Liberia: Cummings, Boakai Spar on Who Heads Collaborating Political Parties Ticket in 2023

ALEXANDER CUMMINGS: “I think my good friend Joe Boakai is in error. No one person in the Collaborating Political Parties can boast of defeating President Weah”

BONG COUNTY – Alexander Cummings of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) has said only a united opposition can defeat President George Weah in the 2023 presidential elections, not just former Vice President Joseph Boakai.

Boakai, who finished second to President Weah in the 2017 presidential elections, had said in a recent interview with talk show host Henry Costa that “he’s the only one capable of bringing President Weah down” in the 2023 presidential elections,” because “he has been tested evidenced by the number of votes he garnered in the 2017 presidential elections”.

But Cummings, speaking on Radio Gbarnga, a local radio station in Bong County during his tour of the county last week, said a united opposition is the only solution to defeating President Weah in 2023.

“I think my good friend Joe Boakai is in error. No one person in the Collaborating Political Parties can boast of defeating President Weah,” Cummings said. “It requires the collective efforts of every one of us, and that’s what we are looking up to.”

The ANC political leader cited the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) victory in the Special Senatorial Elections on Dec. 8, 2020 as an indication that togetherness is key to defeating President Weah. The CPP won eight of the senatorial seats in the December 8, 2020 senatorial elections.

The Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) lost Montserrado County, President Weah’s stronghold, to Senator Darius Dillon of the Liberty Party. Dillon overwhelmingly defeated Thomas Fallah, though Fallah outspent Dillon. In Bong County, the home of Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, the CPP’s Prince Moye, also defeated the CDC’s Henry Yallah.

The ANC political leader said the success achieved on December 8 was because all four political parties in the CPP buried their egos, selfishness and sentiments, and it wasn’t based on the popularity of one political leader.

“No one political leader in the CPP can claim glory of the feat in the December 8 Special Senatorial Elections. It was based on the unity demonstrated by every constituent party within the CPP that ensured us victory,” he said. “The CPP wouldn’t have won if all of the four fielded candidates in counties won by the four collaborating political parties. That showed unity and that’s the only way we (CPP) can defeat President Weah by demonstrating similar strategy ahead of the 2023 presidential elections”.

Three years on since the alliance was formed, concerns raised by many as to whether the CPP will survive ahead of 2023 still linger on the minds of many.

All four parties appear to have lost control of their bases and supporters. Leaders of all four parties have been accused of failing to keep their supporters in check – but more importantly guard against them going at each others’ throats.

It is in this backdrop that Senator Abraham Darius Dillon (Liberty Party, Montserrado) foresees the problem. “If everybody is too good to head the ticket and the other person is not good to head the ticket, why are we making the people to believe that we can come together?” the Senator lamented in a Facebook Live Sunday night.

Senator Dillon wondered: “Where is our democratic maturity? If we believe that each of our standard bearers is the best to contest, why are we under one umbrella? The person who endorse Joseph Boakai has the right to do so, the person who endorses Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence should have the right to do so. But you can’t think your right to endorse Cummings is better than the other person right to endorse Joseph Boakai.”

For Dillon the writing on the wall points to imminent dangers if the CPP fails to hold it together. “Only CPP can defeat CPP”, he says. “Too much is hinging on what we do, how we do it and when we do it. Start to put the emotions, the sentiments, the impulse aside, egos, selfishness, me, myself and I attitude aside and let us allow reasoning to prevail.”

CPP on the brink?

The debacle within the CPP has escalated in recent weeks with the two leading political leaders making the media rounds to explain why they should head the ticket.

Former Vice President Boakai, says he is confident of receiving the CPP’s nomination to be the standard-bearer to lead the collaboration in 2023. “If the CPP wants to win and take Weah down, Boakai is the man to do that this is in no disrespect to my colleagues in the CPP,” the former Vice President said.

For Mr. Cummings, he says he will throw his support behind whoever clinches the nomination. “I believe whoever wins the nomination we will stick together as a group and make Mr. Weah a one-term President. I’m going to make my case to the CPP partisans, and then, the partisans will decide. I’m confident we will do the work and together, we can make President Weah,, a one-term President.”

Amid the competitive nature of the ongoing CPP process, Senator Dillon says the process should be embraced by all. “We are in a democratic process where Unity Party is justified to project a political leader the standard-bearer, ALP should have the right to project a standard-bearer. Same with Liberty Party. Liberty Party should be allowed and have the right to project their standard-bearer. We did not form CPP to ordain a particular person without whom CPP can’t survive. That was not the intent, that was not the motive, that was not the justification. We came together to pull our resources together, to bring our ideas together, to merge our principles together, our values, our vision for the country, bring them together so that, together, we can have the numbers and the unity in strength to defeat the evil that is over this country, to remove the gang that is ruling and wrecking this country.”

Litmus test for the CPP?

Over the past few days supporters of all four parties have taken to social media to flirt with various variations of pairing they think could put the CPP in the best position to take on President Weah: Boakai-Cummings; Boakai-Dillon; Boakai-Urey; Cummings-Dillon; Cummings-Lawrence.

The CPP is expected to elect a standard bearer that would in December this year to lead the collaboration in the 2023 presidential elections, and Cummings believes that is crucial to defeating President Weah.