Claim: Eugene Lenn Nagbe, Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA) boss and Chairman of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Special Committee for Strategy and Engagement, has alleged that “Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence was part of the 19 lawmakers who endorsed Amb. Joseph Nyumah Boakai in 2017.”
Verdict: False! Ms Karnga-Lawrence was not part of the 19 senators who endorsed Amb. Joseph Nyumah Boakai in 2017 because, at that time, the Liberty Party had a Standard bearer in the Presidential race– Charles Walker Brumskine.
The National Elections Commission (NEC) announced the political polls timetable in which campaigns will officially start from August to October 8, 2023. However, with over 140 days to Liberia’s elections, some parties have begun forming political alliances to maximise votes in the upcoming elections.
On Sunday, May 14, 2023, the political leader of the opposition Liberty Party (LP) and Senator of Grand Bassa County, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, joined ranks with the Unity Party’s ex-Liberian vice president, Ambassador Joseph Nyumah Boakia.
This move which has become the talk of the town ahead of the country’s 4th post-war elections took place in Senator Karnga-Lawrence’s home county, Grand Bassa.
What is more interesting about this decision by Ms Karnga-Lawrence is that she was earlier tipped to be the running mate to Mr Boakai. However, the political leader of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR), Senator of Nimba County Jeremiah Koung, was selected instead.
Many thought that Ms Karnga-Lawrence would have left the UP standard bearer, Mr Boakia, because the Unity Party political leader dashed her hope of becoming Liberia’s next vice president.
However, she did not turn her back on Mr Boakia. Instead, she overwhelmingly endorsed him. In her endorsement speech, she disclosed that several political party leaders reached out to her to be their running mate, including the political leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC). Still, she turned down the offer, insisting politicians must have a more profound self-examination of trending political events before deciding to collaborate.
“What is even more disturbing and unconscionable is that the ANC folks are inclined to believe that the only way we could gain control of LP is to accept the running mate slot, and everything will fall into place. To accept such an offer will demonstrate sheer greed for power on our part, and this will be the less honourable path to tread,” she stated.
Barely three days after she endorsed the candidature of the Unity Party’s ticket, Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA) boss and Chairman of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Special Committee for Strategy and Engagement, Lenn Eugene Nagbe, appeared on the state-owned media house, the Liberia Broadcasting System or ELBC to criticise her decision.
Mr Nagbe alleged that “Ms Karnga-Lawrence was part of the 19 senators who endorsed ex-vice president Boakia during the 2017 presidential and legislative elections in the country,” and President Weah defeated them.
The ruling CDC Strategy and Engagement chairman indicated that Ms Karnga-Lawrence’s endorsement this time would mean no threat to the re-election bid of President George Weah.
Mr Nagbe said, “You have endorsed this one man over five times, and you still think it comes with value?”He added that Mr Weah would still beat them despite the endorsement.
Mr Nagbe made this claim 44: to 45:10 minutes/seconds of an over one hour-forty minute show. The presentation was live on the institution’s official Facebook page with 7,000 views and 400 comments. Other online platforms like Dtv Online and Front Page Africa shared the presentation.
Political alliances are not new in Liberia, especially when elections are beckoning. However, is it true that Ms Karnga-Lawrence was among the 19 senators who endorsed Joseph Nyumah Boakai?
DUBAWA investigated the assertion due to the interest it has generated so far.
To begin with, DUBAWA reached out to Mr Nagbe to provide evidence for his claim, but he is yet to respond, as evident in the WhatsApp conversation below.
Further checks by DUBAWA showed that in 2017, 19 senators formed an alliance and endorsed the then vice president, who was contesting for the presidency on the ticket of the Unity Party, but Ms Karnga-Lawrence was not one of them.
DUBAWA also reached out to Ms Karnga-Lawrence to inquire whether she was in the group of the 19 senators who endorsed the candidature of Amb. Joseph Boakai in 2017.
Ms Karnga-Lawrence told DUBAWA that she could not have been a member of the 19 senators because she was part of the campaign team of the Liberty Party headed by the late Charles Walker Brumskine in Grand Bassa County.
She said, “How could I have done so when I was the head of Brumskine’s campaign in the Grand Bassa belt during the first round? The senators didn’t endorse in secret; they had a program?”
Ms Karnga-Lawrence, however, told DUBAWA that she did not make a public statement during the second round of the elections to endorse Amba. Joseph Boakai, but she did vote for him.
Here are screenshots from the WhatsApp conversation between Ms Karnga-Lawrence and DUBAWA in the pictures below
Based on research conducted by DUBAWA and the facts available, the claim made by Nagbe is false.