Monrovia — The chairperson of the opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, has accused the standard bearer of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Alexander Cummings, of making a number of ‘significant’ procedural lapses leading to the submission of the Framework Document with the National Elections Commission (NEC) as chair of the CPP.
Among a number of allegations, according to the Grand Bassa senator, is the original framework that was signed on the 19th of May 2020. According to her, it did not have September or November deadlines for consensus building as was submitted by Mr. Cummings.
“December 1, 2021 was the only deadline set. And section 11.4 of the Amended copy maintain the date of December 1, 2021 as deadline for consensus building. So the Amended copy concur with 10.5.1.2 of the original Framework document. While the filed copy added September 30th and November, 2021 as deadlines and dialogue for consensus building,” she says.
Karnga-Lawrence added that the original Framework Agreement, according to Section 10.5.3, defines primary as the process by which delegates nominated by the alliance members can indicate their preference to the alliance’s candidate in an upcoming general elections, local election or by-election; while the amended and filed copies define primary as an assembly of delegates convened to elect/select CPP and alliances’ candidates for upcoming presidential, legislative and local elections or by elections.
Senator Karnga-Lawrence further said that definitions that were removed from the original document leaves a lot of ambiguity in the candidate eligibility and selection process.
Citing one example, she added: “The clause on Health (section 10.1.10). While the clause in the definitions ‘’Good State of Health” was included in both document (amended version & Filed copy) as to means, a state of physical and mental capacity that enables a person to effectively discharge the responsibilities of an elected office. (Article 1.10).”
Karnga-Lawrence also alleged that it is being observed that the Original Framework Document has December 1, 2021, Wednesday as the date to reach a consensus in selecting both the presidential and vice presidential ticket. And in the event no consensus is reached, the nomination process must be determined at the primaries, while the amended and filed copy of the framework 11.4 talks about consensus dates of September 30th and November 2021.
But she claimed the issue of eligibility to stand for elections for presidential and legislative candidates under subsection 10.3.1 and section 10.3.1.2 was changed.
“Additionally, Article 10 (Definitions) of the original framework document was removed; and A broad “not in good state of health “clause as a criterion for selection, as opposed to the detailed conditions that were in the original framework document. The section 10.3.1.2 in the original framework document that talks about a person vying for any electoral seat subsection (i), the Clause,” has been or is a convicted felon, provided such conviction is not derived from a political charge to include, treason, etc, was removed completely. Both the amended copy and the filed copy maintained the descriptions under section 11.1 (Eligibility for contesting),” sh added.
The allegation against Cummings comes after Benoni Urey of the ALP had earlier complained to Karnga Lawrence, that some high ranking members of the collaboration dubiously altered the Framework Agreement binding the four political parties.
Cummings: “I didn’t alter the Framework Agreement
For his part, Cummings said he didn’t alter the Framework Agreement, but acted honorably in registering the CPP.
Cummings acknowledged that the CPP has struggled with public distrust, and expressed regrets that such disagreements have unfortunately spilled into the public.
The ANC standard bearer said such public disagreements and distrusts have turned attention to CPP at the advantage of President George Weah.
“We have all known, and I believe the public expected, that our decision to come together would have moments of disagreements. But no disagreement should weigh against our collective resolve to always put the interests of the Liberian people first, which is to hold the Weah government accountable; help to ease the suffering of Liberians under this corrupt, incompetent and wasteful government; and democratically end the failed Weah administration as a one-term presidency,” Cummings says.
Cummings, meanwhile, called for calm within the CPP “despite the strong sentiments of feeling provoked, often alone, and without choice but to fight back for their and mine hard earned reputation.”