|Dr. Togbah-Nah Tipoteh|
|Mr. TQ Harris|
Veteran politician and jettisoned standard-bearer of the Alliance for Peace and Democracy (APD), Dr. Togbah-Nah Tipoteh, has acceded to the standard-bearer position of the Freedom Alliance Party of Liberia (FAPL), in what observers said is an act of rescue.
Dr. Tipoteh will now team up with Bishop J. Rudolph Marsh to run for president in the 2011 presidential election on the FAPL ticket.
FAPL’s standard-bearer and prospective presidential candidate until August 15, 2011, Mr. TQ Harris, told the party’s national chairman, Samuel Valentine, that he was suspending his campaign for the presidency due to the party’s inability to raise the required funds.
But he told Mr. Valentine that he would not stand in the way of the party’s desire to field another candidate to replace him.
“If, however, the Party wishes to field another presidential candidate because of this decision, I am willing to step aside. Otherwise, we are prepared to give full support to the Party’s Legislative candidates as we rebuild for the 2017 Presidential and Legislative Elections,” Mr. Harris had said.
A FAPL release on the endorsement of Dr. Tipoteh for the position and for the presidency said its decision to invite him to take over the party’s leadership was in light of his 40 years of credibility and patriotism, during which it said he maintained “the struggle for freedom, justice, peace, democracy, and progress”.
The release said prior to nominating Dr. Tipoteh for the race, the executive committee carefully considered the impact his charisma and political experience would have on the party’s chances of winning the presidency.
From the time Mr. TQ Harris resigned on August 15, 2011, the same day on which the Nomination and Registration Process of the 2011 presidential and legislative elections expired, observers say it appears impossible for Tipoteh to have received the party’s endorsement and obtained the Election Commission’s “Notice of Receipt of Nomination Application” and the “Candidate’s Details Confirmation Reports”. But, he did obtain both documents, according to information in the possession of this paper.
However, the FAPL statement noted, “Having accepted FAPL’S invitation to become its Standard Bearer, Dr. Tipoteh then entered the process of registering as the Presidential Candidate of FAPL with the National Elections Commission (NEC).”
It said, now that Mr. Tipoteh had completed the process, both Bishop Marsh and he were the official candidates of the FAPL for the presidency.
The release said Dr. Tipoteh selected Bishop Marsh as his running mate because he (Bishop Marsh) has successfully completed the registration with NEC.
In addition, it said, he chose the clergyman because of “his longstanding patriotic record of service to the people of Liberia”.
Bishop Marsh served as president of the National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL). During the Civil war, he led a national campaign for peace under the banner of God’s Peace Plan for Liberia.
Then, Rev. Marsh, a schoolteacher as well as Baptist preacher became president of the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Education Convention, which is the like being Bishop of the Baptist Church in Liberia, but the Baptists call the head of their church “president”, rather than bishop.