Cummings Becomes CPP Chairman by Default -Following Departure of Boakai, Urey

The Political leader and Standard Bearer of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Alexander B. Cummings has emerged as Chairman of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) by default following the departure from the CPP of former Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai and Businessman Benoni Urey along with their political parties from the once 4-party opposition block.

Cummings’ taking over of the CPP as Chairman is outside of the usual rotational leadership arrangement that saw a new chairperson taking over after every 8 months and it is done through alphabetical order by the names of the four political parties (ALP, ANC, and LP UP). Mr. Benoni Urey was the first Chairman and set the foundation of the party to do more consultations. He passed over the Chairmanship to Mr. Alexander Cummings in May 2019.

The clarity as to who  now leads the CPP in the wake of the exit of Boakai and Urey was provided by Mr. Cummings when he fielded questions from some media executives on Tuesday, April  19,2022 on a wide range of national issues including the crises in CPP, national security, his plan for Liberia if elected President etc.                                                                                                                                                               

“So again it is a question of being official or not, because the two parties have not officially left, but they have declared their intention to leave. You could argue that the former Vice President is still the Chairman but the practical reality is he is not because he has announced his decision to leave the CPP and if you go back to our rotational process, the Chairmanship should have gone from the UP and back to the ALP and then back to the ANC”, Cummings responded.

He furthered, “But the UP announced their decision to leave the CPP and the ALP also announced their decision to leave the CPP. So by default it came back to the ANC. But to be honest gentlemen and lady, we will revisit all of that. And by the way, when we first wrote the agreement, we all said look, it is a living document. It is a document that we will change and adjust as circumstances change and adjust. So if you understand the concept of a living document, it means it can change just like human beings, as living being we grow up and develop as we change”

Before then Mr. Boakai was the last of the rotational arrangement that saw Urey, Cummings and Senator Nyonblee Karngar Lawrence. Boakai tenure was to lead the collaboration to a national convention where the sole Presidential candidate to contest against the incumbent, Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) of President George Manneh Weah was to have been elected. If Boakai had completed his tenure, then[u1]  the cycle would have completed and a new round would have started under Urey who was the first Chairman of the then opposition bloc”.

Also responding to a question on who is the present standard-bearer, Mr. Cummings said that before the chains of problem begin to emanate from the party, it was clear that the struggle for the sole ticket was between Boakai and Cummings and now that Boakai has left the collaboration, there was no candidate for now to confront him.

“Yes, let me tell you why there is a rationale behind that. Though it was not official but it was implied that the two persons for CPP nomination were the former Vice President and myself and it was implied and understood by everyone. Of course, the former Vice President has announced that he was leaving, so he is no longer a contender for the standardbearship.

“The second point is and I think it was earlier, we were endorsed first to be the standard bearer by the Liberty party of the CPP and that they would not field a candidate. So given those two circumstances, I will say YES I will be the sole candidate for the standard-bearership of the CPP. So again that is the discussion we will have with the others but the answer is YES. Of course, we will have conversations with others. The door is open for others to join”, Mr. Cummings said.

With the departure of ALP and UP from the collaboration, the journalists wanted to know what is the present status of CPP from where he responded that the party as is currently constituted comprises the ANC and LP and will evolve and involve other parties.

Commenting earlier on the crises in the CPP, Mr. Cummings first addressed the crises within the once united Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), indicating that everything was moving on fine with the CPP starting with the euphoria that greeted its formation in 2019 to challenge the ruling establishment, the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), its official recognition by the National Elections Commission (NEC) in 2020 and crowning of the year with the election  of 6 senators in the Special Senatorial Midterm election, especially defeating CDC in vote rich Montserrado, Grand Bassa , Bong and Lofa Counties.

He said for almost two years the parties were all united for a single purpose to offer the Liberian people the best alternative against what CDC is providing the nation and its people and they worked through the framework document without anyone challenging its authenticity.

Cummings who was the second rotational Chairman under whose leadership the party got registered and recognized by NEC as well as the electoral victories for the six senators said everything was going very fine until it reached the stage where the issue of who heads the sole Presidential ticket of the CPP came in and the unity of purpose in the party went away.

..”And I think it is because there was an expectation that somehow there will be a coronation of the former Vice President and standard bearer of the Unity Party, Mr. Joseph Nyumah Boakai and what we have said consistently is let us followed the agreement we all signed on to, let us follow the pattern and whatever the outcome of the process is, we will support it. The process is to go through the primary. Not necessarily to be Vice President, but to go to convention to talk to our people and whoever wins, wins. The UP wanted block-voting but we opposed it. There was a complete conspiracy”, he said.

Mr. Cummings said it was at that point that those who felt the sense of entitlement because they could not get what they wanted, set the tune for division with the unsubstantiated claims that the framework document that they have worked with for almost 2 years was allegedly forged and altered by him (Cummings) according to Mr. Benoni W. Urey of the All Liberia Party who then took him to court on criminal charges.

He said he has been going to court to clear his name from the charges which has amounted to persecution with the government through its Solicitor General who has been doing everything possible to bring a conviction on him at all cost.

He said he was baffled for the fact that in a country where there are cases of rape of women and girls, people are getting missing and killed, a Solicitor General finds pleasure in scheme to secure a fake conviction by extracting evidences garnered from witnesses.

“We believe all the facts are on our side, this is all being political, the government is using the judiciary to persecute a political opponent. I just hope that the judiciary realizes that the president and members of his government are making the judiciary look bad and judges should be able to stand to this and push back what is being portrayed against them”, he said.

He said at the onset of the trial at the Monrovia City Court Cllr. Cephus said the case was done and that they have preponderance of evidence that will convict him (Cummings) but has been proven wrong, stressing that he was undeterred and determined to see the end of the case, though such exercise was not good for the country.

He then challenged the media to do more detailed reporting of the saga by going to the court and getting parts of the evidence presented to the people of the county. He said all the WhatsApp messages from the CPP National Advisory Council chat room are available and could guide the journalist if they want to seek more information on the case.

Cumming further said with the overwhelming evidence to prove he is innocent, there was no way he could be found guilty by the court.

When asked whether he was discouraged by what has been meted out against him by his colleagues, Cummings said he was not discouraged but was disappointed because they wasted the opportunity to stay together given result of the 2020 Special Senatorial Midterm election where they won six seats especially in vote rich counties at the time he was head of the CPP but does not want to take it as a personal glory because they were working as a team that included people who made invaluable contributions and must be acknowledged.

“Maybe it has to do with the old ways of doing things; the sense of entitlement, the sense that you have to do things one way or you have to settle and that is the problem with Liberia. We settle too quickly and that is why Liberia is where it is. We do not push for higher standard, we compromise a lot, compromising is not a bad thing but we do it at the lowest ebb of everything,

“The thing around it all was this sense of entitlement, someone was expected to get something and they didn’t get it and all the trouble started to come about. We need to have the right leader to drive the change we need to do things differently”, he said.


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