Liberia: Benoni Urey Following a Playbook by Breaking Up the CPP, But Does He Know Whose Playbook It Is?

BENONI UREY of the All-Liberia Party (ALP) must be patting himself on the back for his political acumen and enjoying what he must think is a “boost” to his injured ego.

IT IS WELL KNOWN  that Urey holds numerous insecurities surrounding his lack of credibility, the obscure sources and overstated size of his wealth along with his dark past dating back to the Liberian civil war – all of which can be easily exploited by his political opponents. It is therefore no surprise that Urey, finding himself in a prime position to wreak damage, an opponent would jump at the opportunity and light the fuse.

IN AUGUST MR. Urey accused Alexander Cummings of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) of tampering with the framework document of the CPP, potentially dealing a blow to Cummings’ position in the CPP and bringing shockwaves across Liberian politics. When the CPP committee appeared to have concluded that such tampering did in fact occur – and Sen. Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence of the Liberty Party (LP) publicly accused Cummings of doing so (which he has denied), it appeared as if Urey was getting exactly what he wanted.

MR. UREY is following a political playbook. Urey has for years voiced his strong support for Joseph Boakai of the Unity Party (UP) and his bid for the presidency in 2023, and accusing Cummings of manipulating the CPP framework was, if nothing else, an effort to demonstrate loyalty to Boakai while sowing distrust about Cummings within the CPP. 

WHAT IS MORE, Mr.  Urey was surely aware that such accusations may just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and leads to the collapse of the CPP – an already fragile coalition lacking political cohesion and featuring countless internal disagreements. One need not look any further than the controversy over the handing over ceremony of the CPP’s leadership to Boakai which the ANC and elements of the LP have said they will boycott.

ONE MUST WONDER whether Urey has considered whose political playbook he is using anyway.

THE MILLION-DOLLAR question is, who benefits from Urey throwing explosive accusations into an opposition coalition already full of mutual animosity and mistrust? Who benefits from an opposition that is fractured should the CPP fall apart? It certainly is not Alexander Cummings. Nor is it Joe Boakai, who learned the hard way in the 2017 presidential elections that he needs a larger voting bloc if he stands a chance to win against George Weah and his Congress for Democratic Change (CDC). And it is definitely not Benoni Urey himself, who has found himself in the awkward position of supporting a war crimes court that would likely target him, while continuing to be viewed by the United States and even some in the Boakai camp of being a toxic figure and a liability. A cohesive CPP capable of winning in 2023 serves the interest of all these individuals.

THE REAL BENEFICIARY  is none other than the current occupant in the Executive Mansion, who might be shocked at his good fortune. Weah and the CDC are watching as its biggest threat in 2023 engages in self-destruction – a process propagated by Mr Benoni Urey. It’s almost too perfect, like a plan coming to fruition.

MR. UREY, like Donald Trump with whom he has favorably compared himself, loves to feel that he is winning. Unfortunately for the CPP, Urey is the gift to George Weah that keeps on giving. There’s no mistake here – the man is getting played and doesn’t even know it yet.

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