CPP in Crisis

(L-r) Alexander B. Cummings, Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence, and Benoni W. Urey.

Altercation over ‘alteration’ of the CPP framework might spoil the teamwork

The Collaborating Political Parties might likely fail to hold if the political leaders of the All Liberia Party and the Alternative National Congress do not put aside their differences.

Both parties’ leaders have not failed to hide their feelings about each other in public, as there have been nasty jabs thrown in the past. It gets even worse when their supporters and surrogates get involved.

And just when everyone thinks that they have put their differences aside, another beef has resurfaced again -- this time, an accusation from Benoni Urey of the All Liberia Party that the framework document, which governs the collaboration, has been tampered with by what he describes as ‘unknown individuals’.

In a strong-worded statement, Urey complained that that certain portions and clauses within the organic framework document of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) have been dubiously, viciously, and purposefully altered, allegedly by some nefarious individuals within the hierarchy of the CPP — and replaced by ‘Alien Clauses’ to engender ulterior motives.

But Alexander Cummings, of the Alternative National Congress, who was not directly accused in Urey’s complaint, wasted no time to take issue with his ALP colleague, particularly given the threat that collaboration might not be held because of the change.

Rebutting Urey, the ANC political leader said although his colleague accuses no one directly, he unfairly accuses the entire CPP hierarchy indirectly, given that collaboration has been together for more than a year.

“I find it unacceptable that such a strongly worded letter, laced with threats to the survival of this collaboration is void of any specific details. No specific provision in the document that he claims is altered does not say when he believes it was altered, does not say who are the ‘nefarious’ individuals amongst us in the hierarchy that altered it,” Cummings wrote in a letter to Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence.

His statement added that, despite these ambiguities, “Urey invites the CPP through to embark on a wild-goose chase in the absence of the names of those who altered the framework and the clauses that have been altered.” For Cummings, the CPP need not take Urey’s allegation seriously since the claims of tempering were made without facts and specifics, but intended to evoke acrimony, “we must not allow it to.”

Shockingly, Cummings chastised his colleague for calling for an investigation, saying it is without any  necessary specifics and doing so would be “the most inappropriate use of our time, resources, and the time and resources of the people we promised to serve diligently and more thoughtfully.” 

“The CPP cannot be run on mere gossip and rumors and to have such accusations in the public, more than one (1) year after our coming together, without the benefit of any internal consideration of its accuracy and validity, is strange and disturbing,” Cummings noted. “Even more disturbing is Benoni's use of such incendiary and provocative language meant to evoke acrimony and cast aspersions on the integrity of the CPP generally and those within its hierarchy, specifically.”

Urey’s Claims

Earlier, Urey wrote Sen. Karnga-Lawrence, saying that he had “unimpeachable evidence” that the framework governing the CPP had been altered by some high-ranking members of the CPP dubiously, and viciously.

However, Urey remains tight-lipped about who exactly had the document altered and what parts of it were altered. According to Urey, while the ALP would not want to cast aspersions and make fast conclusions, he has obtained his information from unimpeachable sources, whose information is correct. In his letter, Urey noted that his party is cautioned not to take this information for granted because if such subversive maneuvering is not decisively foiled and diminished, the CPP must brace for a fate of fatal consequences.

“Madam Chair, It is no gainsaying that such a despicable and woeful act, if permitted to happen, will spell upon the CPP a brazen doom,” the CPP leader predicted.

He added that the ALP, therefore, requests the CPP Chair to “launch an immediate investigation into this troubling allegation in a bid to avert with rapidity what seems a potential looming danger that would potentially derail the CPP and dash the hope of the Liberian people, whose only alternative for genuine redemption and transformation is the CPP if this machination is not crushed sooner than later. We MUST not let our people down, especially in such a time of sprawling socioeconomic despair.” 

Urey further urged Senator Karnga-Lawrence to ensure that the investigation requested is fair, transparent, and credible, and should be carried out by an independent investigative panel to probe the matter with the greatest degree of urgency and exigency. 

He also requested that the current framework, a copy of which is filed with the NEC, when retrieved, should be compared and verified with the original and organic copy on which the signatures of all four leaders of the CPP are affixed.

Cummings: ‘Engage legal team’

Meanwhile, Cummings has asked Sen. Karga-Lawrence, who is the CPP chair, to engage the CPP’s legal team first before proceeding to establish an investigative panel, provided that Urey “choose to provide the necessary information to warrant serious consideration.”

The ANC political leader noted that there is absolutely no reason, except for one best known to his colleague, to skip these processes and write the National Elections Commission (NEC) as suggested by him when the Framework document filed at the NEC with their official stamp and signature, is in the possession of the Liberty Party” as turned over by the ANC/CPP SG at the beginning of LP's chairmanship.”

“That copy can be easily compared to the lawyers’ final copy reflective of our input and this matter is laid to rest. Based on the outcome of such engagement and if warranted, institute a speedy investigation through our existing dispute resolution mechanisms. 

Cummings noted that the CPP must not accept a lowering of standards by acting on admitted rumors or gossip, lest it is going against the quality of leadership they have been promising and the country. 

“We must be and act better,” he said.

CPP Chair

In reaction to her colleagues’ letters, Sen. Karga-Lawrence complained that she never had the chance to digest both letters before being leaked to the public, however, she is convening a meeting on Wednesday, August 25, to deliberate on the matter. However, the CPP chair has requested the ALP political leader to indicate the specific provision(s) that he claims have been altered and, if possible, by whom.

“As chairperson of the CPP, I wish to inform all constituent parties and the general public that a meeting has been scheduled for August 25, with the political leaders and the CPP lawyers concerning this serious allegation. Said will be restricted to two levels of participants, the Political Leaders who approved and signed the CPP Framework Agreement on behalf of their respective parties, and the lawyers who were authorized to amend the Framework Agreement for approval by the parties. Both should therefore be very knowledgeable of the final document that was submitted to the NEC,” Sen. Lawrence said.