The political leader of the All-Liberian Party (ALP) and Chairman of the four opposition Collaborating Political parties (CPP), Benoni Urey, as of his tradition, convened his annual press conference yesterday, flagging salient issues confronting the opposition Collaborating Parties (CPP), the process of selecting a standard-bearer of the CPP and who is presumed to be the most experienced, though boasted of the strength of the ALP. Urey also speaks of marginalization of the opposition bloc by the government amongst others. Urey alluded to reported internal wrangling in CPP, and efforts being made to keep the collaborating parties formidable as he bashed at the CDC government for closing up thereby creating hardship for the Liberian people. The Analyst’s Anthony Jiffan who attended Urey’s media interaction reports.
Mr. Urey spoke highly of the pivotal role of the opposition bloc, especially of the Collaborating political parties and said they in the opposition have been advising the government but the President has not been heeding counsels by the CPP.
Warning President George Manneh Weah that Liberia is for every Liberian including those from all political parties, the CPP Chairman and ALP political leader said the country is not for President Weah and his partisans alone, noting that the opposition parties also have a say in his CDC-led government.
The Liberian businessman-turned politician indicated, “I want to be fair as much as I can, but I will be brutally fair.”
He pointed to some of the problems caused by the government’s marginalization of the opposition as the recent shortage of gasoline on the market, which he believed could not have happened if the President had opened up to the opposition bloc.
“You know we just had a major gasoline shortage in our country and it is unfortunate that have to reach that level. We are happy that it is gradually been improved, even though that is not our concern. Our concern as a people is going forward. What is the President doing to ensure that it doesn’t happen again?”
According to Mr. Urey, the opposition parties have been speaking out by proffering advices but the President wouldn’t listen. “You know, we continue to speak to the President – give him advices and recommendations, but he doesn’t listen. We know however that it is our responsibility to continue to do that if the President goes ahead and appoint the same people that cause this problem. This is intended to help alleviate this problem or to setup the proper framework to ensure that the problem doesn’t reoccur, if we should not be doomed as a people,” Urey lamented.
“We do not have more trained personnel in this government to help the President; the professionals that could help the President are here and he has to open up if we have to move forward like our neighbors, to experience development.
They have to open up; this country is not only for CDCians and I main no harm to CDCians, but I want the best for Liberia.
He said where the CDCians lack the skill and knowledge, the government must go outside to find experts, I mean Liberian experts that could salvage the situation, Mr. Urey averred.
Reiterating that the president has to open up if he must succeed, Urey said, “We continue to sound out these warnings, and he continues not to listen. Once you speak about it, then they start to attack you. But you all know that I am not afraid of attack.”
Hear Mr. Urey: We are aware that this government has failed to some extent, but we must remember from whence we come, and how we got here. We cannot totally blame this government for everything because the CDC government inherited a lot of what is happening.
Notwithstanding his take that the Weah administration inherited some of the problems, Urey said the mistake this government made was its failure to audit the past government. “If you do not do a comprehensive audit of where you started from, all the blame goes to you; and that is what they are experiencing,” he indicated.
The CPP & Its Operations
Urey spoke of the mutual need amongst the four opposition political parties to collaborate under the auspices of the ‘Collaborating Political Parties’ (CPP) to engage the ruling establishment in the interest of the country and its people. He said giving the importance of this, the leaders of the collaborating parties decided to put aside their individual political aspirations and decided to work together in the supreme interest of the Liberian people, saying that they all left their respective political ambitions to seek electoral refund, Unity amongst the people and development in country.
“Approximately a year and half ago, we gathered together as opposition political parties, we saw the need that we collaborate in order to have strength and with the blessing of you all, we organized ourselves into a body called the Collaborating Political Parties; at that point in time, we decided that we will put aside our individual political aspirations and we will work in the supreme interest of the Liberian people,” he emphasized.
. Saying “…we have kept that promise,” Urey intoned that none of the political leaders of the CPP has clamor for wanting to be president, neither did the people hear them saying such.
“You have not heard me talking I want to be president all over the place, neither did you hear my colleagues saying it.
“Generally, that is because we said we have left that aside, and committed ourselves that at the appropriate time after our respective political parties would have gone to conventions and elected us, we would all meet as standard bearers and decide who will head the collaboration.”
That decision, he intimated, remains supreme in his mind. “I took it seriously, because we stood before all of you and the Liberian people and we said we were laying our political ambition aside; and for two years we have fought for the Liberian people and you all can attest to what we have been doing. We have not make noise about who becomes president amongst us because there is no need for that. All of you and Liberians everywhere know that we have been working to ensure that the Liberian people prevail.”
Urey said the CPP has reached a critical stage in their collaboration when it appointed a working committee to do a framework document for the partnership, a committee, which he said, has been working very well. “But where we have problem is, I listen to people in the media, that there is confusion in the CPP concerning the delay of the documentation etc., he noted.
The ALP boss admonished every Liberian, especially members of the opposition, to be aware of one fact that in any political gathering, organization, party or whatever way it may be called, there is bound to be differences. “We are coming from four political parties with many actors, so it is not an easy task to get everybody synchronized on one frequency to move forward,” he said.
“You know in politics people disagree to agree. We have our share of it in the collaboration with people agreeing and disagreeing on issues. But what is of paramount importance in this process is that at the end, we stand united and fight whatever differences we have, which has not been easy.”
He said when the collaboration started, the leaders asked the media and Liberians of all spheres to contribute to ensure that the opposition stand together on national issues so that the rights of the people will be defended and protected.
As 2023 draws nearer, who becomes the standard-bearer of the CPP has been a sticky question which Mr. Urey attempted to address at his media engagement.
Although he said the media and other Liberians have played their roles in ensuring that they stay together, he however hinted that the CPP has one issue in the collaboration framework document, which he decided to share with the people.
“There was a major contention in the document and that has to do with how the standard bearer will be elected. You know, all of you are cognizant of one thing that standard bearers are elected at primaries and conventions according to the Liberian electoral laws and practices,” Mr. further hinted, saying, “I Benoni Urey, political leader of the All Liberian Party, will not accept anything less than going to a primary and convention to elect our standard bearer, because that is constitutional in our country.”
Pointing to what he referred to as “Voters Perspective Search (VPS)” on the internet, he said, “We do not have objection to that survey; but what we are saying is that it cannot be part of the election for the standard bearer of the CPP.”
He said he has nothing against the ‘Voter Perspective Search’ which he noted can be used as guide, but added that it is left with them, the leaders of the CPP, to decide who they will elect as their standard-bearer.
Asked a question as to who is qualified among the leaders of the Collaborating Political Parties, Urey was discreet in addressing the question. He said however that that among them, Joseph Boakai is the oldest and the most experienced, which he said is his view. isn’t it true that Boakai is the oldest and most experienced among us,” he asked, adding, “I am not saying I can vote against myself for him; but that is the fact about the three of us.
“The All Liberian Party is as strong as anyone think than ever before, because we have done some restructuring in Montserrado County. Our party headquarter is functional; in our Youth Wing right now, everything about our party has been revamped and we are moving forward,” he bragged.