Bility Wants NEC End Nyonblee & Others’ Violations -Says ‘Illegal’ Group in LP Must Be Brought to Book

MONROVIA – In the wake of the alleged numerous “violations” perpetrated by the estranged Liberty Party (LP) Political Leader, Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, and other party stalwarts loyal to her cause, Liberty Party’s National Chairman, Musa Hassan Bility, on January 31, 2022 filed a complaint to the National Elections Commission of Liberia (NEC) requesting the electoral body to immediately conduct an investigation into the matter of violations to ascertain the merits of their complaint; determine and impose appropriate sanctions for the violations, including imposition of appropriate fines; enjoin these individuals complained to immediately cease and desist from any recurrence of these action in the future; enjoin these individuals to cease and desist from using the Liberty Party name and insignia in any public pronouncements purporting to be in the name of Liberty Party; impose such additional remedies as are necessary and appropriate to ensure compliance; and grant unto the Liberty Party any and all further relief deemed appropriate under the circumstances.

The strongly-worded LP letter to the NEC stated in no uncertain terms that even though the Commission had already ruled that the LP Constitution currently filed at the Commission is the official and valid Constitution of the LP, unless successfully challenged by a court of law, several individuals not pleased with the Commission’s ruling have decided to ignore the ruling and continue to commit acts of violation.

According to the LP press statement from its National Chairman Musa Hassan Bility, during the LP January 2021 Special National Convention, the Party elected new Officers, and that, in accordance with the LP Constitution, the Party appointed several Eminent Persons to its National Executive Committee (NEC) and National Advisory Council (NAC).

“As such, these Officers remain the official and only persons authorized by the LP Constitution to represent LP in any manner,” Bility maintained.

Mr. Bility went on to say that even though the LP suspended 17 of its party stalwarts with the proviso that they don’t have the authority to speak or act on behalf of the party until they meet the required obligations, on December 11, 2021 the suspended LP Political Leader, Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, during a Press Conference, without any legal of constitutional reliance, announced that the LP’s January 2021 SNC, which brought about the election of the current slate of LP Officers, was “nullified” and that the LP was returning to “status quo”; and previous officers of LP, who had been voted out in January 2021, were effective immediately reinstated into office; while declaring that the LP 2021 Constitution filed at the Commission had been “withdrawn” from the Commission and replaced by the LP 2015 Constitution.

“All of these actions by the suspended PL were unconstitutional, not within her authority, and tantamount to an attempt to overthrow the duly elected leadership of the LP and use the party’s name and logo illegally. While the Party’s internal dispute resolution mechanism, up to the level of the SNC, and the Commission has since disposed of the issue of the legitimacy of the January 2021 LP Constitution and, by extension, the LP January 2021 SNC and election of new LP officials, certain individuals, on the basis of the suspended PL’s announcements, continue to take illegal and unconstitutional actions, that undermine the smooth running of the Party,” the LP Chairman averred in his plea statement to the NEC.

Outlining what he terms as flagrant violations orchestrated by the Karnga-Lawrence group, Bility said, on December 13, 2021, Jacob Smith, suspended NAC Member, published a Press Release as Secretary General, while on December 21, 2021, Steve Zargo, suspended Legislative Caucus Member, attended the Unity Party headquarter opening program and represented himself as National Chairman.

“On January 18, 2022, Steve Zargo, suspended Legislative Caucus Member, in a Press Conference represented himself as National Chairman and fraudulently informed the public that the LP Constitution was withdrawn on November 13, 2021 and replaced with the 2015 LP Constitution, which he termed as the “only legitimate Constitution to which NEC [National Elections Commission] may refer in its dealing with the Liberty Party” and challenged the Commission’s official disposition of the matter brought before it by the suspended LP PL regarding the legitimacy of the LP 2021 Constitution. Mr. Zargo further falsely stated that the LP 2021 Constitution was altered, an allegation that has been found to be false by the LP Special National Convention, the highest decision-making body in LP outside of the National Convention.

“On January 18, 2022, Jacob Smith, suspended NAC Member, published a Press Release under the signature of LP National Secretariat, referenced Steve Zargo as National Chairman, and fraudulently stated that Mr. Musa Hassan Bility and Mr. Martin Kollah were “no longer Chairman and Secretary General of Liberty Party,” Mr. Bility charged, indicating further that on January 20, 2022, Jacob Smith, suspended NAC Member, published a Press Release under the signature of National Secretary General, regarding the loss of lives at a religious gathering in New Kru Town.

