Liberia: Ruling Party Chairman Gives MTN Ultimatum to Break Partnership with Liberian Businessman Benoni Urey
Monrovia – Mulbah Morlu, chairman of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), has given an ultimatum to Liberia’s longest existing cell phone company, Lonestar Cell MTN, to distance itself from Mr. Benoni Urey or risks a repercussion, which the CDC chairman termed “citizens’ withdrawal from the company services”.
Morlu, at a news conference Wednesday, May 1, told journalists that Mr. Urey, along with his allies, is allegedly using the GSM service provider as a “spy company” on political opponents by secretly recording subscribers’ conversations and diverging them to media practitioners for “smear campaigns”.
“MTN must distance themselves from Urey politics of antagonism, hate and violence. If they fail to do so we will call on our people to reconsider their decision in doing business with Lonestar MTN. We have not arrived there yet but this is a caveat.”
Without providing any shread of evidence for his allegations against the company, the controversial chairman warned the telecom giant to distance itself from Mr. Urey, who is a political opponent of the CDC-led government.
According to Morlu, Lonestar’s association with Urey, who is the political leader of the opposition All Liberian Party (ALP), will break them down.
Morlu added: “He is setting the basis of their demise by dragging them into politics. I as a person I am reviewing my subscription with Lonestar MTN.”
The ruling party chairman also claimed that one of Mr. Urey’s daughters whose name he failed to disclose is on the board of Lonestar.
According to him everytime he buys a recharge card, he is supporting the Urey family, including his daughter on the board.
Mr. Urey used to be a shareholder in the company until he announced that he was disassociating himself from the company during the heat of the political season in 2017.
During that 2017 Presidential and General Elections, Mr. Urey was one of the many candidates, who opposed or ran against President George Weah, who himself ran, too, against the ruling party’s candidate, former Vice-President Joseph N. Boakai.
Urey and all others were defeated by Morlu’s candidate – President Weah.
Urey has emerged as one of the critical but subtle critics of the government. Urey’s ALP has openly declared support for the planned June 7 protest, which is being organized by a group of Liberians under the banner, “Council of Patriots”.
Pointing Accusing Fingers at Ellen
Morlu didn’t only accuse Urey and Lonestar MTN, he also pointed fingers at former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. He further included Mr. Alexander B. Cummings, political leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) and former Vice President Joseph Boakai of allagedly funding the planned June 7 protest.
According to the controversial CDC chairman, Madam Sirleaf’s alleged anger stamps from the government’s decision to arrest her son, Charles Sirleaf, one of the governors of the Central Bank of Liberia, in ongoing investigations into the missing L$16 billion saga.
Morlu used the press conference to call on all of his fellow partisans of CDC not to engage in any counter protest when the June 7 protesters take to the streets with their planned demonstration.
He added: “We are too busy building roads. Anyone doing so will be doing it without the authorization of the party.”