(Monrovia-Liberia-April 2, 09)- Liberia Action Party (LAP) and the Liberian Unification Party (LUP), and the ruling Unity Party (UP), have finally signed an article of merger.
At a signing ceremony held Wednesday at the Monrovia City Hall, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said the merger of the three parties is a long-awaited fulfillment of the dream of the founding fathers of the three political institutions.
She said the late Jackson E. Doe of LAP, Gabriel Kpolleh of LUP and Edward Beyan Kessselly of UP had envisioned the merging of the three entities, to champion the cause of the Liberian people.
The President said although the three founders have passed away, the mantle of uniting the three political parties has been passed onto the current leaders, to make that dream a reality.
Amidst political slogans and battle cries, the Liberian leader said the merger of the three political parties is not about personalities but about creating a political environment in which everyone feels a part of the society.
She mocked the existence of 23 political parties in the country, saying, “Liberia needs fewer political parties that are strong and vibrant, and prepared to participate in a competitive electoral process and accept the results thereof”.
The President called on other political parties to follow the good example of the three parties by working out mergers to promote a healthy democratic process.
Earlier, the former Standard Bearer of LAP, Cllr. Varney Gboto Sherman, said:” “I’m so excited that today we can actualize what those great men all along envisaged for Liberia.”
He told partisans of LAP that “if you believed in me then, believe in me now because you know I have always carried you where good things happen.”
Cllr. Sherman: “Some doubt our future but I could not have reached where I am had I not taken risk in my life; it is about you and for you I decided to take on this venture.”
He told the gathering that his legacy has always been to have strong multiparty democracy in Liberia with fewer yet stronger political parties aspiring to capture the public imagination of productive debates and good governance.
For his part, the Chairman of LUP, Isaac F. Manneh, said his party has always stood for unifying political parties, adding, “The three parties decided to merge to provide an enviable leadership to move Liberia forward”.
President Johnson-Sirleaf, Vice President Boakai, Dr. Charles Clarke (UP Chairman) and Henry Fahnbulleh (UP Secretary) signed for UP, Cllr. Sherman, D. Sheba Brown and Prof. Willie Belleh signed for LAP, while Dr. Shelton Beedoe, Messrs. Manneh and Cletus Sieh signed for LUP.
With dancing and singing providing a colorful political backdrop, Cllr. Sherman rose up and began to sing and dance, while President Sirleaf beamed with joyous smile.
Some political observers have argued that this merger has essentially sealed President’s Sirleaf’s victory in the 2011 election.