‘I Remain Chairman,’ Bility Reacts to LP’s ‘Palace Coup’ -Says Nyonblee is suspended. She is without any authority

The maneuvers and counter-maneuvers dissipating cohesion within Charles Walker Brumskine’s Liberty Party continues to deepen, getting complicated by the day. Just days after the constitutionally elected Chairman, Musa Bility, suspended some bigwigs of the party over their alleged failure to pay their legitimate dues, what appears as ‘palace coup’ has occurred. A cohort of the Political Leader, Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, and others who were suspended by Chairman Bility, has announced the ouster of the Chairperson, stating that the Convention that brought their chairperson to power is quashed. But Chairman Bility is not taking things lying down. He has reacted venomously, as The Analyst reports.

The Chairman of the Liberty Party, Mr. Musa Hassan Bility, has sharply reacted to the nullification of the January 2021 Special National Convention of the party by Senator Nyonblee Karngar-Lawrence.

It can be recalled that Chairman Bility and the National Executive Committee had earlier suspended Senator Lawrence and other members of the party allegedly for defaulting payment of their mandatory regular membership dues for the past 12 months.

Reacting to the nullification of the Special National Convention which brought him to power, Bility has countered powerfully, stating that he remains the Chairman of the Party. He said his position is in keeping with the constitution as regards the outcome of the election that produced him and his colleagues through the ballot box during the party’s last Special Convention held in Gbarnga, Bong County.

The implication of the nullification of the outcome of the Gbarnga convention means all the elected officials of the party have all lost their respective jobs and that the party is currently without any elected leadership.

Speaking to the media shortly after Senator Lawrence press conference at which time she announced the nullification which effectively by such action removed him and his elected colleagues from their offices, Mr. Bility is putting up a stiff challenge.

According to him, his Political Leader has got no reliance in the constitution that empowers her to set aside the decision of a national convention that produced the present leadership under his command, adding that it was a showmanship on the part of Senator Lawrence without any legal backing as it relates to the emergence of members of the national executive committee of the party.

“When we took a decision to suspend people, we had a reliance where we relied on Article 9. We had the constitutional backing to take the decision. So you should ask Nyonblee what was her reliance to take the decision,” he said.

According to Mr. Bility, “Article 9 of the party’s constitution which deals with membership, rights and privileges from where he made reference to 5, 6 and 7 which among other things reads,

He said: “SECTION 5: Members in good standing shall be eligible to vote in all local elections in the jurisdiction in which they live and all national elections, and shall accrue all rights and privileges of membership as may from time to time be prescribed by the NEC.

“Section 6: Members in good standing are members whose franchise is not otherwise prescribed by the laws of Liberia, membership dues are fully current and up to date, and other obligation to the party, such as attending meeting regularly are met.

“SECTION 7: Members who are not in good standing shall not be allowed to hold any office within the party, and if such member holds a position in the party, elected or appointed. he/she shall be suspended from the office by the NEC, until he/she shall have resumed the status of member in good standing. If after three (3) months, such member is still delinquent, he/she shall be permanently removed from the office, and may also be expelled from the office”.

When asked what was the motive behind the meeting at the Farmington Hotel from where Senator Nyonblee had told the media that Bility had admitted that he altered the constitution of the party, he dismissed out rightly the allegation and stated that contrary to the allegation from Senator Lawrence, one of the issues it resolved was the insinuation made by Senator Abraham Darius Dillon that the Gbarnga Special National Convention restored the power of the Political leader as head of the party as spelled out in the 2015 constitution and the meeting disproved that.

He also said that there were also two motions that were considered at the meeting. He said one of them was whether the power of the political leader be removed or retained after the election and it was his (bility) motion that it should be retained and the second motion was the Chairman of the party should act as the chief administrative officer of the party which was propounded by Senator Abraham Darius Dillon.

He said it was sad that the media has been used in the process to misinform the public because they failed to do more research and to ask the questions needed to inform the public about what has been happening.

Chairman Bility said as the result of the Farmington meeting, a three-man committee was set up which included Senator Lawrence, Debar Allen and him along with 3 resource persons, comprising each person recommended by Senator Lawrence, Allen and him to proceed to the National Election Commission to ascertain the procedure and content of the submission of the constitution of the party that was adopted by party at the Gbarnga convention.

He said at the end of the meeting which lasted for about an hour, the team at NEC told them that the constitution of the party was intact and that there was no alteration to it and also advised the delegation to go and resolve any other outstanding issues that may exist in the party and report same if there were still other issues that may arise after the meeting with the electoral umpire.

Mr. Bility also dismissed the information from Senator Lawrence that the constitution of the party was withdrawn from NEC because it was altered and said the truth of the matter was that as of Thursday last week, NEC had requested their presence to see if there were other issues in the party that need to be resolved but Senator Lawrence refused to turn out apparently she knew that she had no case to present with NEC.

