The former ruling National Patriotic Party has been rocked by internal squabbles since the departure from the country of its founding standard bearer Charles Taylor. Even despite the ascendency of one of the party’s bigwigs, former First Lady Jewel Howard Taylor to the post of Vice President of Liberia, upheavals continue to dynamite the peace and order of that erstwhile ruling party. The chaos reached boiling point recently when a group of partisans met in Montserrado County’s capital Bentol and announced the deposal of its Chairman John Gray and Political Leader, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor. But before inks got dry on the pronouncement, the National Chairman, John Gray, took to the airwaves to rubbish the purported insurrection, describing the Bentol actions as the biggest joke ever told in the last century. The Analyst reports.
It is becoming clearer by the day that the internal fight within the ranks and files of the former ruling National Patriotic Party is showing no signs of ending soon, as one action by one group is opposed and quashed by the other. While legal battles rage between rival groups fighting for supremacy over one another, there have also been physical and militants encounters driving huge wedge in the harmony and peace of the former ruling party.
In yet another development, a group of NPP stalwarts headed by James Biney meeting in Bentol, Montserrado County, took a number of actions that included the expulsion of their standard-bearer, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor and the Party Chair, John Gray. However, the leadership of the party is not taking this developing lying down, describing it as lacking political and legal effect on anyone and on anything related to the NPP.
Speaking to newsmen over the weekend at the National Headquarters of the party in Monrovia, Acting National Chairman John Gray termed the Bentol gathering as “bogus” and the actions taken there were the “biggest joke of the century.”
He said, as far as he and the overwhelming majority members of the NPP’s National Executive Committee were concerned, the party is unscathed by the “bogus Bentol meeting” and that both he and Vice President Taylor still enjoy the full support and legal protection of the party and its members.
Chairman Gray said the leadership of the party was not aware of the Bentol meeting and that whatever went on or was done has got no bearing on the party or any of its members and leaders.
He said Biney and his cohorts were afoul with the Constitution of the party and needed to fall in line with the norms and standard of operating a viable and civilized organization.
“Both the meeting and its subsequent purported decisions are illegal; they are void and have no effect on anything and anyone,” Chairman Gray asserted further.
He called on all partisans of the NPP across the country not to be distracted by what he called the futile political maneuvering masterminded by the expelled Chairman, James Biney, who he said has “obviously become a political desperado”.
The NPP chairman, a former Grand Cape Mounty Senator and former Liberian Vice President, assured the Coalition Of Democratic Change of which the NPP is a constituent member and President George Weah as well as the international community that the NPP was embarking on sustained efforts to reunite its members so that they continue to support the ideals of the Coalition and, by extension, to meaningfully contribute the Government of Liberia and its Pro-Poor Agenda for Transformation and Development.
Some observers who attended described as “bizarre Bentol meeting” over the weekend would notice the conspicuous absence of bigwigs of the NPP and those of the Coalition of Democratic Change.
According to them, it was also of significant concern that not a single representative of the National Election Commission (NEC) was part of the Bentol meeting.
Some observers who attended the “bizarre Bentol meeting” over the weekend noticed the conspicuous absence of Big Whigs of the NPP and those of the Coalition Of Democratic Change. Also of significant concern was the absence of a representative of the National Election Commission (NEC) a reason for which others believe the news of the “expulsion” was stage managed.
Few weeks ago, the National Executive Committee of NPP led by Chairman John Gray alarmed that there were some hidden hands behind the unending crisis in the NPP, and that their intent was to undermine the authority and influence of the Standard Bearer of the party, Jewel Howard Taylor, who is also the vice President of Liberia.
The NPP at its day long Extraordinary Session in Bentol city, Montserrado County, over the weekend, in the absence of quorum and many of the key branded faces of the NPP were never seen at the extraordinary session. The likes of chairman emeritus, Chief Cyril Allen, Senators Sando Johnson, H. Dan Morais and Standard Bearer Howard Taylor were absent perpetually.
Prior to the decision, embattled Chairman Biney incited partisans to vote for the expulsion on grounds that the Madam Taylor intention of the NPP is to destroy.
Expelled National Patriotic Party Chairman Biney and a band of his followers, it was reported, has counter-expelled NPP Standard Bearer and Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor along with former Liberia’s Vice President John Gray, who was recently appointed to act as Chairman of the party under the National Congress of the party.
The Biney group claimed that their action is based on their adversaries’ alleged ‘grossly violating the party’s constitution’ and for bringing the party to what they called “public dispute.”
According to the Biney side of the NPP faction, they were expelling the two because they had allegedly gone against the party’s constitution and tried to bring division within the NPP and by extension the governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
The process of expulsion was seemed to be stage managed by officials of the Biney’s faction of the NPP through their program moderator, Mr. Eric Kennedy and National Treasurer, Mr. Rudolph Cooper who were seen as guiding partisans of how to vote and how to debate the expulsion argument.
Some reporters covering the Bentol Meeting of the NPP partisans observed that the delegates were individually seen having consultation with either Kennedy or Cooper before given the microphone to speak.
Delegates to the Bentol meeting also agreed that a communication be sent to President George Manneh Weah, telling him to “recall” the two expelled persons including Vice President Taylor a from their governmental posts, calling on the party to ensure employment opportunities for members, who are not in government.