As a constituent party of the opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), the Alternative National Congress participated in a primary last Sunday to determine who would represent the CPP in the December 8, 2020 midterm senatorial elections. Marred by violence and bloodletting, the primary produced Liberty Party’s Edith Gongloe-Weh as winner over ANC’s Taa Wongbe. But the ANC now says it doesn’t recognize the results of the September 6, 2020 CPP primary due to acts of violence which the ANC says were led by supporters of Madam Edith Gongloe-Weh and orchestrated by the All Liberian Party of businessman Benoni Urey.
In a September 6, 2020 press release signed by the party’s national chairman, Senator Daniel F. Naatehn, the ANC said it does not recognize the results of the CPP Nimba County primary based on “the fact that its candidate, Mr. Taa Wongbe was maliciously and abruptly prevented from participating by supporters of Madam Edith Gongloe with the eruption of violence, led and orchestrated by the ALP”.
This unfortunate situation, the ANC said, was preceded by a series of blatant violations of the process, which when ultimately failed to frustrate Taa, led to premeditated attacks on him, our delegates and officials. The refusal of Madam Gongloe’s team to allow ANC’s candidate to enter the stage was avoidable and should not have happened.
“Also notable is that while Taa attended to his injured partisans, an inconspicuous regrouping of the other parties without notice to our candidate took place to announce LP’s candidate, Edith Gongloe Weh as the CPP’s candidate. The ANC will not support the outcome of any process it was prevented from being a part of as a member of the CPP,” the release stated.
“We also want to highlight the issue of primary results circulated on social media by other constituent parties’ members from a process which the ANC’s candidate and delegates were not part of. Moreover, the numbers are not reflective of the facts. Each party had 45 delegates, which gave us a total of 180 delegates. In the absence of ANC’s 45 delegates, the other 3 parties equal 135 delegates. As such, it is nearly impossible for 134 out of their 135 to regroup in under an hour after such intense violence, to conduct a process where Taa is said to have gotten six (6) votes. Who are the six (6) persons voting for Taa Wongbe when the ANC delegates did not return for fear of their lives and were not present? This is clearly the outcome of a kangaroo process which must be addressed in accordance with our collaboration and electoral laws. As such, the CPP has no candidate for Nimba County until these issues are addressed,” the ANC emphatically stated.
The ANC further expressed its deepest disappointment by these happenings, saying they do not reflect the values and ideals of their party.
“When we joined the CPP, we believed it was an honest attempt by all four (4) parties to consolidate the opposition bloc and provide alternative leadership to the Liberian people. While we remain a part of the CPP, we call on our colleagues to ensure that the sanctity of this collaboration and the interest of the Liberian people remain paramount,” the ANC proclaimed.
Supporting the ANC national chairman’s statement, ANC political leader and CPP chairman Alexander Cummings said the situation in Nimba was truly disheartening.
“We as the CPP, cannot claim to be different and act the same. Violence is never the solution and will not be the solution in the CPP. We cannot conduct ourselves in such a manner and expect to win the confidence of the Liberian people. We must do things differently, and as I consistently say and quote, “we can’t keep doing the same things and expect different results.” What happened in Nimba reflects exactly that – doing the same old things the same old ways and expecting different results,” Mr. Cummings lamented in a public statement posted on his social media pages.
He said as political Leader of the ANC and current Chair of the CPP, it is unacceptable to have had an executive of the ANC or any constituent party badly injured as a result of the violence. Taa Wongbe also incurred damage to his vehicle during the process.
“Everyone deserved to be given a chance to participate in the primary process in a safe, free, and fair environment. That did not happen,” Mr. Cummings observed.
“We have begun a long and difficult journey of trying to transform our country. As noted, the process of doing so will be long and difficult, but I am determined to help see it through,” he said.
Meanwhile, the political leader of the Liberty Party, Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, has also denounced the CPP primary violence.
“As a leader of the CPP, I express deep and heartfelt regrets for the acts of violence which obtained at the CPP Primary in Nimba County. The CPP is a response to the call of the Liberian people to heal and unite not just the opposition community but also the country. We know we will face difficulties along the way but our determination to succeed for the Liberian people should never be underestimated.
Therefore, we join in the condemnation of the violence, and look to address same to avoid a recurrence after investigations and consultations with the leadership,” Senator Lawrence intoned, while urging LP partisans and well-wishers to remain calm, “and refrain from any actions or public utterances that will further complicate the situation as we work out what is best for the CPP”.
“We thank the Liberian people for their continued support for the just cause and noble objectives of the CPP. The journey will be long and difficult but we will win for the people of Liberia. Finally, we thank the Liberian National Police for restoring calm and order at the primary venue in Nimba County,” Senator Lawrence implored.