MONROVIA – The blanket allegation cast by the political leader of the All Liberia Party (ALP) on his colleagues within the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) isn’t going down well with a constituent member – Alexander Cummings of the Alternative National Congress (ANC). Mr. Cummings believes the language used in making the allegation of altering the CPP’s Framework document could “evoke acrimony and cast aspersion on the integrity of the CPP.
Mr. Benoni Urey last week wrote the chairman of the opposition conglomeration that he had received cogent information from impeachable sources that portions of the CPP’s Framework document with National Elections Commission (NEC) had been altered by “some nefarious individuals within the hierarchy of the CPP and replaced by Alien Clauses to engender ulterior motives”.
Mr. Urey alleged in a complaint to the CPP chair, Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence: “While the ALP would not want to cast aspersions and make fast conclusions now, however, the unimpeachable sources from which we gathered this information, we can by no means possible doubt its validity. We are also cautioned not to take this information for granted because if such subversive maneuvering is not decisively foiled and dismissed, the CPP must brace for a fate of fatal consequences. It is no gainsaying that such a despicable and woeful act, if permitted to happen, will spell upon the CPP a brazen doom.”
In his reaction to these assertions, a copy of Mr. Cummings communication to the CPP chair obtained by FrontPageAfrica, indicates that he finds it strange that Mr. Urey would be making such an allegation one year after their coming together as one body, without the benefit of any internal consideration of its accuracy and validity.
“Given that Benoni accuses no one directly, he thereby, unfairly accuses everyone indirectly. I find it unacceptable that such strongly worded letter, laced with threats to the survival of this collaboration is void of any specific details – he points to no specific provision in the document that he claims is altered, does not say when he believes it was altered, does not say who are the “nefarious” individuals amongst us in the hierarchy that altered it but yet invites the CPP through your Office and the Liberian people, to embark on a wild-goose chase,” Cummings stated.
According to him, using the CPP’s time and resources to launch an investigation without any lead would be inappropriate. “We cannot and must not run the CPP on mere gossips and rumors,” he stated.
Cummings urged Senator Karnga-Lawrence to challenge Mr. Urey to provide the necessary specifics of his allegation as his allegation could only be intended to evoke rancor within the CPP.
Cummings further stated: “Should our colleague choose to provide the necessary information to warrant serious consideration, I urge your good offices to first engage the Legal Team on the validity of those specific claims, out of respect for the fact that they were clothed with the authority to amend the Framework and produced the final copy. Based on the outcome of such engagement and if warranted, institute a speedy investigation through our existing dispute resolution mechanisms. There is absolutely no reason, except for one best known to our colleague, to skip these processes and write the National Elections Commission (NEC) as suggested by him when the Framework document filed at the NEC with their official stamp and signature, is in the possession of the Liberty Party as turned over by the ANC/CPP SG at the beginning of LP’s chairmanship. That copy can be easily compared to the lawyers’ final copy reflective of our input and this matter be laid to rest.”
Similar Allegation in LP
Ironically, Mr. Urey’s complaint of tampering with the CPP Framework document comes at a time with the CPP Chair who also happens to be the political leader of the Liberty Party, had registered a similar complaint with the National Elections Commission and had opted to withdraw the Liberty Party’s amended constitution from the NEC.
She alleged that the party chairman, Mr. Musa Bility, submitted an altered version of the amended constitution and did not follow established procedure in submitting the document. But Mr. Bility has denied the allegation and insists that the constitution remains wholesome as prepared and agreed upon at their last convention.
In a communication addressed to the chairperson of the National Elections Commission, Madam Davidetta Brown-Lansannah, Sen. Karnga-Lawrence stated that several laid out and accepted processes were not followed before the submission of the amended constitution.
According to the Nyonblee, the amended constitution submitted by the party chairman, Mr. Musa H. Bility was neither reviewed nor approved by her. She stated that the minutes/report of the Special Convention which she presided over was also not reviewed or approved by her.
“A preliminary analysis, after a receipt of said document from your office upon my request, has revealed numerous errors including potential alterations amidst procedural error and breaches, the intent of which is subject to conjecture,” she stated in her communication to the NEC.
The communication continued: “All the above are in violation of established procedures, the Liberty Party By-laws & constitution, the rules of the NEC, amongst others. However, to maintain party unity, and arrive at a solution, I am appointing an inquiry committee. In the interim, the last adopted constitution of 2015 and filed with the National Elections Commission within the statutory time shall govern the affairs of the Liberty Party.”
Mr. Bility denied her claims and maintained that the submission of the amended constitution was done in line with the laid-out procedure and, in fact, the Constitution Review Committee, was commended by Sen. Karnga-Lawrence.
Meanwhile, the NEC urged the LP to use the LP’s internal conflict resolution mechanism to resolve the issue.
Both Cummings and Urey have not enjoyed a good relationship since the formation of the CPP and their feud remains the white elephant in the CPP.
Both men have traded barbs over petty differences bordering egos even as the conundrum reaches a boiling point.
Mr. Urey has publicly declared that Mr. Cummings, in his own words, “was not fit to be President”, owing to his late arrival on the political landscape.
Mr. Urey says he prefers former Vice President Joseph Boakai. “People usually elect people who have worked in government. You don’t elect people who just come from a country and come to another country and want to be president. You elect people based on their experience and based on their reputation. And I think of the 3 candidates, Joe Boakai has the most experience; Joe Boakai has stood the test of time, and he’s a relatively decent person.”
As many took Mr. Urey to task over the timing and proximity of his comments, Mr. Cummings did not hold back, and has repeatedly expressed grave disappointment in Mr. Urey’s attacks, questioning the timing and impact of such a statement at a time when the opposition should be holding together.
Mr. Urey’s assertions, Mr. Cummings said in October 2019, is a deviation from the objectives of the CPP. “Those assertions are far from the truth. When the four (4) political parties agreed to come together on February 21, 2019 and we all affixed our signatures to the document, we decided to work together in a collaboration of independent parties and by 2023, put forth a single ticket for the Presidency in 2023.”
Mr. Cummings said at the time, he has supported Mr. Urey as the Chairman of the CPP and offered him his unflinching support during his tenure and also made financial contributions and was on the campaign trail to support his daughter, Telia Urey’s quest for the District No. 15 Representative’s seat in the 2019 by-election.
Despite the controversy, the beef between the pair remains unsettled and unresolved, prompting many political observers to suggest that the collaboration is in danger of a collapse if it is not resolved in time for the 2023 general and presidential elections.