With two years left to the end of the tenure of the Unity Party after 10 years in power, the party appears to be in disarray with confirmation by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alex J. Tyler that he has tendered his letter of resignation from the party. President Sirleaf earlier this year organized a meeting of Unity Party lawmakers in an attempt to bring the party together in what was seen as a move to rally the lawmakers for the presidency of Vice President Boakai but since the meeting, things now look to be falling apart.
Before his resignation, Tyler has been linked to a newly certificated political party, the Liberian People Democratic Party (LPDP). The new party is located in the compound of a lawmaker hailing from the same county as Speaker Tyler, former Bomi Senator Richard Devine and the Speaker attended the official launch of the political party. Sources close to Tyler hinted FPA that the Speaker is contemplating officially launching his political party in the fifteen counties this November as he prepares for 2017. The LPDP is currently one of the recognized political parties by the National Elections Commission (NEC) among 30 others political parties.
Legislative sources have also hinted that several members of the House of Representatives are currently paying dues to the LPDP to solidify their memberships as they plan to run on the party ticket for re-elections. Majority of the lawmakers looking the way of the LPDP are members of a group of lawmakers known as the Tyler bloc–lawmakers loyal to Tyler.
Speaker Tyler has over the months remained tightlipped over his future within the UP as he has repeatedly told journalists that at the right time he will comment on his political future in the ruling Unity Party. In May 2015, the Speaker appeared not to be in favor of the 2017 aspirations of Vice President Boakai, falling short of saying whether or not he will remain a member of the ruling unity Party (UP) in 2017 if the party elects the vice President as its flag bearer. Speaker Tyler, who has not hidden his Presidential ambitions, when asked if he will leave the Party if he is not the chosen as the Presidential candidate, said;” well, it is good that it is an alleged ambition and I think that question will be for the future.”
The UP looks to be nearing the old ugly past of the political history of Liberia when political parties do not survive beyond their time in state power.
Liberia’s recent political history has seen ruling political institutions disintegrate immediately after the demise of a political leader. The 1980 coup d’état which ended decades of Americo-Liberian rule saw the fall from grace of the True Whig Party; Samuel Doe, who ended the TWP reign had his National Democratic Party of Liberia collapse after his death while Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Party(NPP) has become only a shell of what it was during Taylor’s reign. For the foreseeable future, the party risks joining its predecessors, TWP, NDPL and NPP on a has-been listing of parties which collapsed after losing state power. But it is the trend and speed at which the current establishment is falling that is generating concerns for both sympathizers and detractors.
In 2012, Cllr. Varney Sherman, Chairman of the party, now Senator of Grand Cape Mount County dismissed suggestions that the party could fall apart when FPA pressed the issue in the when he said: “One, it is very highly probable that the Unity Party will win a third term. In a worse-case scenario we will finish second. So our party is not dying, forget it, it is not happening. It is not happening under my watch, it is not going to happen under the watch of several other people”. Source FPA
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