Liberia: Head of The Collaboration of Political Parties, Benoni Urey Throws Jab At ANC Leader; Cummings Fires Back
Monrovia – Mr. Benoni Wilfred Urey, head of the Collaboration of Political Parties and political leader of All Liberia Party, has thrown pointed jabs at Mr. Alexander Cummings, political leader of the Alternative National Congress, whose party is one of four making up the CPP.
Report by Rodney D. Sieh, [email protected]
In a call-in to the online Ramah TV at the weekend, Mr. Urey validated a recent FrontPageAfrica report of simmering strains within the political collaboration insinuating that the ANC political leader was deviating from the objectives of the CPP.
A caller to the show sought clarity from Mr. Urey on his assertions that most people do not understand Liberian politics. Said the caller: “This your whole thing of somebody does not understand Liberian politics, what does it mean? Because to me, Liberian politics means lies, corruption and deception. So, explain to me what you mean by someone who does not understand Liberian politics. Because this is the lie some incompetent Liberians tell some ignorant voters.? “Full disclosure, I am an ANC person I support Cummings,” the caller said.
Urey Hints at a ‘Pull Out of the CPP’
“Look, I appreciate the fact that you support Alex Cummings. I have known Alex for many years. I don’t think Alex is a bad person, and it is his right to run for the presidency. But what people must realize is that while it is your right to support him, it is my right not to support him also.”– Mr. Benoni Urey, Political Leader, All Liberia Party
Mr. Urey, responding to the caller in an angry tone said: “Look, I appreciate the fact that you support Alex Cummings. I have known Alex for many years. I don’t think Alex is a bad person, and it is his right to run for the presidency. But what people must realize is that while it is your right to support him, it is my right not to support him also. “
Mr. Urey went on to suggest that “a former president is working hard through some people to pull out of the CPP.”
Said Mr. Urey: “From the beginning of the collaboration, we all agreed to put aside our presidential ambition and later on decide a standard bearer for the collaborating political parties, but unfortunately, people have deviated from that. The first step is to sign the collaboration document by November 6 and after that we will merge. If any party feels they cannot merge, let them leave and go but we will merge. The ones that are left to merge as one political party, we will get a political leader and we will move ahead. After collaboration we will have a merger, and after merger and the new party will go to a convention and elect a leader. At one point in time, all four of us wanted to be president. But now we need to look out for the good of the country and not at own political ambitions.”
The ALP leader then insinuated that Mr. Cummings was not qualified to be president because of he had not been in Liberia long enough.
Said Mr. Urey: “I have known Alex Cummings for most of my life. When we were coming up, he was in Liberia. He left for about 35 to 40 years and he reappeared in Liberia. Yes, he’s an extremely successful young man, he worked for Coca cola, in a structured society and he has come home to Liberia to run for the presidency. It is his constitutional right. He is a Liberian; it is his constitutional right to run for the presidency. Let’s not decry him. Let the people of Liberia decide. But…let’s go over to Benoni Urey. For me, I want the world to know that I do not have to be president of Liberia.
Mr. Urey then expressed his support for former Vice President Joseph Boakai as his choice for President in 2023.
Said the ALP leader: “I want to go first to the former vice president Joe Nyumah Boakai. Look , we must be respectful to our elders. I am a traditional man and we grew up with certain traditions. We always respect our elders; and where we are today, we need people with wisdom, knowledge and understanding of the social, cultural, and economic, the political conditions we find ourselves today. And it’s important that we elect a mature person to the presidency. You know people keep making reference to Joe Boakai for being vice president for 12 years and doing nothing; that he was a part of a government and he accomplished nothing; and look, we all participated in government . 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.”
