MONROVIA: As political campaign commences today, lasting up till the next two weeks, for the pending crucial runoff, the two main contenders are leaving no stone unturned in wooing the rest of the 18 presidential candidates and their bases for support. Amongst the 18 is the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), which despite its unexpected dismal performance during the polls, is regarded for being one of the important political parties in the country. True to that assertion, the home of standard-bearer, Mr. Alexander Cummings, was the destination of uninvited political suiters—President George Manneh Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and former Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai of the former ruling Unity Party. As The Analyst reports, the CPP strongman yesterday played audience to the rival political leaders and there have since been mixed reactions and diverse predictions as that what the CPP would do or say in the next few days.
The Analyst has gathered that former Vice President and Standard Bearer of the opposition Unity Party, Mr. Joseph N. Baokai and team as well as President George Manneh Weah and his team yesterday, October 24, 2023 met with the standard-bearer of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), Mr. Alexander Cummings, separately at his residence on 15th street, Sinkor.
According to a top stalwart of the CPP who divulged to The Analyst on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press on the matter, Mr. Cummings and the two rivals variously discussed issues surrounding the pending runoff election.
“The meeting today was to hear the CDC and UP who asked the CPP for respective support,” the CPP official said. “As you know, the official results were announced today by the NEC, so the two sides went to see Mr. Cummings and both of them had issues they put forth. He will have to meet his partisans, mainly his executive members, in a day’s time before coming out with a statement of support to a chosen party.”
The CPP insider said the good thing about the meetings is that it was the both sides (CDC and UP) who requested the meeting and Mr. Cummings himself accepted as to hear each of them at a time.
“He has concerns about the conduct of the elections,” the insider continued. “The CPP believes the election results are suspect. The CPP still believes in its change mantra, despite the party not being in the second round.
“So the important thing is they requested the meeting and they told him what they wanted from him. Of course, President Weah will meet his team, Cummings is going to meet his team, Boakai is going to meet his team and so what is going to happen will come in the next few days.”
According to a CPP insider, Mr. Cummings will be addressing the nation today from his office in Congo Town.
Cummings’ Post on Facebook
Following the meetings with the CDC and President Weah on the one hand and former VP Boakai and team on the other, the CPP leader posted a comment and photos on his Facebook page.
He wrote: “Today, I was pleased to separately host both Pres. George Weah and former Vice President Joseph Boakai at my residence, at their respective request. The CPP will continue to engage both the CDC and the Unity Party as we determine our position for the runoff, in spite of our concerns raised with the NEC. We will be speaking to the nation tomorrow(today) in detail as to what will inform our decision as the CPP. I want to thank both leaders of their parties for visiting and for the fruitful discussions we had today.
May God bless Liberia. Thank you and good night.”
Mixed Reactions, Predictions
There were spontaneous reactions when the host of the separate meetings swiftly placed a comment on his Facebook page along with an assortment of photographs of the events.
Though Mr. Cummings and his CPP appear to be locked up in negotiations with both sides, and are yet to release a statement of their preference of candidate, pundits have begun to weigh in on what the possibility would be. Some say the CPP and Cummings are likely to buy into the bid of the ruling party while others think they will go for the UP side.
During the campaign period for the first round of elections, the CPP often contended that the UP and CDC are no different from each other regarding “their common acts of misrule, corruption, and impunity”, and that the CPP, which is yet to assume power, was the best alternative for Liberians in terms of good governance.
Its decision therefore, in terms of which of the parties will be chosen, would largely be based on convenience and not necessarily on standards or ideological parity.
Meanwhile, there are some pundits who believe the CPP may go the ruling party way particularly because the CPP and its standard bearer harbor vengeance for the UP which dragged them to court for fraud and other crimes—an incident that nearly disgraced the CPP and annihilated it from the Liberian political spectrum.
“What former VP Boakai did by allegedly masterminding criminal charges against Mr. Cummings and the CPP, testifying against his fellow opposition leader, and engineering the dismantlement of the opposition community in the original CPP, are sufficient grounds for the CPP to reject the overtures of the Unity Party,” one pundit opined, asking not to be named.
“You cannot eat your cake and have it. They cannot deliberately destroy the opposition community and seek to heal it or rebuild it now only because their backs are against the walls. That’s totally absurd.”
There are however other pundits who think that Mr. Cummings and his CPP will rather prefer to maintain their opposition coloration and momentum by endorsing and supporting another opposition candidate.
“All that the Liberian opposition community has sought was not, and is not, an individual interest but an opposition interest as a whole,” another pundit, who also asked to be named due to the sensitivity of the subject under discussion, said.
“We have sought change, a regime change, through democratic elections. The dice is now cast, and every true opposition person who believes in this change mantra must face it once and for as the Weah administration is pushed on the bare margin of things. And I am sure Cummings will stick to this mantra, despite the bad blood, and prove critics wrong that the CPP under his ANC rule is an auxiliary of the CDC.”
Still, there are others who predict that the decision of CPP on where to cast their support will lead to the ultimate split in the ranks and files of the party due the two extreme considerations.
“I see Mr. Cummings, like the late Charles Brumskine, announcing his neutrality while his political flocks scatter between the CDC and the UP,” said another pundit.
“I think so because the CPP is faced with a serious dilemma. There are those who just cannot accept aligning themselves with the UP over the obvious reasons of the UP’s venomous schemes against the CPP, and particularly the ANC and Mr. Cummings,” he said, and added: “What Boakai and his UP did is completely politically unpardonable. At the same time, for some CPP folks to drift towards a ruling party that they so verbally demonized is just morally unconscionable. But we are waiting to see.”