“CPP Reunification Possible…If”- Bility -Wants Opposition To Cease Attacking one another -Provides Conditions to “Make Weah One-term president” 

MONROVIA – The Chairman of the opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) and Chairman of the constituent Liberty Party (LP), businessman Musa Hassan Bility, has provided what he sees as workable conditions that will reunify Liberia’s biggest opposition bloc and put to an end President George M. Weah’s second-term bid in 2023. However, before any reunification can be achieved, Mr. Billity is calling on all supporters and members of the opposition community to stop attacking one another and each other’s political leaders, as the first step in restoring confidence and reunifying the country’s biggest opposition camp. 

Appearing on Spoon Talk Monday evening, Mr. Bility disclosed that while he cannot officially comment on any discussions being held between the CPP and its former Unity Party constituent member on the prospect of a CPP reunification, because it involves political decisions that can only be sanctioned by CPP standard bearer Alexander B. Cummings, he (Bility) and Unity Party Chairman Rev. J. Luther Tarpeh recently held discussions around conditions that could ease tension between the CPP and Unity Party, and lead to better collaboration built on trust, respect and confidence.

“First of all, I am not the political leader of the CPP; Mr. Alexander Cummings is. Therefore, political negotiations are directly under his auspices, direction and leadership. I will engage politically if he asks me to do so. He has not done so, and therefore I have not gotten engaged with the Unity Party or any party to talk about a united CPP. A united CPP should be in the favor of the CPP as it is. But let me tell you what I have done. 

“I have reached out to the Unity Party chairman, to tell him, ‘Look, while it is true that you have your standard bearer and we have our standard bearer, there are a lot of things we can do together. Number one, you and I as chairpersons should push our standard-bearers to have a meeting and make a public declaration, that the opposition is united, and that our focus is the CDC government, and that we should ask our supporters to refrain from attacking one another. And if we try that and it works, we should take it a step further, to say, maybe, since we have stopped attacking each other now, we’re building confidence in each other, we should go to the next step. 

“That is, whoever goes to the second round, the rest of us will rally behind that person. You can even go further to say, as we go through this election, we will set up a technical committee to continue to review our chances and make decisions as we go about the election. You can never talk about opposition unity when there is no opposition confidence. That is why CPP failed, CPP failed because we never built confidence in the first place. If we don’t stop the partisans of the CPP and the Unity Party from attacking each other, there is no way you are going to have their leaders in a room to discuss anything. So, I have approached the Unity Party Chairman with this proposal; and it makes sense to him. We haven’t gone anywhere with it. We talked about it in passing when we were discussing electoral violence and gender-based violence issues recently with the United Nations,” Mr. Bility said.

Settling the Perennial CPP Presidential Ticket Brouhaha

The CPP Chairman, who was surprisingly forthright about his personal conviction when it came to the CPP presidential ticket said, while the entire CPP leadership is clear about their choice of Mr. Cummings becoming the next president of Liberia following the 2023 presidential and legislative elections, a unified CPP will be the best option in making Mr. Weah a one-term president. 

Bility said a unified CPP can however only be achieved if all parties come to the negotiation table without a fixed mindset, that only a certain candidate should become the face of the presidential ticket going forward into the 2023 elections. 

“Unfortunately, there is no sign of trust and confidence that the CPP has seen in the Unity Party. There is still an air of entitlement; that is either me or nobody. I reject that. I look forward to a day when Mr. Cummings and Vice President Boakai can sit on the table with two possibilities: one, knowing that Mr. Boakai who has been Vice President, should allow Mr. Cummings to run as CPP Standard Bearer and that he supports Mr. Cummings. And in the same vein, Mr. Cummings should also consider being a running mate to Vice President Boakai,” Bility stated frankly. 

But he said the Unity Party has never reached a point where they considered Vice President Joseph Boakai relinquishing the presidency to Mr. Cummings. 

“That aspect I have not seen, but I wish to see that; because that brings about genuine discussion. Once you have that, it means there are two positions. Option number one is, we are saying to VP Boakai, forget about it, you have had 12 years, allow us to start anew. And option number two is, Vice President Boakai says, Mr. Cummings, you still got more time, give me this chance and be my Vice President; and I will do one term and turn over to you. So, then there are two views on the table. But the Unity Party has never reached that point where there must be two views on the table. I look forward to that. When you have respect like that, people discuss,” Bility said.

Prerequisite for confidence building and unified CPP

Confidence building, Bility repeatedly stated, remains key to the survival of the opposition community. He said there are many things the CPP and Unity Party can work on to broker confidence that will lead to a unified CPP.  For instance, he suggested that Mr. Cummings and VP Boakai could meet for a power breakfast and discuss issues such as keeping National Elections Commission credible; the schedule of elections; making sure that the government provides money to give to the NEC so as conduct credible elections; the Biometric; timely conduct of the National Census, among others. “We should be uniting on that basis. Everything should not be about presidential ticket,” Bility cautioned, noting that the opposition camp should realize by now that it is either Mr. Cummings is going to be president or Vice President Boakai. 

Bility furthered that, as he remains principal deputy to Mr. Cummings until the time the CPP standard-bearer selects his running mate, he will not enter into any negotiation with anyone or any political party where there is only one option on the table. He said unlike other political parties where the members have confidence deficit in telling their leader the truth in the sanctity of privacy, he has the leverage of discussing anything with Mr. Cummings that will lead to the upliftment of the CPP.

Providing an analogy of President Weah’s recent decision to leave the country for six weeks in the wake of the contending national issues, Bility said he was 1000% sure that no one within the cabinet had the courage to tell President Weah that six weeks was too long to leave the country. 

“It’s the same courage deficit that is within the opposition camp. I am sure no one has told Vice President Boakai to explore a second option of the UP providing a Vice President to Cummings and allowing Cummings to run, with JNB giving him the fullest support,” Bility said, noting however that as Chairman of the CPP, he is willing to advise Mr. Cummings to open his mind to other options when it comes to the CPP ticket, once it is agreed that the Unity Party comes back to the CPP fold.

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