Liberia: Joseph Boakai Faced with Daunting Task of Unifying a Disintegrating CPP

MONROVIA – The core issue tearing the opposition bloc – the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) apart started long before the former Vice President, Joseph N. Boakai, could take over as head of the CPP. But what marveled many observers was his quietude amid the all the divisive haul and pull among the leaders of the CPP.

Many had hoped that the former Vice President, now the standard bearer of the Unity Party, would have used his experience and wisdom to quite the down the noise within the CPP. Unfortunately, at least from the public’s perception, that was not the case and things went helter-skelter.

Howbeit, Mr. Boakai, now as head of the CPP, is extending an olive branch to all the political leaders within the CPP and their members to work cooperatively and look at the bigger picture – defeating President George Weah in the 2023 elections. But with things already sore and sour within the CPP, Mr. Boakai faces a very daunting task of making the center of the things that have already fallen apart hold.

The process that led to Amb. Boakai taking over the mantle of leadership of the CPP was flawed with dischantment among key actors of the CPP including the Alternative National Congress and the Executive Committee of the Liberty Party which led to their boycott of the ceremony.

Their dissatisfaction was long expressed before the ceremony was held, yet, the situation could not be handled. The ANC complained of their exclusion from the process while the Liberty Party Executive Committee complained of a flawed transition process and a break from tradition and violation of the CPP Framework Document. While the ANC stayed away completely, only Senator Nyonblee-Karnga Lawrence and Senator Abraham Darius Dillon were there for the Liberty Party.

Boakai’s First Challenge

Unifying the CPP requires putting to bed the main issue tearing them apart and clearly and fairly clearing the names of those wrongly accused or providing tangible evidence to substantiate the allegations levied on the standard bearer of the ANC, Mr. Alexander Cummings. 

The first challenge for Amb. Boakai to speedily bring to a logical conclusion the bombshell allegation made by the All Liberian Party Leader, Beninoi Urey that the CPP Framework document filed under the leadership of Mr. Alexander Cummings at the National Election Commission was “nefariously altered”. 

Although Mr. Urey has yet to provide evidence of provision that he claimed where altered and the culprit, the allegation opened a cann of worms with claims and counter-claims. The tension reached crescendo when Madam Karnga-Lawrence, against an agreement by the National Advisory Council, comprising of all four Political Leaders and Chairpersons of the CPP, to have the team of Lawyers of the CPP who worked on the amendment of Framework Document validate the investigative findings, proceeded to release part of a contested report. She went on to apportion blame to Mr. Cummings and asked him to take responsibility for Urey’s allegation and the fallout from it.

Cummings responded to her allegation and catalogued a litany of steps and missteps that marred the preparation of the Final Document and how it was submitted to the National Elections Commission. He wondered by the Senator Karnga-Lawrence was being ‘deceptive’ while the other political leaders of the CPP were quiet about her allegation as if they are not aware of the steps that characterized the submission of the final Framework Document. 

Some observers have linked Amb. Boakai’s lukewarm posture in having this issue amicably resolved to two things: he is going to be a beneficiary of the confusion, that is, it creates an easy way for him to elected standard bearer of the CPP due to the allegation levied on Cummings and two, Sen. Karnga-Lawrence’s payback for allowing this confusion is the slot for the running mate to Mr. Boakai on the CPP ticket. 

All these have led to major confusion not only among the leadership of the CPP, but key members and followers of the constituent members of the CPP are now at loggerheads with each other – that is Boakai’s second challenge in unifying the CPP.

Supporters of all sides in the CPP has gone at each other with enormous venom and  viciousness that leaves observers to wonder whether the wounds created might heal in time, even after the CPP has settled on its candidate for the ensuring 2023 election. The spillover effect of the hostility within the bloc has seen disagreement and splits amongst opinion leaders of all constituent parties and most notably might be the underlying struggle faced by the Liberty Party.

More complicated for Boakai is his close alignment with some of the notorious perpetrators of the mudslinging, including controversial political commentator Henry Costa, who has openly endorsed him and now work on his propaganda team dubbed “Boakai’s Tac Team. Mr.  Urey, who has openly endorse Boakai and is believed to be his strongest backer to date, is also at the center of most of the controversy within the CPP. Not only is Urey a blood relative of Costa, he is also the Political Leader of the ALP, which Costa and his daughter Talia Urey, another open critic of Cummings, are executives of. 

But Boakai Calls for Calm

Despite the sophisticated disagreement within the CPP, its new chairman, Mr. Boakai, has called for stronger ties among the four collaborating political parties, irrespective of the rigmarole that has engulfed them.

“Fellow Liberians and Partisans, the past few months have been fraught with difficulties creating anxiety in the public and a sense of implosion within the CPP. We recognize these challenges, which have occasioned internal wrangling and a distasteful impression,” Boakai stressed while accepting the Chairmanship of CPP.

“However, we implore you to not allow differences and internal wrangling to define the CPP, no matter how contentious they have become.

“This is because social, economic, or political conflicts are events that can be transformed into good. We must also see the positives in our differences, as these disagreements and healthy exchanges are the labor pains of the collaboration. Just as a mother experiences discomfort in childbirth but finds joy at the sight of her newborn baby, so also will our differences be transformed into unity and a common purpose in changing our country for the good of all.”

According to him, only an unerringly commitment and dedication to a daring cause can enable the CPP to collectively remain poised to win in 2023.

Boakai who is expected to Chair the CPP as its Chairperson for the next eight months, assured Liberians that the collaboration will be “strong after the storm,” and will continue to demonstrate its purpose in pursuing the path of providing alternative and responsible leadership for the people of Liberia.

He said: “Over the next eight months of our leadership, the CPP will be institutionalized. We will entrench our feet so deep that victory will be the only option. We will not betray our country. Our people have given us their confidence, we will not disappoint them.”

Therefore, he sees it prudent that reuniting forces as an alliance, and joining with millions of other Liberians across the country and the Diaspora, will effectively break what he calls, “the cycle of abject poverty, impunity, illiteracy, disease, social injustice, dictatorship, corruption and other challenges that haunt the present, and most profoundly the future.”

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