MONROVIA: In a spirit of stocktaking, and to present a concise post mortem of why the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) performed so dismally during the October 10, 2023 presidential elections, Alternative National Congress (ANC) strongman Mounir Keshen, who popularly goes by the moniker “The General”, has spilled the beans.
Without beating around the bush, he laid squarely the blame mainly at the doorstep of ANC-Global, a diaspora auxiliary of the ANC.
Venting his emotions in a tell-it-all podcast over the weekend, Keshen disclosed that the ANC-Global, which was created mainly to raise funds for the ANC operations in Liberia, decided to overstep its mandate by fighting tooth and nail to control the CPP-USA, and its CPP mother unit in Liberia. It did so specifically by discrediting CPP Chairman Bility as “corrupt” and opted not to do business with him.
According to “The General”, he decided to speak out at this time because during the elections, one could not do so as it would harm the party.
“But now that the election is over, everything is fine,” he said in the podcast. “So, you have to express yourself if you want to. We cannot continue to push things under the table.”
Keshen said, from the inception that the CPP-USA, an auxiliary of the CPP which comprised ANC and Liberty Party (LP), was not organized to raise money, but only for mobilization purposes.
“And then, there is the ANC-Global that supports Mr. Cummings financially. But the ANC-Global decided to run the CPP-USA as if they were the only party in the coalition. And this is where things started going wrong.
“ANC is not the only party in the CPP. We are partners with the Liberty Party on a 50-50 basis. When I go there, I see the Liberty Party one place; I see the ANC one place. They isolate and push the Liberty Party people aside. Mr. Cummings doesn’t know these things.”
He continued: “They don’t trust Bility, but who bought the first set of cars? Bility was just a ceremonial chairman. While Liberty Party officials were fighting Bility, our own people were fighting Bility, saying ‘Bility is corrupt, Bility is a criminal!’ Did Bility steal from you before?”
Putting his finger on the crux of the dismal CPP performance in the just-ended presidential election, Keshen said the root cause of the problem stems from the ANC Global usurping control over the ANC operations in Liberia in a manner and form that also impacted negatively on the overall performance of the CPP.
Speaking further about the problem, Keshen opined that in as much as ANC Global raised funds for Mr. Cummings, they should not have controlled the party from America.
“The party is supposed to be run in Liberia. I blame the ANC Global for everything that ever happened,” he said further. “The ANC Global was one of the biggest problems for Mr. Cummings. We are not here to sugarcoat, we’re not here to hide anything. Some people are of the opinion that we should not complain but rather settle our issues in house. I don’t agree. When you talk about the issues in house, you can’t solve the problems.
“Don’t get me wrong. Those who went to Liberia, paid their own airfare, they did their best. But there were people who went on the ground just to sabotage, who believe that the other people are nothing; that Mr. Cummings should not pay attention to this group because this group is corrupt. But you can’t have a party without county coordinators and district coordinators. If you say you’re not going to work with them, don’t waste your time in politics. The country is corrupt, but you will have to work with those that are in the country. On the other hand, people that you think are not corrupt will want to eat from you.
“We had a party, but we had a campaign team that was not part of the party. I just found out that there were a lot of people who were not members of ANC but they were in Mr. Cummings’ office and they were making decisions.
Is Moriah a member of the ANC? We got the Cummings office, we got the ANC, we got the ANC Global, then we got the CPP. This is where my frustration came from, and for those who followed me during the election, I said that there will be no ANC on the ballots, no Liberty Party, only CPP. We were in collaboration with four parties, and the four parties broke apart. The other left, Liberty Party was there, but Liberty Party officials left with Mr. Cummings, and the other part of the Party went on the other side. Through all this, the ANC Global refused to recognize the CPP. They said Mr. Bility is a crook.
“Instead of those members of ANC Global standing with the CPP, they were undermining the CPP and Mr. Bility. They even asked me what CPP was doing for me to get on radio to promote them. But they failed to know it was CPP that provided me with the radio slot platform. We had the communication team set up to get on the radio. ANC Global turned everything down. They refused to spend the money. We were on the Internet every day, to the extent that it affected our marital relationship. ANC Global couldn’t put us on the radio. But it was Musa Bility who put us on the radio.
“I gave Nyan Bomah and Ysindi credit. Nyan was the one who actually invited me to the ANC communication team. We wanted people that could relate to ordinary Liberians. These are the people we wanted around Mr. Cummings because he doesn’t understand the ordinary Liberians. Elois Monger might think that he understands the street, but no, he doesn’t. Lewis Brown doesn’t understand it. George Wisner doesn’t understand it. They don’t know what the Liberian man wants to hear.