Cummings: Urey ‘Far from the Truth’
“I have remained consistently involved with the development and progress of my country and it is unfortunate that Benoni will attempt to mislead the people of Liberia for his own personal reasons. I have been focused on working in communities across Liberia and committing resources to those languishing at the bottom of the economic ladder. It is sad that Mr. Urey feels the way he feels but it will not deter me from my objectives and responsibilities as the political leader of the ANC.”– Mr. Alexander Cummings, Alternative National Congress
In a statement Sunday, the ANC leader expressed grave disappointment about Mr. Urey’s insinuations.
Said Mr. Cummings: “I have read with grave disappointment, insinuations, from someone who I thought was a good colleague, Mr. Benoni Urey that I, Alexander Cummings, am deviating from the plans of the Collaboration of Political Parties(CPP). To the contrary, this is far from the truth.”
Mr. Cummings said since the four political parties agreed to come together on February 21, 2019 and affixed their signatures to the document of collaboration, he has supported Mr. Urey and respected him as the rotational chair of the CPP and offered him his unflinching support. “The Alternative National Congress(ANC) wholeheartedly supported the June 7th Save the State Protest and I personally was on the campaign trail to support his daughter and ALP’s candidate, Telia Urey’s quest for the District No. 15 Representative’s seat. Incidentally, she was the best candidate and is an impressive young leader.”
Mr. Cummings continued: “I have done nothing but respect and live up to the objectives for which the CPP was formulated. For anyone to now try to paint me as something I have never subscribed to in my professional and political life is pathetic, absurd and raises questions about their motives.”
Addressing Mr. Urey’s claims that he is a stranger to Liberia, Mr. Cummings said: “Like many Liberians, I was born at the Old Government Hospital in Monrovia and grew up on Bushrod Island in the Point Four Area. My parents lived in Point Four but my aunt and grandparents lived in Logan Town where I spent a lot of time as well. I attended the Demonstration Elementary School and later enrolled at CWA where I met Amb. Boakai. I graduated from CWA and attended Cuttington University in Bong County for two years before going to the US to complete my undergraduate degree. Upon graduation, I returned to Liberia and worked at LBDI bank at the time for a few years. I later went back to the US for my master’s degree where I was until the war broke out and I could not return home. However, upon our transition to a democratic government in 2005, I made regular visits to Liberia every other year and many times, was guest of honor to then Vice President Boakai. During the Ebola period, I was in Liberia leading a team of professionals sponsored by Coca Cola to provide support to our government in the fight against Ebola.”
The ANC leader says he has remained consistently involved with the development and progress of our country and it is unfortunate that Benoni will attempt to mislead the people of Liberia for his own personal reasons.
Said Mr. Cummings: “I have been focused on working in communities across Liberia and committing resources to those languishing at the bottom of the economic ladder. It is sad that Mr. Urey feels the way he feels but it will not deter me from my objectives and responsibilities as the political leader of the ANC. Now is not the time to be fighting amongst ourselves or pointing fingers. This is not the time for anyone, especially the chair of the CPP to be castigating another member. Our focus now should be addressing the needs of the Liberian people and holding the George Weah-led government accountable for the massive looting of our country and governance missteps which are plummeting our country down the drain.”
FrontPageAfrica reported last week that visible strains and recent By-elections in both Representatives and Senatorial races were among a wave of issues causing cracks within the collaboration amid egos, distrusts and resentment amongst the hierarchy of the CPP.
The alliance came together on February 21st, this year with all four figures who were standard-bearers for their respective parties affixing their signatures, pledging through a resolution and assuring their respective constituencies that unlike previous alliances, this latest attempt would be different.
Mr. Urey, in particular, acknowledged the apprehensions and fears associated with such a collaboration, judging from past experiences. “Over the years we have heard the clarion call from Liberians both at home and abroad and also the call from our international partners of the need for the opposition to unite. Today at Unity’s Party headquarter we are announcing to the world that we are united. Today we will be signing a document that begins the process of the unity we have been craving for years. We have decided to put Liberia first and to attune our political agenda in the interest of Liberia and the Liberian people; and above our individual and partisan ambitions. We are taking the bold and concrete step which we hope will never be reversed or undone.”