Liberia: Benoni Urey Alleges Tampering of CPP Framework Document; Wants It Recalled from the National Elections Commission

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MONROVIA – The political leader of the All Liberian Party (ALP) has alleged that high-ranking members of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) have altered the framework of the political body, despite it being existence for over a year.

Mr. Benoni Urey failed to mention the names of those he believes altered the framework, neither did he mention which part of the framework has been tampered with.

The CPP comprise four political parties from the opposition bloc including the ALP, the Unity Party (UP), Liberty Party (LP) and the Alternative National Congress (ANC).

In an August 18 communication to the chair of the CPP, Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, Mr. Urey stated that his allegation stemmed from information gathered from impeccable sources and its validity cannot be doubted. 

He alleged, “Madam Chair, this letter essentially seeks to inform you that the All Liberian Party (ALP) has reliably learned that certain portions and clauses within the organic framework document of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) have been dubiously, viciously, and purposefully altered allegedly by some nefarious individuals within the hierarchy of the CPP – and replaced by ‘Alien Clauses’ to engender ulterior motives.” 

He added, “While the ALP would not 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.”

Mr. Urey then urged Senator Karnga-Lawrence to launch and investigation into what he termed as “a potential looming danger that could derail the CPP”.

He called for the establishment of an independent investigative panel comprising four members of good reputation and at the same time, inform the National Elections Commission (NEC) of the “alleged notorious tampering of the Framework documents within the NEC possession.”

Mr. Urey called for the retrieval of the Framework document from the NEC so that it can be compared to the original and organic copy that bares the signatures of all four leaders of the CPP.

Could This Be A Game?

Urey’s allegation comes when there is a similar allegation by Senator Karnga-Lawerence, political leader of the Liberty Party, against her the party Chairman, Musa Bility. She alleged that version of the party’s amended constitution which was submitted to the NEC was altered. She called for the withdrawal of the constitution.\

However, the NEC urged the Liberty Party to use internal mechanisms to resolve their differences.

Speaking on Urey’s complaint, a member of the CPP who asked for anonymity questioned why the ALP political leader would raise the issue when the Framework document had been in existence for more than a year.

The CPP member said they believe that Mr. Urey is looking for loopholes to leave the CPP arrangement and break the collaboration. 

“More than one year later, they are now claiming that the CPP Framework Agreement submitted at NEC is altered but fails to state which portions were altered. This comes on the brink of the LP internal constitution saga where Nyonblee and Dillon alleged to be supporting UP are accusing the party chairman and SG alleged to be supporting Cummings of altering LP Constitution,” he said.

What is the CPP Framework Document?

The four political parties on April 25, 2020 finalized the legal document that binds them together a collaboration.

The Framework document was intended to create an environment in which each constituent political party shall feel secured politically, socially and economically through the tenets of democracy including the rule of law; create a formidable political organization at all times and period in the history of Liberia; advance causes of common interest for the duration of the alliance; and, work towards a merger in the future.

The Hanging Beef

The CPP’s white elephant has always been the feud between the political leader of the Alternative National Congress Alexander B. Cummings and Mr. Urey.

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 last October2019, 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.

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.

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