Modad Blames JNB For Defeat -Says, “He was Not Decisive to Back me”

MONROVIA – The last is yet to be heard on the circumstances that led to the surprise defeat of former National Chairman of the Unity Party (UP), Amin Modad, as he placed the debacle right on the doorstep of the standard bearer and political leader of the party, Mr. Joseph Nyumah Boakai for not being decisive enough to back his candidature, after doing so much to revive the party in its trying times and investing heavily in the agenda and aspiration of Mr. Boakai during his 20 months tenure as National Chairman of the former ruling party.

Speaking for the first time since his loss to his archrival Rev. Dr. Luther Tarpeh during a live interview of the Spoon TV Talk Show last week, Modad who exercised circumspection while answering some of the questions, was however blunt to state that ordinarily he should not have lost the election, giving what he did for the party in a relative short time when most of its partisans had lost hope and the institution was engulfed in a series of crisis that nearly tore the party into pieces. Mr. Modad said he thought Mr. Boakai would have stood up for him to clinch the National Chairman for the second time so as to consolidate on what he was able to achieve during his tenure.

“And I believe we did what we could, we did demonstrate our commitment and loyalty to the party, to his agenda and it was left to him to appreciate that and see that with 15 months to election, it was not the right time to change the winning team. And I think it is the Standard Bearer’s prerogative to determine the kind of leadership they want, as dynamic as possible, but maybe something about my leadership that did not fit into his agenda, and he has the right to make that decision”, Modad said expressing his disappointment in Mr. Boakai not taking a firm decision to support him.

He contended that he did not need any other special blessings from majority of the top stakeholders of the party especially Mr. Boakai for his level of work done to revive the fortune of the party which is to the public notice of the partisans and non-partisans; but seeing him losing a race where majority of those on his team winning and presently constituting bulk of the composition of the National Executive Committee was something he cannot easily phantom and must be attributed to what he called a “backdoor game”.

“If you look at the current national executive committee, out of the 12, we have 8 members from our team who won their respective positions but Mo Ali and I lost the race and it is something that one cannot understand if it was not a backdoor game”, he said.

Responding to a question if he ever met and discussed with Mr. Boakai before formally declaring to recontest the position, Modad answered in the affirmative and said he seized the opportunity during the  launching of some buses donated by his support group in the United States to get Mr. Boakai’s opinion on his candidature and had even offered to step aside if Boakai had told him he had another candidate other than him (Modad) to be the next chairman, but the Vice President did not oppose his desire to seek re-election which he eventually lost.

“I asked him to give me any reason he felt that contesting would polarize the party or destroy the party because seemingly it was getting contentious. I also asked him if there is any reason he felt that he lacked confidence in the leadership we were providing and thirdly, if there is any reason why the other candidate has the better capacity to get the party where he wants to be. And I told him to clearly let me know so that I will step aside to let the elections happen”, Modad said.

He said Boakai’s responses were positive and did not deter him from moving forward because the former Vice President told him that he had confidence in his leadership but that he (Boakai) wanted to play a neutral role; and for him (Modad) that was a comforting opinion expressed and that he wanted to make sure that his pursuit did not have any negative impact on Boakai’s agenda and that of the party. However, Modad said he strongly believed that the neutrality Boakai talked about was not too sure to him (Modad).

“But I can say this, political leaders have the prerogative, the platform and power to determine who they want to work with, okay and they have to be decisive about it. So, if he was decisive about making the decision, then he did it in his own interest. So as not to diminish the process, I have decided not to further go about to say who did this or that”, he said.

Modad also commented on the apparent snub from the UP Standard Bearer when he (Boakai) made his brief remarks without mentioning or thanking him and the outgoing leadership for whatever contributions they made in the revival of the party at the time when the institution was plagued with so many crises. This action, according to observers, gave every credence to the impression out there that the former Vice President may be nursing a hidden misgiving against Modad which might have warranted the number one UP partisan to make a very important remark without saying a word about the outgoing leadership.

“Yes, we lost the election and I have gone past that and am I bitter that he did not make that remark? No. You recognized it and I think our record and how people responded to our loss vindicated us. Yes, of course I would have loved for him to have mentioned our leadership and contributions, it is not about me but our collective effort, we did inspire young people getting involved in the UP and working towards our collective action”, he said.

While saying that he is not bitter about the outcome of the election, he maintained that one would have been in his shoes to go to a race and get defeated, especially reflecting on what one has contributed so much to said institution and still being magnanimous to congratulate the winner. He said he did that because he inspired a lot of people and despite all the insults, people still cast their ballots for him in appreciation of what he did for the party. He said he holds nothing against anyone but has learnt a lot about himself on the capacity of his tolerance level and also learnt a lot about people.

“Regardless of what happened, regardless of the backdoor play, at the end of the day, the people decided to believe that for the short time I led the party and the leadership I provided will be the foundation for the new leadership and again most of the leadership are my people”.

