Can the Opposition Dream Hold? -Cummings’ Walkout Exposes Deepening Crack

As political parties are busy putting their houses in order to contest the 2023 presidential and legislative elections, Liberia’s biggest opposition bloc seems to be adding on its internal woes, given the latest scenario over the weekend when one of the constituent political leaders of the CPP reportedly stormed out of a strategic meeting that was held to reportedly discuss the pending legislative by-elections, the CPP consensus leadership process and extension of the sitting Chairperson, among others. As the Analyst has gathered, the widening rift within the CPP could shatter the hopes of millions of disenchanted voters who have hitched their dreams on the opposition train.

According to the sitting CPP Chairperson Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, Political Leader of the Liberty Party, who addressed the media over the weekend, the aforementioned meeting included the four political leaders of the CPP.

“I know some of you have followed the outcome of our meetings from Bella Casa, and there have been issues in the media that we need to address as leaders of the CPP, and there are also issues that unfolded that we need to inform our partisans.

“The Bella Casa meeting was a lunch held with the four political leaders to discuss some issues about the CPP, but the key issue that is being in the discussion of the press and the bipartisans is the issue of the consensus in the extension of the term of the chairperson who is the political leader of the Liberty Party. I would just like to brief the public about that meeting, one of the first items of our agenda was the qualification of political leaders, especially political leaders who were interested in the standard bearer position of the CPP. To be qualified for the position, you must have had the Convention which is by the regulation of the National Elections Commission and our own framework document, hoping that at the end of the consensus process, one of the candidates will be evicted or qualified to run on the ticket.

“So we asked all of the constituent parties who were interested in the standard bearer position to inform us whether they were prepared for the consensus process, Amb. Boikai informed the body that the UP had had their convention and he has been elected as the aspirant for 2023.

“Mr. Alexander Cummings informed the body that he has not held a convention and he was going to get back to the body with a timeline and place from his party before he could speak about his pre-qualification.

“On that note, the right thing to do as leaders was to accommodate the ANC and Mr. Cummings by giving him some time to be able to have his Convention and come back as an aspirant of the ANC. And so, I was asked as Chairperson of the CPP to readdress the roadmap or the matrix that was presented in that meeting including a timeline for the ANC to have a convention and come back,” Chairperson Lawrence intimated.

She further that Mr. Cummings’ statement of agreement, he also reiterated that it was a good thing to extend the tenure of Senator Lawrence of the LP who has no interest in vying for the presidency to guide this process between he and Ambassador Boakai because both of them were interested in the presidency seat, which was agreed between the four political leaders.

“Right after the meeting, we were informed few hours later that the ANC did not agree to that decision that was made by their political leader Mr. Cummings, and that their decision would have been published because it is not in line with our framework document,” Senator Lawrence indicated, while opening the floor for discussions amongst the other CPP political leaders.

According to UP Standard Bearer Joseph Nyuma Boakia, during the tenure of Benoni Urey, he (Urey), as Organizing Chairman, saw the need to extend his stay.

“Mr. Cummings also went beyond the eight months without any notification. Each person that comes to the chairmanship comes with a mandate. At that meeting, Cummings said he had to get back to his people on the issue of a Convention for the ANC standard bearership, and so I asked the Chair to have an extension to allow Cummings prepare himself and we all agreed to that; only to hear that Mr. Cummings said he did not agree to such an arrangement. This is strange, because not every time the political leaders decide an issue, then the next day somebody comes and says he did not agree. That’s not the way to run an institution.

“He walked out. It is his right to walk out. But we will continue to ensure that the CPP works,” Ambassador Boikai stated forcefully.

Regarding the issue of the CPP framework document, Mr. Urey for his part said the CPP does not have original copies of the framework document.

“I was informed by the NEC that the document presented to them was a photocopy. We don’t have the original document. At the last meeting, what we saw from the document presented to NEC was very alarming. The signature placed on the document was extracted and placed on another document and sent to NEC,” Mr. Urey intimated.

Framework Committee Established

The ALP political leader said, because of the notice discrepancies in the document that was perused from the National Elections Commission, the CPP decided to establish a committee to scrutinize the framework document.

“The ANC and other members announced their representatives on the committee. We are waiting for the committee to bring us their final report. The committee must examine the document and give their report. The amended copies which we have are not what were submitted to NEC. How can you have a consensus process; how can you have a primary when you don’t have a framework document?” Urey questioned.

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