While majority Liberians are seemingly elated that political leaders of the opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) are patching up their differences as they head for the primary that will decide who leads as Standard Bearer to the presidential and legislative elections in 2023, the recent social meeting of the CPP which made sitting Chairman Nyonblee Kanga-Lawrence to announce that her tenure had been extended by consensus, is creating tension within the opposition camp, with many calling the extension unconstitutional, and a complete violation of the CPP framework document that should serve as the roadmap to Liberia’s biggest opposition party clinching state power.
As a stalwart of the CPP, Manipakei Dumoe is hopping mad over the pronouncement made by Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence on her Facebook page, to the effect, that amongst other things, her tenure had been extended at a meeting of the four political leaders.
“I and many others within the CPP see this as illegal, unacceptable and a dangerous precedent to set. The Framework Agreement that governs the affairs of our four parties electoral alliance, clearly sets out how decisions are made,” an angry Dumoe stated Wednesday, positing that there is no forum in CPP called “Political Leaders meeting” instead, there is a National Assembly, National executive committee, Advisory Council, etc.
“None of the formal decision making forums were utilized and as such the decision cannot stand! Even more crucial in the current context, is the provision of Section 9.3 of the Framework Agreement that forbids tenure extension until all parties have served a 8 months term each. Ignoring this glaring provision of the Framework Agreement wrecks the spirit of a rule based system and sets a dangerous precedent that could be exploited to undermine and further temper with the document.
“The key question here is Joseph Nyuma Boakai and the Unity Party running away from leadership? The only grounds for allowing a chairperson to continue after their tenure would be if the next in line is incapacitated; death, illness, etc,” Mr. Dumoe lamented.
Critics and even supporters of the CPP who have been following the development point to the CPP framework document which served as Mr. Dumoe’s reliance to counter the extension of Senator Lawrence’s tenure as Chairman. They believe the CPP is walking a slippery slope with its leadership issue.
According to the Section 9.3, relating to the National Advisory Council (NAC), referencing the CPP leadership, “The National Advisory Council shall have a rotational Political Leadership of eight (8) months to be occupied by the Highest Ranking Official of a Constituent Political Party of the CPP. No Chairmanship of CPP shall be repeated until each of the Constituent Political Parties shall have assumed and served one eight (8) month Term.”
“All of the three political leaders served their terms. We know how they performed. It is now for us to see Ambassador Boakai perform, and then they are talking about extending the tenure of Senator Lawrence. This is what I don’t understand,” laments Larry Fahnbulleh, a staunch CPP supporter from the Duala Mombo Town Community.
Others believe that VP Boakai is cleverly escaping the chairmanship because it would be a conflict of interest if he is Chairman and presiding over the primary processes at the same time.
“But the CPP needs to tell us exactly the reason why they decided to go that route. If they don’t, it is a bad example for their incoming leadership of the country, where few people will decide the fate of the general populace for their own benefit,” says Solomon Teah of New Kru Town.