In Liberia, a female presidential hopeful told VOA the Foreign Ministry is denying her constitutional right to register a political party so that she can contest next year’s presidential election.
Gladys Beyan said she wants to register the Grassroots Democratic Party of Liberia because past and present governments have squandered the country’s resources.
But, she said Liberian officials may be delaying the approval of her articles of incorporation because she and her supporters refused to pay what she calls a $2,000US bribe.
“The difficulty is that I presented my articles of incorporation to the Foreign Affairs ministry since the 29th of October, and they are just deliberately delaying it. Everytime I went there, (they would tell me) it was in the legal section and the legal section was reviewing it,” she said.
Beyan said, when she tried to inquire from the legal office, she was told the document had been sent to the minister’s office for his signature.
But, when she went back to the minister’s office, she was told the he could not sign the document because the counsel in the legal office did not initial it.
“I don’t think one person can just pick up and lock the doors on a public document and put the keys in his pocket and go for a whole day. So, I told the Counselor Sirleaf there that this is deliberate to deny my constitutional rights.” Beyan said.
She said the officials are trying to delay the approval of her papers of incorporation so that registration of her party will not meet the election commission’s deadline for registering parties.
Beyan said Foreign Ministry officials are delaying because she and her supporters would not pay a bribe.
“The first time my legal counsel went to that office with another friend of Gladys Beyan, this same man told them they should pay $2,000. So, my counselor said, ‘You are a lawyer and I’m a lawyer. Why should I give you $2,000 to register this paper?’ And he said, ‘Well, you don’t have money and you want to make (a) political party.’ I even told the minister that the constitution did not say that you have to be rich before you can form a political party in Liberia. Because we did not bribe him, this is why they are kicking it around. These are the reasons why I say it’s deliberate,” Beyan said.
Beyan said the fee to process papers of incorporation in Liberia is $50, which she said she has already paid.
She said she is running for president of Liberia because past and present governments have squandered the country’s resources.
“I want to run for president of Liberia because I have the requisite knowledge and experience in governmental operations. And, the pace at which human resources, natural resources and national assets are being squandered by previous and present governments underscores the urgency of my desire to contest for this presidency so I can make Liberia a better Liberia for all Liberians,” Beyan said.
Beyan said she wants to register her own party because existing parties are “election parties” only.
“We want to form the Grassroots Democratic Party that will be (an) every day party, not just (an) election party. I was the only female founder of the NDPL (National Democratic Party of Liberia). But, the way NDPL has been tarnished and many other parties, I found that I could not fit in there for what we want to do as grassrooters for Liberia. This is why we want to form a brand new party, a party that will be formed by Liberians in Liberia and that will cater to the needs of Liberia for all Liberians,” Beyan said.