PRESS STATEMENT BY SENATOR STEPHEN J.H. ZARGO, CHAIRMAN, LIBERTY PARTY
AHEAD OF THE PARTY PLANNED SPECIAL NATIONAL CONVENTION
JANUARY 20, 2021
Member of the fourth Estate, fellow partisans across Liberia, it is with a deep sense of honour that I express gratitude to the Almighty God for his manifold blessings and his ever-present Grace that made it possible for me to ascend to the position of National Chairman of Liberty Party, an institution of enviable standing in the body politics of our Country. I cannot find an easy source of strength to reflect on the Late Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, who saw in me the potential to provide, in concert with like minds, Leadership for our noble institution the Liberty Party.
Exactly two years and nine months ago, partisans and supporters of this Liberty party assembled in the City of Voinjama, Lofa County, at an Executive Council Sitting to elect new corps of officers who would lead Liberty Party through the turbulent seas of despair, after a controversial national election, and certainly, in the aftermath of our unsuccessful drive to overturn the results of the 2017 Elections through court actions.
I recall those were a very trying time for LP. Enough of resources had been expended, both on the case and the campaign, by Cllr, Brumskine and others. Our drive to put in place new leadership at a Council Sitting was greeted with uncertainty. Our founding father had used so much of his personal resources. For ease of access to delegates coming from across the country, and for the purpose of minimizing cost, he bought into the idea of holding the Council Sitting in the City of Gbarnga, Bong County.
As a Genius of LP foundation, He rationalized that despite the very low support of our beloved Party to the Lofa County Campaign Team during the 2017 Presidential Election; despite the fact that the Leadership of LP in Lofa had earlier approached Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine to consider one of us to chair the National Leadership of Liberty Party to strengthen our argument for the people of Lofa to Vote for Liberty Party and by extension, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine over Amb. Joseph Nyumah Boakai of Unity Party.
That despite the general feeling in the LP then that the Lofa Leadership (Dr. Samuel Ngaima, MomoSaifa Kpoto, Jaygbeh Kollie, Augustine Forkpa. Zaizay and the late Eugene Fallah Kparkar and I) etc, would not support and campaign for LP in Lofa – which result showed the contrary as compared to County that were fully supported.
Cllr. Brumskine was prepared to support a Candidate for Liberty Party Leadership from Lofa this time around. I was honoured to have won his confidence. Hence, we proceeded to Voinjama where the Council Sitting was held from April 23 – 24, 2018.
As I mentioned earlier, we inherited a national political party that was beset with many challenges. The humiliation of defeat, both at the poll and at the Supreme Court, had many partisans, including some Executive Committee members and stakeholders, slowing down on active party activities to the extend some even left and went to the ruling establishment. I recall that on many occasions, we had to use different tactics to even have Executive Committee members come to meetings and participate in party events. We use skills to excite the membership base through different activities, including our daily presence at the National HQ and acquisition of DSTV facility for our Partisans. As our means permitted, we reached out to partisans in their tight economic conditions. Indeed, LP was at this point, an institution that didn’t have much to attract attention. But we persevered.
The most challenging part was how we would maintain the national headquarters in the absence of the man who had bankrolled much of our obligations. We worked along with the Political Leader and other partisans of means to deal with these issues, in ways that helped salvaged the situation initially.
Considering the aftermath of the 2017 elections and the accompanying court actions, our late founding father who was now playing the role as an advisor to our leadership, embraced the idea of forming a collaboration with like-minded political institutions. This was in anticipation of condensing the political playing field, and by extension, engendering greater unity amongst our political actors. Under our leadership and with the dedicated involvement of chairpersons from other political parties, the Collaborating Political Parties came into being.
But even prior to this national effort, we had tapped on the goodwill of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) to conduct a retreat that afforded us the opportunity to do internal stock-taking of our previous activities and as well as, work on a standardization plan moving forward. Our Secretary-General, Mr. Jacob J. Smith, was designated to work with the NDI in ensuring a successful outcome of this partnership activities, indeed, following series of interactions, we had a successful gathering that brought together all fifteen (15) LP Chairpersons of the Counties and other local party leaders. During the occasion, we availed ourselves to our County Chairpersons in a manner and form that was befitting of our status as Chairpersons representing a responsible political party. We did not have the luxury of cash to satisfy the individuals as per their wants. At least we try to be human.
