sherman by state security officers after being alleged of taking bribes from Sable Mining, a UK based mining company to change the concession laws of Liberia.
It was reported that the former Chairman and then political leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf were not on good terms during her last years in office as president of Liberia.
Former President Sirleaf, Others Expelled:
It was during the administration of Mr. Paye that the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Unity Party expelled former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and other members of the party.
According to the NEC at that time, the former first partisan was expelled for reportedly meddling in elections in which its candidate, former Vice President Joseph NyumaBoakai was defeated by George Weah of the governing CDC in 2017.
The former President was expelled along with Patrick T. Worzie, then UP deputy secretary-general; River Gee County Senator Conmany B. Wesseh, a stalwart of the party and his wife, Medina Wesseh respectively. However, madam Sirleaf denied the accusations of meddling in the 2017 elections.
Expelled Officials Reinstated:
After series of claims and counter claims over the legitimacy of the expulsion by the NEC, the expelled officials including Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf were reinstated prior to the removal of Mr. Paye from his post.
Madam Sirleaf is said to be on record of telling the Liberian people that her weakness as human being is ‘forgiveness’.
Political pundits and other Liberians perceived that the reinstatement of madam Sirleaf and others was ‘extremely dangerous’ for Mr. Paye.
It was predicted that madam Sirleaf would do everything in her power to see the exit of Mr. Paye and others who fought for her removal, a prediction that others see as a victory for madam Sirleaf and others.
Madam Calls For Change In UP’s Leadership:
The former UP political leader once told a local daily in November 2019 following their reinstatement from expulsion that there was a need for change in leadership in the party , although she wasn’t particular.
According to Frontpage Africa at that time, madam Sirleaf said “there is no two ways about it, I am not talking about the standard-bearer, but there got to be. You cannot go forward in a new day with the old ones, some of you may not like it, but it’s a statement of fact.”
“There is a need for a change of order, a change of major commitment, and a change of ideas so that you can be able to claim the leadership in the collaboration,” Madam Sirleaf once told FPA.
Paye at that time responded by saying “We cannot make party decision that would affect a whole nation on sentiments; when we get to 2022, we will discuss the need for change.”
Boakai Admitted To Blame by Association
The quietude of the former President in openly supporting Vice President Boakaiin the 2017 presidential elections was reportedly blamed on his close relationship with Wilmot Paye, Cllr. Varney Sherman and others perceived as ‘haters’ of madam Sirleaf.
Speaking on the Costa Show following the elections, Mr. Boakai said “I am guilty by association; that is the only crime I have committed against my long-time friend Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. My association with Cllr. Sherman and Party Chairman Wilmot Paye, who won the chairmanship on white ballot, is the only crime I have committed.”
The removal of Mr. Paye has received mixed reactions from the public especially from political pundits who think that it is calculated plan to remove him because of his stance on issues and said he is being ‘crucified.’
According to them, this might be a demand from madam Sirleaf and others because if they must support Mr. Boakai for the impending 2023 elections or get any political support as current political leader of the Unity Party.
What Next for Wilmot Paye?
However, there are more curiosities as to his next destination as fearless politician who understands the political terrains of the country.
Political pundits believethat discussions are reportedly ongoing in the camp of the governing CDC for Mr. Paye to join them; while the ANC of Alexander Cummings is said to be secretly lobbying taking into consideration the ongoing reported rift in the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) ahead of the October 2020 senatorial elections.
Meanwhile, there is also report that other members of those parties are afraid because of the nonsense style of Paye and joining them might be another ‘thunder sounding’ from their end.
But judging from side talks across all gatherings since his removal from his post as chairman, Liberians are seriously wondering and eager to know the next destination of Mr. Paye who his removal is perceived as a ‘crucifixion’.
Now, the undiluted love has come to a painful end for Wilmot Paye who was prepared to take some of the bullets for the sake of his party at all cost. Mr. Paye has not made any official comment since removal by the NEC.