Liberia – CPP’s 2023 CONUNDRUM: Anointing Candidate to Head Ticket is Recipe for Disaster


WITH THE 2023 Presidential elections lurking on the horizon, the opposition Collaborating Political Parties finds itself in a bid of a complication regarding its best ticket to take on the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change, more importantly, many political observers and skeptics are even unsure, the CPP can continue to hold together before the general elections season rolls around.

OVER THE PAST few days, members of various political parties, making up the CPP, – the All Liberian Party, Liberty Party, Alternative National Congress and the former ruling Unity Party, have been trumpeting the candidate of their choice or who they believe stand the best chance of unseating the George Weah-led government at the polls.

PATRICK HONNAH WRITES: “In earnest, here is my view: JNB- Joseph Nyumah Boakai (UP) number one) and ABC (running mate). How is this difficult for some to decipher? I still believe JNB should be given a last opportunity to showcase his “Think Liberia, Love Liberia, Build Liberia” mantra. I still also believe Cummings should be given an opportunity to play a very active supportive role with his philosophy: “we cannot keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.”

MR. HONNAH BELIEVES that Mr. Cummings should see this as a call to serve the Liberian people and accept! “In fact, he should work with Joe, people will see him as selfless and it could payoff someday win or lose! This is an opportunity for him. This will be the team to beat considering how their individual weaknesses and strengths complement each other.”

WHILE MANY WITHIN the CPP remain divided, opinions are shifting by the day drawing concerns that some may actually be jumping the gun instead of crafting strategies. “It is not politically healthy for us – that some supporters of the individual parties of the CPP are fighting on social media about who should become the standard bearer of the collaboration,” says Talk Show icon Henry Costa. “It saddens me to see this. This needs to stop now! It makes the corrupt and good-for-nothing CDC government happy. Cummings, Boakai, Urey and Nyonblee have their right to aspire to be standard bearer, but the delegates will decide. So, there’s no need to fuss on Facebook.”

THE RUSH TO DECLARE or influence who will head the ticket of the CPP against the ruling party prompted Mr. Musah Hassan Bility to post on social media, the selection criteria in selecting the candidates vying for the Liberian presidency, as enshrined in the framework document of the four collaborating parties.

ACCORDING TO THE AGREEMENT, the first step as document under ​​​Consensus 11.3 of the framework states:  If ALP, ANC, LP, and UP unanimously agree—no later than December 1, 2021, then the CPP will announce the candidate as agreed, and the process ends. But if there is no unanimous agreement (Not majority but EVERY PARTY MUST AGREE—by December 1, 2021), then.”

THE SECOND STEP is the controversial ​Non-Binding Voters Perception Survey (VPS), for the purpose of informing the four parties and their delegates on the views of the general public in preparation for primaries.

THE THIRD STEP NOTES that ​Upon receipt of the results of the VPS, the CPP shall conduct primaries.

ACCORDING TO THE FRAMEWORK, where the CPP is unable, on or before December 1, 2021, to decide/agree on a Presidential Candidature, or is unable to name a Presidential candidate, the CPP shall conduct non-binding Voters’ Perception Surveys (VPS) funded by the CPP for the purpose of informing the CPP and their Delegates to the Convention/General Assembly of the “Voters’ Views” about the Aspirants’ political marketability and public preference for the Presidential and Legislative positions. The Voters Perception Survey (VPS) shall include the Standard Bearers and/or Legislative candidates of each of Constituent Parties of the CPP/Alliance.

IN THE ABSENCE OF REACHING a Consensus on the selection, the CPP/Alliance’s Presidential Ticket, the conduct of the VPS shall be not only mandatory; but same shall be conducted by the CPP no earlier than six (6) months and no later than three (3) months to the scheduled convening of the General Assembly.

SECTION 11.2 under the Mechanisms for Selecting Candidates notes: “The CPP recognizes that political parties are organized along different political interests and ideological persuasions; that their evolution, maturity and stabilization require the harmonization and accommodation of the various interests of the group members. The Constituent Members of the CPP members shall therefore seek to achieve their overall objectives through consensus, compromise, effective communication, robust consultation, fair dispute resolution and social & political networking.”

SECTION 11.3 SCHEDULE for naming CPP Presidential Ticket: The Constituent Political Parties shall endeavor to reach a consensus in selecting the CPP’s Presidential Ticket.

THE FRAMEWORK NOTES that the Presidential Aspirants of the Constituent Political Parties shall have up to and including Wednesday, December 1, 2021 to unanimously decide and name the CPP/Alliance’s Presidential Ticket, including naming a Vice Presidential running mate. In the event no consensus is reached, the nomination process shall proceed to non-binding Voter’s Perception Survey (VPS) and be determined at the Primaries.

SECTION 11.4 regarding the nomination Process states: “The CPP shall utilize three nomination processes to deter- mine the selection of its Presidential, Legislative and other candidates: (i) consensus; (ii) Voter’s Perception Survey; and (iii) Primaries.”

ACCORDING TO THE FRAMEWORK, the CPP shall first engage in a process seeking to select the CPP/Alliance’s Presidential, Legislative and other candidates through consensus. A consensus emanating from this engagement shall be binding on the Constituent Political Parties and same shall be endorsed by the CPP. In the event, and only in the event, consensus cannot be reached, the CPP shall conduct a Voters Perception Survey (VPS) to facilitate the process of selecting and choosing of the Presidential, Legislative and other candidates of the CPP.

WHILE THE FRAMEWORK appears to draw an outline of the selection process, it appears that the CPP finds itself repeatedly drawn into a line internal wrangle amongst the parties within the collaboration.

SUPPORTERS OF ALL FOUR PARTIES – ALP, LP, UP AND ANC appear bent on dismissing the framework which makes the selection process as clear as the light of day.

ALL THIS POINTS to the fact that some within the CPP simply do not trust the process or individual partisans of parties making up the collaboration are more than determined to trumpet their preferences for the presidency over what could eventually decide who is the best candidate to challenge President Weah at the polls.

LIBERIANS ARE KNOWN FOR trumpeting their post-war democracy. They wailed when late President William V.S. Tubman ruled for 27 years until his death, did not stop until they ran the Tolbert administration to a bloody end even though he had not yet completed his term in office and did the same to Samuel Doe, whose bloody coup d’état led to the demise of Tolbert.

ONE OF THE MOST striking examples of democracy lies in the process of the primaries, made popular by the United States of America.

EVERY FOUR YEARS the world watches in awe the US process by which voters indicate their preference for their party’s candidate, or a candidate.

WHILE THE PROCESS HAS ITS flaws, it does speak to the power of democracy.

THIS IS WHY the CPP and its members should refrain from the process of anointing a candidate outside the process enshrined in the framework, especially when the feelings and concerns of four political parties are involved.

THE WHOLE IDEA of such a process or method of nominating candidates is to ensure that, best and most-vetted person is selected to contest for the highest office in the land – and not necessarily the best person in the eyes of one party and its partisans.