Cllr. Charles Brumskine's Liberia Unification Party In Confusion

By Josephus Moses Gray
Monrovia, Liberia

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

March 1, 2004

The dream of presidential hopeful, Cllr. Charles W. Brumskine, to contest the 2005 Presidential and Legislative Elections on the Liberia Unification Party (LUP) ticket appears to be a dying vision, as the party is engulfed with confusion; members of LUP are trading accusations and counter-accusations at each other.

The deep-rooted confusion within the party has split the partisans, with one group calling for the holding a of mini convention to restructure the party leadership; while on the other hand, another group has rejected the holding of the mini convention, saying that it is against the party’s by-laws and constitution.

Some members of the party executive committee backed by the “Friends of Brumskine”, a social group are pushing for the convention but the party Chairman and Secretary-General, Messrs Isaac Manneh and Cletus Sieh are against the process, describing the exercise as “undemocratic and intended to hand pick Cllr. Brumskine
as the “Standard-Bearer of LUP.

The Chairman, Mr. Manneh , on February 26th held a major news conference, two days after his arrival in Monrovia, to effect several decisions.

Talking forcefully, the party chairman accused Cllr. Brumskine of “impersonating” as the standard-bearer of LUP but Cllr. Brumskine’s spokesman has denied the chairman’s allegation, terming the accusation a “lie”.

According to Chairman Manneh, Cllr. Brumskine and his former legal advisor and campaign manager, will be investigated by the party’s supreme council for several reasons.

He said Cllr. Brumskine will be probed for “impersonation” as LUP standard-bearer, while Cllr. Koffa who is now facing criminal charges in the United States will also face a probe for appointing a mini convention committee outside the party’s convention and by-laws.

Chairman Manneh, in consultations with the Supreme Council, has fired several executive committee members of the party and forwarded their names to the Supreme Council for a probe into what he described as “gross insubordination” to the office of the chairman.

The victims of the chairman’s action include Mr. Tobias Gartor, Vice Chairman for Administration; Dallama Solunteh, Assistant Secretary for Administration; Jacob Smith, Assistant Secretary for operation; Isaac Jackson, Education and Publicity Committee Chairman and Barclay Togba, Chairman for membership and mobilization.

Chairman Manneh told journalists that the dismissed officials and Friends of Brumskine as well as Cllr. Brumskine had planned a “political coup de ‘tat” within the party to hijack the leadership of the party but according to him, the move was vehemently crushed by the party Secretary General and the Supreme Council.

In his reaction, Mr. Smith said the party's chairman and secretary general are undermining the progress of the party. He alleged that the chairman and the general secretary have received a vehicle and some cash from Chairman Bryant and his Advisor, Cllr. Varney Sherman. Cllr. Sherman, who is member of Chairman's Liberia Action Party (LAP), is is believed to be eyeing the Liberian presidency

Mr. Smith told this author that Chairman Bryant one time made an open remark at the Executive Mansion that “they will see to it that Cllr. Brumskine does not contest the 2005 elections”, but Chairman Bryant’s office has denied Mr. Smith’s allegation.

However, the LUP’s executive committee last week announced that there is no confusion in the party but suspended its secretary-general Mr. Cletus Sieh. But the party Chairman and Supreme Council say Mr. Sieh is still the Secretary General.

The executive council in a press release reaffirmed its decision of January 16, 2004, authorizing the holding of a Special convention in Monrovia for February 27-29, 04.

The convention was held to review the party’s preparation for the 2005 elections and to also restructure the party’s leadership.

For his part, the party Secretary-General, Mr. Sieh said Cllr. Brumskine’s men are uncomfortable that Cllr. Brumskine might not be elected as Standard-Bearer for the party come the LUP National convention in 2005.

According to Mr. Sieh, it is based on this fear that Cllr. Brumskine’s men are doing everything possible to hijack the party leadership to pave a smooth way for him for the presidency in 2005.

Mr. Sieh who, confirmed existence deep-rooted confusion within the party, denied allegation that Chairman Bryant has given vehicle and cash to the party.

Amidst this confusion within the party, the mini convention still took place on the scheduled dates under tight security, with the side that attended electing new leadership but the LUP National Chairman Mr. Manneh says the party has gone to court to issue an “injunction” on the mini convention. The injunction was issued on Friday and those attending the mini-conference moved the conference to the Party headquarters instead of the city hall where it was initially scheduled to have taken place. Mr. Manneh noted that his leadership remains the legitimate leadership of the party and that the public should not do business with those hijacking power to satisfy the wishes of a politician.