LIBERIA: Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe Elected As Political Leader Of Liberia People’s Party

Cllr. Tiawan Saye Gongloe

The Liberian People’s Party (LPP) has elected Tiawan Saye Gongloe as the standard bearer of the party. HB Fahnbulleh led the party during the 2017 presidential and legislative polls. Gongloe was elected on white ballot unopposed in Gbarnga Bong County on September 16th 2022.

The Liberian People’s Party (LPP) met in Monrovia on Friday, May 6th, 2022, at which time Congress elected its Chairman, Yanqui Zaza, Secretary General, Comrade Leon Talery amongst other party officials. “Now that the Party leadership is in place, the critical tasks of building the party and growing its organs and membership can now commence,” said party leaders, ahead of the 2023 legislative and presidential election.

The LPP was established in 1983, nearly 39 years ago, but was banned during the electioneering process that led to the 1985 poll by Sergeant Samuel Doe and his People’s Redemption Council (PRC) brutal junta.

Although the Party organized, struggled, and sensitized citizens to vote it into power, the PRC, which toppled the True Whig Party (TWP/oligarchy), in 1980 also led a de facto one-party state, doing everything in its power to crush the progressive intelligentsia, with Samuel Doe determined to lead the country and refusing to return to the barracks as he had promised on the morning of April 12, 1980.

According to reports, the military regime banned the LPP for fear that it would win the polls, which came on the heels of the Amos Sawyer for Mayor Campaign and the popularity of the progressive forces, which also saw the Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL) leader Gabriel Bacchus Matthews and the United People’s Party (UPP) enjoying massive grassroots support.

The UPP was also banned with the LPP—the strongest parties at the time. In many ways, pundits say, the PRC arbitrarily derailed the electoral process by stealing the vote and harassing progressive leaders, who were either chased out of the country or silenced, as Doe and his henchmen did everything they could to lead by fiat. Progressive sources say the  LPP originated from the Movement of Justice in Africa (MOJA) whereas PAL gave birth to the UPP.

According to reports, the progressive social democrats in Africa, especially Liberia, are excited about the upcoming 2023 presidential and legislative elections, as they are expected to field a popular grassroots candidate and a man of integrity, who has made corruption the central issue of his candidacy and is likely to be elected as party leader and standard-bearer of the LPP this weekend on the 6th of May, 2022.

Observers say Comrade Tiawan Saye Gongloe is the only candidate and aspirant to have volunteered to lead the LPP. According to Weah Karpeh, Gongloe’s media team point man, “The former Bar Association President has distinguished himself both in the public and private sectors and is promising to transform the country based on the rule of law.

He cuts across every political, cultural, regional, or religious divide based on his commitment to respect the rights of all Liberians based on the rule of law in Liberia, a track record that is there to be vetted.”

Mr. Tiawan Saye Gongloe is running on a resounding campaign message, pledging to revive the country’s economy by putting agriculture, health, and education at the top of his agenda in what he says is “The Better Liberia Agenda,” which is anchored on transformational change for prosperity.

The candidate has pledged to implement the devolution of power, especially looking at the imperial presidency that continues to strangulate the other branches of government with absolute appointing powers—a major reason for conflicts in the country.

Sources claim that it is his clear progressive agenda and desire to help change historical narratives that position him as the leading opposition candidate for 2023.

Sources state that Tiawan Saye Gongloe is a transformational “public servant.” He was the first Solicitor General since the independence of Liberia in 1847 to have appointed college-educated lawyers as county attorneys in all 15 counties of Liberia, thereby improving the protection of rights and prosecutorial powers of the Liberian government.

As Minister of Labor, Gongloe issued Regulation Number 17, which increased work permit fees for non-Liberian residents from USD 400 to USD 1000, compelling foreign employers to hire more Liberians by reducing or getting rid of non-Liberian employees.

Gongloe’s most recent leadership role at the Liberian National Bar Association speaks for itself; he left the organization solvent, with over USD 100,000 in its coffers, which were raised over a three-year period, even though the Bar was in severe debt when he took over. He even constructed the first floor of a three-story headquarters of the LNBA, currently under construction on the Robertsfield Highway in Margibi County.

He even introduced a licensing regime that has made it easy to identify every Liberian lawyer.  According to sources, the revenue he raised for the Bar was completely domestically generated, using the constitution of the Liberian National Bar Association, largely, without foreign handouts.

He also drafted the Decent Work Act while serving as Minister of Labor—and submitted to the presidency. The presidential hopeful recently stated he will govern according to best practices and in consort with Liberian laws by strengthening law enforcement while prioritizing manufacturing with the aim of creating employment for jobless youths and the population at large.

This makes him the only candidate to date to have distinguished himself on the basis of these policy matters, further reflected in his 10-point agenda for lasting change.

Reports indicate, concerned about the violation of media rights in the country, he also wrote the Kamara A. Kamara bill decriminalizing speech and freeing Liberian journalists from unwarranted persecution and prosecution from the powers that be, which was passed into law under Weah’s administration.

Gongloe is a friend of the media and has offered free legal services to media practitioners in the country, including poor citizens who cannot afford their legal bills. The human rights lawyer has been dubbed the “poor man’s lawyer” for his services as well as his aim at building sustainable peace towards greater conflict resolution.

The LPP convention comes at a time when Liberians are looking for a clear substitute to lead the nation in an era when the former ruling Unity Party and the current ruling establishment, the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), have failed miserably according to commentators and pundits, with a power struggle in the Coalition of Political Parties (CPP), with its leaders, Alexander Cummings, Benoni Urey, and Joseph Boakai pointing fingers in the public domain while the Liberian people look for leaders to help move the country forward.

The LPP candidate for higher office states that he aims to fill this void in order to redeem the country and put it on the path to prosperity. “The main issue that has been keeping this country backward is corruption, and it exists because of the lack of respect for the rule of law, human rights, lack of respect for human rights, and total lack of patriotism and nationalism,” he says. If Gongloe is elected to the presidency, he will be the first son of Nimba in the Executive Mansion and the first truly progressive President.

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