Commenting on his legacy he is leaving behind, Modad said not only is the party now sound financially, it is also now sound and strong institutionally, because the party had lost national leadership and most of the members were emotionally challenged and some of the members could not bear the situation of such when he came on board but was able to change that in a relative short time.

“We rebuilt the party, we brought credibility and put systems in place. We took the responsibility and burden of the party from Vice President Boakai, who personally felt that the party lost state power during his leadership and the burden was on his shoulder. We were able to pay regular salaries of staff, structured our historical debts, we prevailed over our eviction and court cases, our legislators are now coming back to party and even showing more concern, we would have done more if given the opportunity to serve and we are turning the party over more unified, more prepared to meet the challenges ahead”, he said.

Responding to a question on his next move, the renowned businessman who is heavily involved in the hospitality and tourism sector of the economy said his commitment to the party and the idea he fought for remain unchanged and that he will continue to be a member of UP and the reasons he made those sacrifices will not go in vain.

“Mo and I losing the election does not mean a defeat to the team. We have eight of our members on the National Executive Committee (NEC). I am going to make sure to empower them, to guide them, regardless of the fact I am no longer the Chairman; but I owe it to them for the loyalty they have shown during the process so I am not going to be a lame duck or a silent politician”, he said.

On the controversial eviction notice served on the party due to the debt owed the McClain family being rental arrears from the old headquarters in Congo Town, Modad said his administration inherited the debt from previous leadership, which he described as not being a wise thing to enter into such agreement for the structure with such a huge rental fee. He said his leadership had negotiated for continuation of the service but with the provision for lower rate which the owners rejected.

 He said the new leadership has the capability to renegotiate with the owners of the building to find an amicable solution moving forward. He denied ever being part of the game to discredit the new leadership because he had lost and wanted to undermine them.

Earlier during the interview, he spoke about the political misadventure of the party during the bye election in Lofa County against the government sponsored candidate, Cllr. Joseph Kpator, a situation his detractors termed as his deliberate attempt to sell-out to the government thereby undermining the party.

Modad categorically denied the allegation, terming it as lack of an iota of truth and merit as there was no point of selling out to undermine the fortune of the party in the election that was so crucial to the party ahead of 2023 and being a stronghold of the party and its standard-bearer. He said if there was any desire on his part to frustrate the party by selling out it would have been through the various battles his leadership spearheaded in courts and the National Elections Commission (NEC) when everything was at work to stop the party from fielding candidate in the bye election as well as stopping the party from participating in the 2023 general elections.

He said with relentless efforts, he was proud today that UP was not only allowed to contest the bye election though had lost but also that the party will now field its standard bearer and other candidates in the 2023 general elections.  He said though the party lost, but from the records of the election, they won 4 out of the 5 districts and that the candidate Galakpai Kortimai, garnered more votes as a Unity Party candidate than Brownie Samukai when he won as the candidate of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP).

To buttress the readiness and preparation the leadership put in place for the bye election, Modad said for the first time, the entire leadership of the party was in Lofa, in addition to some county chairpersons, other partisans from other political parties to shore up support but it was clear that the result of the election was influenced by tribal and geopolitical reasons.

“We made sure we provided funding for the campaign, we provided funds for poll watchers and we left executives back, we left behind men, what they called the “war room”, they had all the resources.

“Now the Lofa result was based on tribal and geopolitical reasons. The people of the Gbandi tribe were consistent in saying they are not going to allow two senators from one tribe. If you look at the record, if you look at Foya, which should be our “territorial”, we lost twice to Eugene Fallah-Kpakar and another candidate. Kolahun District has always voted for VP Boakai. If the same people who voted for Jallah were asked to vote the next day, they would have voted for VP Boakai”, he said.

He said in terms of structure of the campaign, the leadership made sure that the team had everything including the poll watching and the control of the project, the party was coordinating both from Monrovia and in Lofa simultaneously and so there was no way anyone will attribute the lack of support from the leadership that he headed.

He said before he, Mo Ali and Cole Bangalu left on the day of the election, it was preplanned that they would leave on the election day and it was agreed upon by everyone including VP Boakai who even told him that he was aware that he (Modad) was leaving because they were running out of cash and said besides that, they had other engagements in Monrovia. He said before their departure, the whole team in Lofa was in a celebrating mood because they were sure of victory and that the next day it would have been some funfare in Lofa but it turned out otherwise against the party and it was a huge frustration to the leadership.

It can be recalled that Modad and some of his leadership were accused by Representative Francis Nyumalin of Lofa County of undermining the process when they reportedly abandoned former VP Boakai and others of the party when it was needed most for the election. It was speculated widely during the convention, that Boakai and other key figures in the party strongly had it against Modad and Mo Ali and was used to sway votes away to Luther Tarpeh and Amos Tarpeh.

Whatever could be the reality in the story, what is certain is that the two men losing from a team that eventually dominated the elected 12-man executive committee speaks volumes and with time the story will settle itself.

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