Political Fever Heats UP At Peace: Warring Factions to Decide Ellen, Bryant, Sherman's Fate
-Tipoteh, Moniba, Others Out
Moses M. Zangar, Jr.
August 20, 2003
As the political fever heats up over the battle for who leads Liberia’s transitional arrangement, representatives of the 18 political parties and civil society groups have jointly nominated three names each for both the chairmanship and vice chairmanship of the interim government. The nomination follows an election held in the conference room of the M-Plaza Hotel in Accra, Ghana.
Out of a total of 11 candidates for the Chairmanship of the government, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of the Unity Party (UP), Gyude Bryant of the Liberia Action Party (LAP) and Rudolph Sherman of the “grand old” True Whig Party (TWP) emerged victorious. Both Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf and Rudolph were successful in the first round of voting with 32 and 18 votes respectively while Gyude Bryant came out with 26 votes after a re-run with Dr. Harry Moniba and Dr. Togba Nah-Tipoteh, three of whom had earlier acquired 17 votes each.
Cllr. Marcus Jones, Cedric Ketter, Roosevelt K. Quiah, Martin M.N. Sherriff, Dr. George Toe Washington and Alhaji G.V. Kromah were among unsuccessful candidates for the position of Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia.
For the Vice Chairmanship, United People’s Party’s Wesley Momo Johnson (39 votes) J. Hodo Marriam (32 votes) of the National Democratic Party of Liberia and Saah Ciapha Gbollie (26 votes) of the Free Democratic Party of Liberia came out with flying colors in the field of six candidates. Dr. Marcus S.G. Dahn of the United People's Party, Mohammed S. Kromah of the Union of Liberia Associations in the Americas (ULAA) and Nohn Kidau of the Movement for Democratic Change in Liberia were defeated in the process.
According to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, accredited political parties and the civil society organizations at the Talks are to jointly nominate three names each for the positions of Chairman and the Vice Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia.
Following the submission of nominees for both positions, parties to the cease-fire agreement of 17 June, 2003, the Government, LURD and MODEL shall, after due consideration and by consensus, will select one person each out of the two categories of nominees who shall be declared Chairman and Vice President of the NTGL respectively.
The selection is expected to be done Wednesday by the warring parties. Whether or not who takes up the task lies in the hands of parties to the conflict.
All is left with warring parties to decide who leads the transitional period, one political activist, apparently a refugee intimated.
Already, intense lobbying with contenders to the armed conflict has grown an all time high for the task. Campaign strategists for each of the three candidates in the two categories have begun working and strategizing overtime to get the blessing of the belligerents.
The vicinity of the M-Plaza Hotel that is playing host to the peace negotiations was a center of attraction Tuesday night as battle cries from women group and supporters of candidates who emerged victorious echoed in the air. For the women, they see the ambition of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in the process as a beacon of hope and a chance for the women to take up the mantle of authority. Conversely, others see the emergence of new breed of politicians as the dawning of a new day in Liberia.
Following the declaration of the Chairman and Vice Chairman, delegates are expected to begin departing Accra for their various destinations Wednesday. According to Secretariat of the Talks, the leaderships and members of LURD and MODEL are expected to depart Accra for Abidjan, Freetown and Conakry on Wednesday respectively.
Thursday would mark the departure of the Government's delegation as well as all other delegates to the conference.