Consolidation of political structures within the proposed Collaboration of Political Parties seems to be gaining proper steam with every able-bodied Unity Party stalwart joining hands on deck to ensure a victory for the grand Collaboration during the December 2020 special senatorial elections and the pending 2023 presidential and general elections. The move to solidify party structures within the CPP ahead of these crucial elections has led many pundits to speculate about the recent visit of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf at the headquarters of the Unity Party to reportedly attend a National Executive Committee meeting. But as The Analyst has gathered, Madam Sirleaf’s visit, though later highly politicized, was accordingly a formality briefing to “her colleagues” that, though she is no longer actively involved in party politics, she remains at their beck and call to meet and listen whenever the opportunity avails itself.
Briefing the media following her visitation at the Unity Party headquarters in Congo Town, Madam Sirleaf said she had agreed to meet with her colleagues of the Unity Party who had asked her to meet with them.
“My colleagues asked me to meet with them, for them to say that all is well; that they are working together, they are unified. We had a meeting with the Unity Party but I was very clear and they know it; that I am no longer involved in active partisan politics. I have major global obligations. I am working for the peace, development, empowerment of women in other nations of the world. So all I can do is that I am a Unity Partisan; so they can talk to me any time. They say they want meet with me, I will meet with them, but I am not involved in active politics anymore,” former President Sirleaf averred.
The aftermath of Madam Sirleaf’s media briefing had created a social media uproar with people taking sides about the rationale of the former president saying she’s no longer interested in active partisan politics, when in fact she is widely seen as standard-bearer emeritus of the former ruling party which still has huge chance of clinching victory especially within a reinvigorated Collaborative framework.
On the opposite pole are critics who contended that Madam Sirleaf is no longer relevant to the Liberian body politics, especially after the simmering bad blood that erupted within the Unity Party after the 2017 presidential and general elections. In the middle is a group of Unity Party stalwarts who are bitter over the idea of non-partisans meddling into the internal politics of the party.
Musa Bility’s middle-of-the-road take
Making sense of the whole rigmarole is gasoline and petroleum product business magnate Musa Hassan Bility who is no stranger to the quirky world of Liberian politics. A staunch stalwart of the opposition Liberty Party, Mr. Bility would later jump ship and throw in his support behind the Coalition for Democratic Change that whipped former Vice President Joseph Boakai’s Unity Party in the second round of the 2017 presidential elections. Now a key decision maker within the opposition CPP that rallied around Liberty Party stalwart Abraham Darius Dillon winning the Monsterrrado County senatorial seat in 2019, Mr. Bility is cautious how the Unity Party handles the issue of former President Sirleaf.
According to Mr. Bility, partisans of the current Unity Party should beware of resuscitating the “EJS vs UP/JNB” debacle of 2017, which could mean another rendezvous with the crossroads – either to celebrate or vilify.
“The first mistake is to think that mistakes were made by only one side. How does it benefit members in the “United opposition” that also includes UP to attack EJS? Is the “United opposition” still supposed to be engrossed in the 2017 flawed transition politics for which we all are responsible in one way or another? The world is messy. There are ambiguities. This idea of purity and ‘you’re never supposed to make mistakes and be forgiven for it’, and ‘you’re politically weak and all that stuff’ – people should get over that quickly and focus their energy on how to move on. I believe EJS and the UP need to have an honest discussion about yesterday and agree on how to move on. A weak UP makes the opposition one pillar weaker,” cautioned Mr. Bility.