Special Awards In Pictures

-Findley’s Departure & Nagbe’s Resignation As SG With 70 Days Left To October 10
While the departure from the Unity Party (UP) of top partisan Gbezhongar Findley was still being grappled with by partisans and other Liberians with just about 70 days to October’s poll, the resignation of Lenn Eugene Nagbe as Secretary General is said to be a defining moment for the party that wants to score electoral ‘hat trick.’

Findley 9x6Also, these happenings which are taking place almost on the eve of Election Day seemed to have left many in the state of whoop, wondering whether the once formidable UP is still enduring a moment of possible rift.

All has not been too well with the UP in the last two years as it witnessed the most unprecedented exodus of topnotch partisans who blamed their departures on ‘policy differences’ and have either formed their own parties or joined ranks with others.

Former Pro Tempore Findley who lost his post in the Special Senatorial election of 2014 last week parted company with the UP for what pundits termed as ‘frustration,’ in relation to Vice President Joseph Boakai not picking him as his running mate.

He was one of many reportedly tipped to be named by VP Boakai as his running naming, but House Speaker James Emmanuel Nuquay was selected in the end, thus ending long-held speculations.

During a press conference in Monrovia, he said his decision to quit the governing UP was reached since July 31, 2017, but had to wait for august 4, 2017, indicating that Party’s executive committee has since been informed of his decision.

According to him, the Party had requested him to serve as head of the Campaign Committee for the election of VP Boakai, a preferment he said turned down for what he calls “politics is a matter of interest.”

Following his loss to current Senator Jonathan Kaipay, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Findley appointed him as Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Roberts International Airport.

Without stating convincing reasons why he parted company with the party brought him to political prominence, many still alleged it is because the UP standard-bearer did not name him as his running mate.

Another nightmarish development facing the UP is the resignation of SG Nagbe who also did not state reasons why he decided to hang his boots up. National Secretary General Nagbe over the weekend resigned his post with less than 70 days to the conduct of the elections in the country.

As the current Information Minister, Nagbe controversially held the post against the ‘will’ of the Conduct of Conduct which prohibits sitting officials of government take on political job or play active roles in political activities.

In his letter of resignation to Party Chairman, Wilmot Paye, he fell short stating reasons for his decision, but only said “it is for him and others in the Unity Party led administration to continue to hold the fort in supporting President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as she climaxes her historic and exemplary leadership with a peaceful, fair, free and democratic transition.”

So between being a Party Secretary and Minister of Government, Nagbe chose the latter which has greater prestige, affluence and power than the former.

Nagbe who served as Secretary General of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC before defecting to the UP in 2011 defeated Miller Catakaw and Henry Fahnbulleh at the end of a three-day National Convention of the party in Gbarnga, Bong County.

Minister Nagbe captured 251 votes over Montserrado electoral district #4 Representative, Henry Fahnbulleh 68 votes and Miller Catakaw 77 votes. Holding a party position and at the same time a minister of government has been at the center of concern for the opposition political party, the Liberty Party (LP) which complained the UP and Mr. Nagbe to the National Elections Commission (NEC) over his alleged violation of the Code of Conduct (CoC). According to the LP, Nagbe, who was serving as Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) signed the party's nomination listing presented to the NEC for approval.

The LP indicated in its complaint that though Nagbe acted in accordance with Section 3.5(a) of the National Elections Commission Regulations and Guidelines Relating to Political Parties and Independent Candidates, he however, violated Section 5.1 of the Code of Conduct.

Section 3.5(a) of the National Elections Commission Regulations and Guidelines Relating to Political Parties and Independent Candidates provide that "No later than 90 days before an election, each political party shall submit to the Commission the list of candidates (persons elected at its convention) who will contest on the party's ticket.

While Section 5.1 of the Code of Conduct states, "All officials appointed by the President of the Republic of Liberia shall not: Engage in political activities, canvas for elected offices; Use of government facilities, equipment or resources in support of partisan or political activities; Serve on a campaign team of any political party, or the campaign of any independent candidate.

According to the LP's complaint, the UP should have known at the time of filing of the Candidates listing with NEC that they were in violation of the Code of Conduct to have allowed Nagbe to sign any document which, according to them, clearly evidenced his participation in the management or political activities of the Unity Party.

"The Defendants knew or should have known that this submission/filing with the NEC of the Unity Party Candidates listing, signed by Co-Defendant Len Eugene Nagbe as Secretary General was unlawful, and against the spirit and intent of Section 5.1, 5.8 and 5.10 of the Code of Conduct Act," the complaint noted.

The Liberty Party further called on the NEC to conduct investigation and hearing pursuant to the Code of Conduct for alleged violation of both the Unity Party and Nagbe and apply appropriate sanctions including fines and dismissal.

Nagbe hoped the National Campaign Team set up would work to ensure victory for the UP. Not stating the exact reasons other than saying holding the fort for the last days of Pres. Sirleaf’s administration is viewed in political cycles a very flimsy maneuvers to hide the real problems of the UP for which he had to back off.

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