“In a communication dated January 21, 2022, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, suspended Political Leader, sent invitations to LP partisans, fraudulently addressed as LP officials, inviting them to an “LP Executive Council” meeting, a body and sitting that no longer exists under the LP Constitution and has been replaced by the SNC with a larger number of representation than the “Executive Council”. On January 28 – 29, 2022, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, suspended Political Leader,  held and presided over an “LP Executive Council” meeting in which she expelled” the National Chairman, Musa Hassan Bility, and Secretary General, Martin S. Kollah from Liberty Party; suspended” all NEC members and County officials cooperating with the National Chairman; appointed deputies to act in place of suspended County Chairs; nominated herself as Vice Chair for Legislative Affairs on the NEC; authorized the withdrawal of LP from the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP); mandated the NEC to organize a SNC in consultation with the PL before the close of this year; and approved the LP financial plan,” Bility said.

According to Bility, the “Resolution” emanating from this “LP Executive Council” meeting, and purporting to be an LP Resolution, carried the names and signatures of persons with no legal of constitutional authority to act on LP’s behalf.

Those cited as illegally acting as LP officials, according to Mr. Bility include Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence – Political Leader; Stephen Zargo – LP Caucus Member fraudulently purporting to be National Chairman; Abraham Darius Dillon – Vice Chair for Political and Legislative Affairs fraudulently purporting to be Vice Chair for Political Affairs; Jonathan L. Kaipay – LP Legislative Caucus Member; Hans Barchue – LP Legislative Caucus Member fraudulently purporting to be Chairman LP Legislative Caucus; Jacob Julius Smith – NAC Member fraudulently purporting to be National Secretary General; E. Augustine Fredericks – Vice Chair for NEC Affairs fraudulently purporting to be Vice Chair for Membership; Prince Toles – Vice Chair for Mobilization; Nathalie Norris – fraudulently purporting to be Chairperson, Grand Kru County; Peter S. Kollie – fraudulently purporting to be Secretary General, Bong County ;      Romeo Trokon Coker – Chairman, Montserrado County; George B. Gaybueh – Chairman, Grand Bassa County; Thomas Pyne – fraudulently purporting to be Chairman, Grand Gedeh County; Gbain Sampson – Chairman, River Gee County; and Napoleon H. Weah – Chairman, Maryland County; while non-LP executives not authorized to act on LP’s behalf included Kwame Ross – fraudulently purporting to be Vice Chair for Auxiliaries.

Stakeholders, not authorized to act on LP’s behalf included Eric S. Gboga, Henrietta Barrian, Jeremy Russell, Jeneba Paasewe and    Emmanuel Zokpo. LP officials with positions that form a part of the LP decision-making body only at National Convention, but listed under the Karnga-Lawrence regime actions included Augustine M. D. Sombai, Vice Chair for Administration, Grand Cape Mount; Joe P. G. Doboyou, Vice Chair for Administration, Sinoe County; and Akoi Zogbo – Vice Chair for Administration, Lofa County.

Persons purporting to be LP officials who have never been elected in any legitimate LP election included Ogashe A. Gaye – Acting Chairman/Rivercess Representative; while persons whose tenure has expired included Peter Paye – LP USA Chairman.

According to Bility, on January 29, 2021, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, suspended Political Leader,  published a Press Release announcing results of the “Executive Council.

“The public utterances and actions of these individuals are illegal and in violation of the LP Constitution which prohibits LP members and officers, with the exception of the Political Leader and National Chairman, from speaking on behalf of LP unless authorized,” Mr. Bility noted, stating that the LP Constitution prescribes the authority to speak publicly on behalf of the Part, in line with Articles of the LP Constitution, and that of the National Elections Commission.

Mr. Bility said Chapter 2 of the Elections Law provides that the Commission has the powers and duties to issue citation for the appearance before it of any political party or its leaders, or other natural persons in connection with any complaint cognizable before it; issue subpoenas for the purpose of having witnesses to appear and testify; punish for contempt for any obstruction or disobedience of its orders by a fine in an amount of the Liberian Dollar equivalent of not less than Two Thousand Five Hundred United States Dollars (US$2,500.00) and not more than Fifty Thousand United States Dollars (US$50,000.

“The perpetrators of these actions are fraudulently purporting to be acting in the name of the Liberty Party and, as such, any negative outcome of their fraudulent actions may be attributed to Liberty Party. By requiring an association to be registered with it before the association can carry out  political activities, the Elections Commission has the authority, and is indeed obligated to act when that registered party’s name/insignia is being used illegally used, and without authorization. The public utterances and actions of these individuals are illegal and in violation of the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia.

“The perpetrators of these actions, being either suspended or fraudulently purporting to be officials of the LP are subverting the Liberian Constitution by undermining the rights of the Liberty Party, a political Party duly organized and registered under the laws of the Republic of Liberia. Their actions have a negative impact on the LP, and the LP could be held liable for acts committed by these perpetrators if they are not stopped. These individuals have not meet any legal requirement to call themselves a political Party nor do they have the right to associate their actions with the name or insignia of the LP.   Article V (1) states: “The National Convention is the highest decision-making body of the Party,” Bility noted. See full text of Bility’s letter to NEC on page 6 & 7 of The Analyst’s February 3, 2022 edition.

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