“If truly the constitution was withdrawn from NEC, they will not be asking us to come for any other discussion because there would have not been any legal basis to call us for discussion”, he said.

When asked about what was the main problem that was existing between Senator Lawrence and him, Bility said, “The problem is the book you are looking at there (the constitution). She does not want to look at it. She has developed a sense that the party belongs to her. She believes that she can do anything she wants to do without being questioned. I am telling you that does not work that way. There are credible and responsible people in the party, and you can’t take decisions without consulting them. And she refused to pay her dues. She was contacted three times and she sat down supinely without doing anything about that”.

Touching on the issue of due payment which according to him has been misconstrued by some section of the public, Mr. Bility told the media that upon his ascendency he inherited the decision of the party on payment of dues by the officials which was enshrined in the constitution of the party.

He said when he and others were seeking for election in 2020, the election committee of the party at the time applied the portion of the constitution in Article 9 that discussed payment of dues by members holding positions in the party and those who applied to contest were compelled to clear all their financial standings with the party and it was enforced to the letter up to December, 2020.

“We were elected in January, 2021 and we said that based on what was already established all officials henceforth, including the Political leader and the Chairman should be current as of the time after the election. So people started paying dues to the party and this was in compliance with the constitution, not me as Chairman of the Party and this is what we are going to continue with. So Nyonblee and others were not suspended by me. Their suspension has a reliance on the constitution”, Bility said.

Mr. Bility, who throughout the media chat was insisting on Senator Lawrence to produce her reliance for taking the decision to override the decision of the special national convention of the party, said that the Senator and her supporters were bent on causing confusion in the party and that they have been using the inability of the media to read or do research to bring out the truth for the Liberian people to see.

“These people are not smart. You can’t do public relations on lies, you go out there that according to the Farmington agreement Bility admitted that the constitution was altered, you put yourself in the news and you have a document that does not say so, what has become of you? That is what I have to deal with. With the deception, lies for all these periods and I am happy that I am relieved right now (the Farmington agreement is clear). At the end of the day, the Liberty Party will go to Ganta next week, we will hold the convention and we will make a decision that will be in the interest of the country and party”, he said.

Mr. Bility returned to the issue of due payment in response to the question if there was any position taken in the party about exemption of some officials like the political leader and others from paying the regular dues because they have been making contributions to the party.

He said that was not true because despite investing so much in the party he still pays his regular membership dues and that should tell anyone that payment of dues is strictly a constitutional or legal thing binding on all members to do so and there was no exception.

“I pay my dues regularly despite committing myself to some contributions in the party; I paid for the Headquarters of the party and spent more than $200,000.00 on renovation and furnishings, and bought cars for the party. When I came on board, the party branch in Buchanan was left with just a week to be evicted and I went there and paid for it.”

He added: “I have been making my contribution ever since, even when I was nobody in the party. I made similar contributions in 2017 when I was the CEO of the campaign organization. So what is the contribution Nyonblee is talking about? Since I came on board there is nothing absolutely she has financially contributed to the party”, he said.

Mr. Bility boasted that he deserves to live the life he is living now because he worked for it himself and not through anybody and will not discuss anything about anyone who was not in his class when he was asked what he made of what Senator Dillon said about him being a criminal and regretted supporting him.

“I think the issue of Dillon is something the Liberian people have come to live with. It is a difficult decision the people are going through. Dillon to me is no longer worth my comment, I find it degrading discussing him, he is not worth my time. He is not in my class. Dillon is one of those that have benefitted from the party but he is not willing to give back to the party. He has not paid a dollar for anything in the party. Ask him to show some evidence of payment to the party such as receipt or any evidence made to the party”, he said.

Speaking of how unification can be achieved in the party, he said, “Law and order, doing the right thing, adhering to the rules that are governing the party, then you are really on the path to unification. I do not subscribe to unification that squashes the rule. The constitution is being enforced and as far as I am concerned, Nyonblee Karngar Lawrence remains suspended until she fulfills her obligation to the party”, he said.

When asked further that with all that has been going on in the party, what could be the road to unity, he said, “the road to unity is to Ganta where we will hold our convention next week. If I show up in Ganta and the Liberty Party does not show up, then Nyonblee’s position is correct. I can tell you that 80% of the officials will be at the convention and we are going to make the party stronger than ever before. By Monday, the activities of the convention will be made public including the list of the official delegates to the convention. These are not going to be new people, the same people that were in Gbarnga for the special national convention”, he said.

He also gave the hint of what will be discussed in Ganta during the special convention in Ganta when he said “we are going to trash all the shenanigans in the party and take a position on who to support as you know we are in a collaboration, we will take decision of who to support”, he said.

He maintained that the party is not divided and it remains united under his leadership as Chairman and chief administrative officer of the party.

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