“These people went to the campaign to sabotage Mr. Cummings, to fight Bility. Look at the Unity Party which took a killer, a murderer, a man who killed a president, and made him a hero; while ANC Global was thrashing its own. Someone just posted in the ANC Global chat room that Mr. Bility had an agenda. But when Mr. Cummings was going to court, it was Bility who stood by Mr. Cummings. If Mr. Bility was an insider working for George Weah, why he couldn’t abandon Mr. Cummings. Bility was a partner to the ANC. If ANC was going to bring $20,000, Bility was going to bring $20,000. But ANC Global thinks that Mr. Cummings is this guy who fell from heaven; he shouldn’t be part of anything. I will be very honest; Bility was just a ceremonial chairman.
Lamenting the disconnect
Mr. Keshen furthered that while Mr. Cummings had the best of intentions to win the 2023 presidential elections, he was disconnected from the Liberian people because of those closer to him.
“I still admire Mr. Cummings; he has a great agenda, and he’s an honest man. But the people around him are the problem. Why should Alois Monger appoint someone in Nimba County when he’s in America? Why should the people in America appoint someone in Grand Bassa County when they are living in America? A political party is supposed to work with the county coordinators and the district coordinators, no matter what happens. Whether they are corrupt or not, you need to work with them.
“I will give CDC and Mulbah Morlu credit. And the Unity Party did excellent propaganda. Their people sacrificed while other people were behind Mr. Cummings with their budget of over $100,000. Mr. Cummings was sold to the Liberian people as this rich man, so everybody was waiting for the money. But some of us didn’t wait for the money, we volunteered. We paid our way to go to Liberia. We saw it. And some ANC Global had facilities although they paid their own airfare. But some of them had cars to use.
“ANC Global responsibility was to raise money. They raised the money but demanded that Bility shouldn’t have control of any money. But they failed to know that Bility doesn’t need a dime from us. He’s from another party. There was a big division and no one should blame Bility.
“I never knew about Bility. But I got some information that Bility shared with me, and then I knew that Liberians are just jealous and envious people. Bility shared information with me from LFA and FIFA. That is why I defended him on my platform without taking a dime from him. But you must trust someone if you want to collaborate. If ANC Global knew that they wouldn’t collaborate, they shouldn’t have wasted our time,” Keshen lamented.
Disjointed, toothless bulldog campaign
According to the no-nonsense ANC “General”, the ANC carried out the campaign as if they meant to lose the election.
“You don’t have the numbers like the CDC, the UP and others. If Mr. Cummings is coming back, he has to do it differently. They got the ANC in Liberia, they got the ANC Global, and they got Mr. Cummings’ office staff. I went there and saw the ANC operating; they were just a bunch of toothless bulldogs; not powerful.
“You got Lewis Brown and others in meetings every hour, every day, complaining about money. Do you think elections are all about money? You are not like the UP or the other parties that were already there, who will sacrifice with or without money. Everywhere you go ANC Global is talking about raising money; but 13 days into the campaign, ANC was dead. Mr. Cummings is alone going around jogging, nobody is following him. Nobody is following Mr. Cummings to church, except his wife and maybe Moriah; no campaign team. I never saw one gathering where a campaign manager went to go and talk to his group of people. I never saw Wisner going one day into a community to talk to the people. But they were selling themselves to Mr. Cummings as the most educated people, telling him to do things their way, because according to them, they made Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf president. Total lies!
“We got to call a spade a spade. The ANC Global is the biggest problem for us. If Cummings has to win, he has to contain ANC Global. We’re talking about serious campaigning, then I should go through Moriah to ask Mr. Cummings a question. Yes, Moriah runs his office. I like her, she’s smart. But I don’t see any campaign with the chief of staff. Ivar is smart, but he’s a policy man. Can Ivar relate to the ordinary Liberian? They are above the people. They are the most educated people. For us, we only give suggestions and they trash them. This is what Ivar did to me and I will say it today. I had three days on the radio. It was not given to me by the ANC. The platform was given to me by CPP and Bility. Ivar went to the radio station and asked them why they allowed me to talk too much. The station took two days from Sidike and myself. O’Neill called me to say Ivar said they are the ones in Liberia so they will use Wednesday and Friday, and we will only come on Monday. I got angry and called Bility, so they gave me back the allotted slot.
“I brought voters to Mr. Cummings because the people follow me and relate to me. Yes, Mr. Cummings thanked me and I appreciated him for all he has done for the party and Liberians, as well as wife. If he agrees to do it again, I will stand by him, but we must do it the right way.
“God doesn’t like ugly. Maybe it was for a reason everything fell apart. Mr. Cummings got everything that could make him president of Liberia. He lacks nothing, but it is the people that surround him who are the problem. When you talk to Mr. Cummings, he will listen and digest some, but the people who will always talk to him last are the most powerful people. Every day, they are in meetings. When you call and say you want to talk to Mr. Cummings, they tell you he’s busy. Sometimes we have to bypass them to get to Mr. Cummings. Lewis Brown and others don’t answer calls, nor do they respond to texts. What do I want from Lewis Brown but to achieve our objectives?” Keshen concluded stoically.