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Who Is JNB’s Pick Outside Collaborating Parties?

By Bill W. Cooper
Today, April 28, 2023, the Standard Bearer of the Unity Party (UP), Joseph Boakai is set to announce his running mate for the upcoming October 10, 2023 Presidential and Legislative elections.
The long-awaited announcement of the country’s former Vice President’s running mate, according to information has now taken a twist with the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR) now in the loop among competitors for the position.
Recently, both Nimba and Grand Bassa Counties Senators, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence and Jeremiah Koung including political commentator and the Council of Patriots (COP) chairperson, Henry P. Costa have all been battling to be named a running mate to the UP’s standard bearer.
Koung took over as the political leader of the MDR, a political party that was founded by Nimba County Senator, Senator Prince Johnson who stepped down from his position and handed over the leadership of the party to Koung after being hit with sanctions by the U.S. Department of Treasury.
The Senator of a vote rich county has enjoyed significant support in Nimba and during the 2017 elections, played a crucial role in Weah’s victory over Boakai ascended to the helm of the party and contested though he was a sitting Vice President.
The win was Weah’s first in Nimba County, as well as for his party, the Congress for Democratic Change, which is now part of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) after failing during three elections.
The Nimba County Senator is practically a career legislator, having served two terms as a representative before being elected as a senator but has not been very vocal on national issues and hardly chided the Weah administration on any shortcomings.
His popularity outside of his home county, which is the second most populated county in Liberia is also unknown as all of his political strength since his introduction into the Liberia’s political field has always been his home county, Nimba.
Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence is the embattled political leader of Liberty Party (LP) who many sees as a shining star on grounds that she is passionate about Liberia and very vocal against the misrule of the Weah-led government.
LP was a constituent party of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) comprising the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Unity Party (UP) and All Liberian Party (ALP) but it is currently before the Supreme Court of Liberia over what is being described by many as a power struggle.
Karnga-Lawrence won the 2020 Grand Bassa County Senatorial elections against Gbezongar Milton Findley of the CDC. LP also came 3rd in the 2017 elections but the latest crisis in her party is now serving as major factor to her being selected despite her support and loyalty shown Boakai over the years.
Mr. Henry Pedro Costa is a political commentator, talk-show host and the Chairman of a major pressure group named “Council of Patriots” (CPP). Costa who is well-known for his advocacy against bad governance and misrule of the Weah-led government has since been a longtime supporter of Mr. Boakai since the 2017 elections that brought the CDC to power.
Costa, though do not have a political based as he was also defeated by incumbent Representative Samuel Enders in Montserrado County District 6 elections has also been one of the strongest and loyal supporters of the Ambassador Boakai.
Prior to his name popping up as a potential candidate for the UP-standard bearer running mate position, Costa has since declared his intention to contest the Senatorial Seat of Montserrado County with a plan of wanting to unseat incumbent Senator, Saah Joseph.
Meanwhile, Senator Koung assuming such position is still considered a travesty and mishap in a major opposition political party’s decision as many especially partisans of the LP and UP as well as the ALP which are the known collaborating parties are wondering where did the MDR come in or got consideration to assume such post.
Some have also described the decision as a betrayal to Senator Karngar-Lawrence and her own constituents based on her commitment to the collaboration and loyalty shown Boakai over years, while their fear is that once elected, Mr. Koung will undermined the UP led-government based on his relationship with some key members of the CDC.
However, what seems to be the position of the Karnga-Lawrence’s Liberty Party in the dire minutes amidst the rumors yesterday just before going to press which said, “We wish to inform you that consistent with our democratic tradition, the choosing of a running mate is the decision of a Standard-Bearer.”
The release issued on Tuesday, April 25, 2023, signed by its political leader, the LP informed its partisans and the public stating that “Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai, with whom the Liberty Party and the All-Liberia Party have fostered a partnership for over two years, informed us that he has made up his mind to choose his running mate for the pending elections outside of the two parties.”
She further noted that consistent with their Party’s tradition, the executive leadership has unanimously resolved at its sitting to consult their various structures across the country and in the diaspora, in line with the party’s tradition to seek approval for the endorsement of legislative candidates and Presidential ticket.
She also call on all partisans and supporters of the Liberty Party to remain calm as they conclude these processes, adding, “Let it not be forgotten that we embarked on this journey with a deep commitment to work with like-minded forces to bring about real and positive change in the governance of our dear country and to give the Liberian people a government that they truly deserve.”
“Throughout this process, we have always demonstrated that our loyalty to country is stronger and more significant than our personal ambition, and certainly stronger than our loyalty to individual (s),” Sen. Karnga-Lawrence asserted.

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