The Alternative National Congress (ANC), a member of the Collaborating Political Parties, makes it categorically clear that at no time has the ANC opposed primaries. Instead, the ANC said it has embraced primaries and added that the Voters Perspective Survey will not replace the Primary, adding that the party has only demonstrated good faith, and offered a clear proposal for the selection of the Standard Bearer for the CPP.
“The ANC proposed that if a decision is not reached by the four political leaders as to who heads the ticket, then a Voters’ Perception Survey should be conducted where the people will decide who they want to lead the ticket, and the decision would then be endorsed by a convention,” a press statement read by the ANC’s Secretary General Aloysius Toe at a press conference last Friday, February 21. 2020 indicated.
On what it calls the facts in the CPP concerning candidate selection which are “irrefutable.”
The ANC said the Unity Party (UP) proposed CONSENSUS where the four political leaders will agree unanimously on who leads the ticket. “This decision of the CPP was accepted by all four parties in August 2019. In January 2020, the Liberty Party (LP) proposed the removal of VPS to be replaced by Primaries. Immediately, the ALP endorsed the LP’s position. In the spirit of collaboration, understanding and goodwill, the ANC accepted the inclusion of primaries as a process but insists that in order to get a winnable candidate, the people must be a part of the decision-making process to tell us who they believe is the best candidate to head the CPP and lead Liberia”, the ANC pointed out.
ANC’s clarification comes a day after a media engagement by the Standard-bearer and political leader of the All-Liberian Party (ALP), Mr Benoni Urey, in which Mr. Urey said the selection of the Standard Bearer of the CPP has been a sticky question which Mr. Urey attempted to address at his media engagement as 2023 draws nearer.
Although Urey said the media and other Liberians have played their roles in ensuring that the CPP stay together, he however hinted that the CPP has one issue in the collaboration framework document, which he decided to share with the public.
“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. Urey further said. “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.”
Mr. Urey noted that 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.
ANC in its statement, said, “prior to Mr. Urey’s press conference on February 19, 2020, a decision was already made by the four Parties that Consensus, VPS and Primaries will be conducted where the results of VPS will not be binding but used for informational purposes ONLY—prior to primaries. It was further agreed that the VPS will be conducted by a reputable international institution working with equal number of people from each constituent party of the CPP for transparency purposes. The only outstanding issue was when the VPS should be conducted. The ALP opposed to the VPS being conducted before the primaries, and suggested that it be done prior to the Consensus—a position the other three (3) Parties disagreed with”.
Accordingly, “the ANC strongly believes that without using a VPS to identify the candidates that the voters prefer, there is a chance that the CPP would select a candidate that has a very low or poor voter approval, causing a significant number of supporters of individual party and CPP supporters to choose not to participate in the elections, since they do not like the candidates chosen. This could then cause the CPP candidate to lose. To avoid this from happening, the VPS will show who our people see as the best candidate to win, thereby allowing CPP partisans in the Primary to make informed selection”.
ANC stressed, “Let us be emphatically clear here. ANC’s proposal for the inclusion of the use of a non-binding Voter’s Perception Survey (VPS) is to promote a selection of CPP candidates who can win. It makes sense for the CPP bloc to undertake a process of inclusion of the mindset of voters who already have some indication of who they think are credible alternatives to the incumbents. These are real voters who also support the idea of a collaborative effort for governance in Liberia. The VPS will provide a sampling well ahead of time of who our people perceive as winnable candidates as the CPP goes to convention to vote. Furthermore, the VPS will provide very good indicators to the CPP on who our people are most likely to vote for because they can and will win. It’s best to be more predictable with winnable candidates”.
The Party indicated that, as member of the CPP, it is sensitive to the views of the general voting population and is offering to acknowledge those views through use of the VPS process. “Let’s be clear! No one should misinterpret the intention of the ANC through some misinformed utterances that ANC wants to turn over candidate selection to a foreign survey group”.
“If the CPP represents a sizeable number of ordinary Liberians through their political parties which are independent members of the CPP, then it is only reasonable and fair to include the views of who Liberians perceive as the best and most prepared candidate to take on the incumbent, ANC said.
The ANC explaining what actually voter perception survey (VPS) is, “a Voter Perception Survey (VPS) is not a new concept. It is used all over the world. It is currently being used some countries around the world in political processes. VPS is the best scientific tool for gaining a national sampling of who the voters think is the best candidate to win the Presidency. It is also used to determine other issues of voters’ concerns. The VPS will serve to inform CPP partisans at the primaries. As such, it makes sense for the CPP to understand who the voters see as the person most likely to win, so that delegates to the Primary can make ‘informed decision’ about whom to select or vote for. The credibility of the CPP will be further enhanced with the use of the VPS”.
Pointing out that every member of the CPP will have equal participation in drawing up the roadmap for the VPS in-order to eliminate unnecessary delays, imposition of non-qualified candidates, political patronage and business as usual, ANC averred that “contrary to the propaganda, ANC fully supports the holding of political conventions. The ANC’s support for a convention complies with the requirement of the National Elections Commission (NEC). There is no disagreement here. It is important to clarify and emphasize that there is no attempt to cede the selection of the CPP Standard Bearer to a foreign entity or survey firm, as being deliberately distorted by some in the CPP. This information simply is not true and does not exist anywhere in the CPP. We wonder why the public would be misled in this way?. It is incumbent on all members of the CPP to continue to build and grow their individual parties and candidates so that selection of candidates is a process where our people can decide”.
The ANC used the press conference to assure that the party does not insist and fully agrees and supports that the VPS results will be non-binding and said the only purpose for doing a VPS is to know what the voters’ preferences are, so that the representatives to the Primary can be informed before they make their selection or cast their vote. This will ensure that the will of the people is respected; that our international friends take us seriously and the common resources of the CPP are used to support our winnable candidates as perceived by our supporters including non CPP supporters. The ANC, Unity Party (UP) and Liberty (LP), all agree on this.
ANC further wondered, “So why are some opposed to VPS?, and explained that the real issue is why are our colleagues so opposed to VPS after their proposal for primaries is accepted by ANC? Let’s be truthful to ourselves and country at all times. What is their fear of letting the Liberian people tell us who they believe is the best candidate to replace the incumbents?”
The Alex Cummings’ ANC then assures those who oppose VPS that there is nothing to fear from the VPS exercise and urges all members of the CPP to continue to work to grow and strengthen their individual parties and candidates. The party then urged the CPP to allow our people the chance to be heard through the VPS sampling of their views in a scientific way. The credibility of the CPP will be further enhanced with the use of the VPS. At the end of the day, our goal is to win and WIN in 2023.
According to ANC, “As a responsible party, we remain committed to the ideals and principles of the CPP but equally maintain a strong and independent voice. Liberia is bigger than any one individual or political party and the ANC has a duty to ensure that the facts are always made clear about its position on national issues. Our political leader and the National Executive Committee of the ANC are committed to the spirit and intent of the CPP, and will do nothing to derail the progress and survival of the CPP; because the Liberian people depend on the CPP. What we will not accept, however, is for others to indulge in clever maneuvering to badmouth us and sow seeds of discord within the CPP. Mr. Cummings and the ANC have said time and again that we will respect and accept any results within the CPP framework that emanates from a fair, transparent and democratic process. We will however, object to and reject any shortcut method or stage-managed process within the CPP”.
The Alternative National Congress, in conclusion also encourage other parties within the CPP to show commitment and make similar public commitment to the Liberian people.