Out of that engagement with the NDI, our Secretary-General was charged to prepare a concept paper for the holding of the National Retreat that would enable us to consider the questions of internal reconciliation and effective engagements with our County Structures as well as other internal matters. Again, we hosted that retreat successfully in the Port city of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County. Out of that retreat emerged the ideas of commissioning a Constitution Review Committee to propose amendatory language to our constitution. The work of the CRC would eventually go to a convention of accredited delegates for adoption.
We are pleased the Buchanan event laid the foundation for the future direction of our party; and more particularly so, for providing the space for delegates from the fifteen political sub-divisions of our Country to assemble and review the proposed new language to the constitution for subsequent adoption. We remain thankful to our Secretary-General and others who worked along with us in initiating and executing the plans for the retreat and subsequently, the review of the Constitution that now goes for validation by delegates. It is my hope that we will derive a constitution that will stand the test of time.
Members of the fourth estate, we take pride in the fact that our initial efforts to work with other political parties and actors began yielding fruits. These are reflected in the election of Dr. Henrique Togba of Bong County. Even though he ran as an independent candidate, and certainly had his own huge constituency in Bong County, we are no doubt, convinced that Dr. Togba has a deep appreciation for our collective actions as CPP and for our individual involvement, both materially and politically. Needless to say, our own Abraham Darius Dillon has been an early beneficiary of the collaborative dimension brought to our electioneering politics, which we are proud to have supported hugely that led to the two (2) times election of Sen. ADD in Montserrado County, the purported backyard of the CDC
As we do this retrospection ahead of the convening of the Liberty Party Special Convection this weekend, and in an effort to give the general public a little insight into our leadership engagement with Liberty Party and its partisans, I wish to state that my leadership has not just been sitting in Monrovia and not factoring the concerns of our local leaders on our agenda. At the onset of the CORONA Virus pandemic, this Chairman personally reached out to all chairpersons in the Counties and District Coordinators in Montserrado County, by the provision of assorted food items and some cash. We felt then and still feel that although resources are scarce, no personal comfort should blind our vision as not to be able to lend a helping hand in time of such national clammily.
As I conclude this statement, may I inform our partisans that I came to the Chairmanship of Liberty Party with unbeatable zeal, ready to build a strong party which many of our partisans will attest to. It was a rewarding experience, in particular, coming into contact with the late Cllr. Charles Walker. Brumskine was a man with so much love for his country and a great team player who valued everyone’s contribution to the party building process. I will forever live with the memories of the leadership he sought to provide for our nation at large.
However, in political party operation, the contribution each of us would continue to make, and our zeal to press on largely depends on shared respect and shared vision. We can only be sure of where we are going when openness and deference for each other’s contributions, punctuate our actions. Our national politics must not simply be defined in terms of narrow interest. Mutual respect must be the hallmark if we are to succeed in our political sojourn. We are still searching in our various political circles.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, and partisans of the Liberty Party, following careful political consideration of where we’ve come from as a Party and where we are, it now appears to me that my continuous service as a Chairman of our beloved party – the Liberty Party — may not serve the spirit, intent and purpose which Cllr. Charles Walker. Brumskine envisaged, neither will it serve the general good of Liberty Party.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 states; to everything, there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
Socrates said: “To move the world we must move ourselves.” And so, for the general good of Liberty Party, I’m prepared to move myself as Chairman with a hope of moving Liberty Party forward and to do so with a heavy heart.
Like one of two (2) women who had to face King Solomon when a decision to cut a contested baby into two (2). It is my opinion and hope that my volunteer action will provide smooth lending for Liberty Party, as it goes to a Special National Convention!!
May I at this time seize the opportunity to thank all Liberty Party Partisans and friends of Liberty Party, who in some way helped my leadership in achieving whatever we achieved over the period of our service. I am grateful to the National Executive Committee for helping me along the way. My special thanks to the National Secretary-General, Mr. Jacob J. Smith, who in the absence of our Founding Father has continued to play a stabilizing role in the affairs of our party.
Permit me to leave you with quotation from our Founding Father Cllr. Charles Walker. “We cannot afford to continue with illusions of the past against the obvious and plain truth; we can no longer continue to be a people who have eyes when we see not; we have ears when we hear not. This moment is about remaking our country, believing that our best days are still ahead.’’
May God bless Liberty Party! May God bless our common patrimony.
TOGETHER, WE CAN DO BETTER.
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