Liberia: “No Crisis in the CPP”, Says ANC’s Alexander Cummings Despite Growing Disenchantment in Opposition Alliance

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ALEXANDER CUMMINGS: “We are competing for the leadership of the CPP. Some of our supporters, you know, get carried away, personalize the competition.  But no. I will not say we have a crisis. We are just competing for the hearts and minds of the partisans of the CPP.  And as I mentioned, you know, we’ve got some folks that get carried away and personalize it”

MONROVIA – The Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) is not in crisis, rather, supporters of various leaders of the CPP who competing to head the CPP ticket for the 2023 presidential election, have personalized the competition and giving the impression of a crisis within, Alexander Cummings, the political leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) has told the VOA’s James Butty.

The CPP comprise four opposition political parties which grouped together with the aim of working together politically to unseat the George Weah-led Coalition for Democratic Change which also comprise three political parties.

The political parties making up the CPP are the ANC, the former ruling Unity Party (UP) led by former Vice President Joseph Boakai, All Liberian Party led by Benoni Urey and the Liberty Party led by Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence.

Recently, the political leader of the All Liberian Party, Mr. Benoni Urey alleged that the CPP Framework document had been altered, according to his sources, and requested the chairman of CPP to recall the Framework document from the National Elections Commission (NEC).

In his allegation, Mr. Urey stated, “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.”

“I think we need to run the process. If we followed the process we have agreed and the outcome is that somebody else, if it is former Vice President Joe Boakai wins the domination, I will support. I will not go and start another and break away. I will not do that because this is about the country. It’s not about myself. But I want to run the process and will live with the outcome of that decision, whatever decision is made by the partisans of he CPP…”

– Alexander B. Cummings, Political Leader, Alternative National Congress

It’s a Competition

Despite these grave allegations from one of the leaders within the CPP which Mr. Cummings had earlier sharply reacted to, he told the VOA that Liberia’s democracy is young and the CPP is newly formed collaboration.

“We are competing for the leadership of the CPP. Some of our supporters, you know, get carried away, personalize the competition.  But no. I will not say we have a crisis. We are just competing for the hearts and minds of the partisans of the CPP.  And as I mentioned, you know, we’ve got some folks that get carried away and personalize it,” he said.

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 is on record for disclosing his preference for 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.”

Just a Propaganda

Questioned on the allegation of him bribing his way through the CPP delegates to win their votes at the convention, Mr. Cummings said, the allegations were mere propaganda, noting that the CPP has not even agreed on the process that would lead to the selection of delegates yet.

He said, “I don’t know how you can be ‘bribing’ delegates when we haven’t even agreed the criteria yet for how delegates will be selected, how they will vote, etc.  You know, bribing media outlets again is all propaganda.  What appears to be happening is that when people, whether the media or individuals are supporting me, somehow, it’s because we are paying them. And when they support others, it is because they are being patriotic. But it’s all political; it’s all propaganda; it is not true, and we are undeterred and we will be undeterred”.

He, however, stated that he remains undeterred and would compete to be the standard bearer for the CPP.

He at the same time said he will be willing to support former vice president Boakai should he win the primary.

Cummings: “I think we need to run the process. If we followed the process we have agreed and the outcome is that somebody else, if it is former Vice President Joe Boakai wins the domination, I will support. I will not go and start another and break away. I will not do that because this is about the country. It’s not about myself. But I want to run the process and will live with the outcome of that decision, whatever decision is made by the partisans of he CPP…”

Not Deterred by Native-Cangau Politics

The ANC political leader said despite the ‘divisive’ politics of native versus congau politics, he managed to come fifth in the 2017 presidential election and came third in seven of the 15 counties though he entered politics 18 months prior to the election.

“Liberians are focused on change; Liberians are struggling; Liberians live in a country that has wealth but they are poor. Liberians want all the things everybody in the world wants – good education for their children, good health care, good infrastructure, and that’s what I’m focused on. I believe that’s what Liberians are focused on. And so, that’s why I’m not bordered by it; that’s why I believe it is propaganda,” he said.

Superficial Action against Corruption

Cummings believe that corruption which is endemic in Liberia is not being fought with adequate financial and human resources.

He said the country’s approach of rooting corruption from the roots is not systematic, rather “superficial” making specific reference to Makenneh Keita, the Coordinator of Special Projects in the office of the President.

Ms. Keita recently came under the corruption spotlight when three South Africans who claimed to have come to Liberia to invest in energy and waste management alleged that Ms. Keita, posing as Minister of Special Projects, seized their passports and asked that they pay US$5 million before she could arrange their investment meetings with the appreciate authorities.

Ms. Keita was suspended by the President and instructed to report to the President’s legal advisor, rather than the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, for investigation.

“You have the institutions that are supposed root this out, you’ve got to fund; you have to make sure they have the right people, the right capability; you’ve got to get out of their way. Let the facts lead where the facts lead. But just one of arresting somebody or firing somebody, that’s not a bad thing, but that’s not going to get at the root cause; that’s not going to solve the issue. You have to look at the processes and systems and find out which one of those you need to change because they lend themselves to people being corrupt. You have to simplify processes. When make them complicated, the few people who understand it will exploit it in an environment like ours. You have to pay people a living wage,” he said.

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