MONROVIA: The erstwhile ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP) of former Liberian President, Charles Ghankay Taylor, has been engulfed with political wrangling which began prior to the just-ended Biannual National Convention of the party held in the Paynesville City Hall.
Before this year Convention, the party’s embattled National Chairman, Senator James Biney, and Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, have been at loggerheads as it relates to control of the party.
Although Senator Biney claimed to have won the NPP Chairmanship via the recent convention, a stalwart of NPP, Cllr. Stanley Kparklim, categorically rejected victory being claimed by the Biney faction of the NPP.
Cllr. Kparklim, speaking to The ‘Investigative’ INDEPENDENT, in an exclusive interview, said 13 of the 15 Chairpersons crafted a Resolution in support of him (Kparklim) as National Chairman.
He said following the commotion in the convention Hall, Senator Biney called the convention to order which suggested that the process was in the hands of delegates and Convention Committee, headed by Emmanuel Lomax, a top NPP Executive.
Speaking on the decision of the 13 Counties’ Chairpersons, Cllr. Kparklim indicated that the various counties’ delegates came out of the Hall and crafted their Resolution and subsequently signed it for the removal of Biney as NPP National Chairman.
He claimed the chaos that characterized the party’s Biennial Convention was masterminded by the Biney group, aimed at sending a signal to incumbent President George Weah, the governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), and the World that Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor is incapable of managing her party, and as such, she can’t go as running-mate to President Weah in the October 2023 elections.
The ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), comprises the ex-ruling National Patriotic Party of VP Taylor; Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) of incumbent President George Manneh Weah; and Liberia People’s Democratic Party (LPDP), of former House Speaker, J. Alex Tyler.
Although at the end of the day, both rival groups claimed victory individually in their respective quest to hold onto the leadership of the NPP.
The NPP’s Biennial Convention held on October 7, 2022, was necessitated by the mandate of the Civil Law Court after a prolonged leadership crisis in the former ruling party.
It was geared towards electing a new corps of officials to run the day-to-day operations of the NPP.
However, Cllr. Kparklim also told this paper that the confusion within the NPP borders on the failure of the Biney leadership to account for funds entrusted into its care.
He alleged that partisans who were contesting various posts including National Chairman, Vice Chair, and Secretary-General, paid their respective registration fees, amounting to over US$30,000 but, according to him, the Biney team could not account for such funds.
Also speaking to this paper, a stalwart of NPP, Mark Kenshan, said Vice President Taylor contributed over US$70,000 for conduct of the recent Convention but the embattled chairman (Biney) refused to allow the 638 delegates on grounds that there was no money because, the (Biney team) had ulterior motives.
Howbeit, the Biney led faction of the NPP, in a press statement, issued on Sunday, October 9, 2022, asserted that the agreed number of partisans accredited as delegates to the convention was 301 and not 638, as it is being portrayed by the other side.
But, Cllr. Kparklim refuted such claims and maintained that it was agreed upon for 638 delegates to attend the convention.
He said Vice President Taylor had agreed to bankroll 638 delegates’ attendance of the Convention in Monrovia, a suggestion that was reportedly rejected by the Biney team.
He stated that Biney and team argued that Vice President Taylor’s financial contribution should be given to them, since she is not a signatory to the party’s Bank accounts.
This suggestion, according to him, caused serious uproar and tense argument between the two groups, leading to some hitches during the preparatory part of the convention.
He added that Vice President Taylor had initially promised to contribute US$90, 000 for the Convention but requested for NPP’s financial report from the Biney leadership.
She made the promise when it became clear that the Biney leadership could not generate the needed US$100,000 to cater to 638 delegates from across the country, Cllr. Kparklim asserted.
The Vice president then transferred US$70,000 to Party’s accounts to ease the tension, Cllr. Kparklim disclosed.
Then came the serious allegation by the Biney faction that Madam Vice President was not contributing financially to the party activities, instead, she was sowing seeds of division in the NPP, a claim that her team did not take lightly by providing purported proof of mismanagement of funds by the Biney leadership. Cllr. Kparklim and team also provided pieces of evidence concerning her contributions to the party.
Displaying copies of the Vice President’s immense financial contributions to the NPP, the NPP financial statement, dated September 3, 2022, and signed by the Acting Financial Comptroller of the party indicates that Madam Taylor has earlier contributed US$333,325 relative to materials and money.
The Acting Financial Comptroller, Mr. Morris G. Paye, said the Vice President’s contributions were in two areas. “Summary of Financial and Material Contributions to the National Patriotic Party-NPP for the period of 2017 to 2022 by Partisan Jewel Howard-Taylor, Standard Bearer: A. Direct Financial Contribution, US$250, 000; and Material contribution, US$82,725; amounting to US$333,325 within six years.
Another stalwart, Mark Kenshan, who also spoke to this paper said from all financial records available to the new leadership headed by Cllr. Kparklim, Senator Biney did not pay portion of his contribution for the Convention, nor any fees as a candidate for his re-election as chairman in line with provisions of NPP Constitution.
He said due to the alleged financial malpractices being carried out by Biney and associates, the Vice President has tightened screws on the party’s accounts and warned that money withdrew will be properly accounted for because, the party’s money is not for One-Man and few of his friends.