President Sirleaf’s Office Responds to Unity Party Expulsion

MONROVIA, Montserrado – The office of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has reacted to the Unity Party’s expulsion of the president, calling the act illegal.

Presidential Press Secretary Jerolinmek Piah said the expulsion of Sirleaf, who is also the standard bearer emeritus, is illegal because it does not meet the requirements of the party’s constitution.

Unity Party, in a statement signed by its assistant secretary general for press, publicity, and outreach, Mohammed Ali, said Sirleaf and three other party officials had been expelled for violating the party’s constitution and other acts inimical to its existence and reputation.

The three others affected by the decision of the party were River Gee’s Sen. Conmany Wesseh, former executive committee member Medina Wesseh, and Deputy Secretary Patrick Worzie.

“The behavior of the expelled persons constituted sabotage and undermined the existence of the party,” the statement read.

Piah disclosed to ELBC Radio on Monday that the party’s rules were clear on the requirement for expulsion, noting that such requirements had not been fully exhausted.

He said Sirleaf has heard of the action against her by the party, but is focused on the conclusion of her transition.

“The pronounced action by the UP does not deserve or require a reaction,” he said.

According to him, to the best knowledge of the president, she remains a member of Unity Party.

“When she leaves the presidency, the party matter will be handled the party way,” he added.

Amid several criticisms of Sirleaf not supporting her party in the elections, Sirleaf dismissed the claims.

An executive member of the party, the former Nimba representative, Worlea Dunah, has also described the expulsion as illegal.

According to him, he participated in a meeting with 31 of the 65 total executive committee members at the home of the party’s standard bearer, Vice President Joseph Boakai, a day before the statement announcing the expulsion was released.

Dunah said although the number of executive committee members present at the meeting did not meet a quorum, they had only agreed to meet out of courtesy.

He said 16 of the 31 executive committee members present in the meeting voted in favor of the expulsion. Those voting for the expulsion included 12 county chairpersons and three elected national officials, he said. Dunah said he filed a motion for reconsideration, which was granted.

Dunah said the Unity Party constitution calls for two-third of the total membership of the National Executive Committee to approve of dismissals.

“A vote of 16 cannot expel,” he said. “It is totally illegal, unlawful, and unconstitutional and it also violates the due process [requirement] of Article 20 (a), which governs all institutions in this country and these points were raised by me.”

He added that the arrangement of the meeting, including the abrupt change of the venue from the party’s national headquarters to Boakai’s home, contributed to its low turnout.

Dunah said the party’s vice standard bearer, Emmanuel Nuquay, was among national executive members who did not attend the fateful meeting. The former Nimba lawmaker promised to follow up with the party’s chairman, Wilmot Paye, on his request for reconsideration.

Dunah served two terms as representative of Nimba’s seventh district before deciding not to pursue reelection. He instead supported the bid of Roger S. W. Y. Domah, the Unity Party candidate who ended up as victor.

Featured photo by Zeze Ballah

Gbatemah Senah

Senah is a graduate of the University of Liberia and a recipient of the Jonathan P. Hicks Scholarship for Mass Communications. Between 2017 and 2019, he won six excellent reporting awards from the Press Union of Liberia. They include a three-time Land Rights Reporter of the Year, one time Women's Rights Reporter of the Year, Legislative Reporter of the Year, and Human Rights Reporter of the Year.

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