Liberia: Cummings’ ANC Jibes at Boakai

Former Vice President of Liberia, Joseph N. Boakai, left and former Coca-Cola executive, Alexander B. Cummings.

The Alternative National Congress has tossed a shade on former Vice President Joseph Boakai of the Unity Party's failure to resolve the crisis in the defunct Collaborating Political Party as promised.

The ANC, which is headed by Alexander Cummings, has jibed Boakai for remarking that the Unity Party withdrew from the CPP due to Cummings’ failure to attend meetings intended to resolve the impasse. However, the ANC rejected the former vice president's claims – instead, they blamed his ‘inability’ to unite and reconcile the CPP as the primary reason for its collapse.

“Not only is this withdrawal a breaking of the promise that Amb. Boakai tried to unite and reconcile the CPP when he assumed the rotational Chair, but also it was a failure of leadership,” Aloysius Toe, the ANC Secretary-General wrote on behalf of his party in a statement. “We feel compelled to ask: If former Vice President Boakai cannot successfully chair the CPP and keep it united and reconciled, as he promised he would, can he lead Liberia to unity and reconciliation? If the former VP cannot withstand democratic challenges in the CPP, can he withstand democratic challenges in Liberia?”    

He added: “The withdrawal announcement also breaks the UP’s promise made to the people of Liberia that the CPP will remain the vehicle through which the bad leadership of Pres. George Weah will be replaced, and their hopes and aspirations for a better Liberia will be realized.”

For Toe and the ANC, the former Vice President is withdrawing his UP from the CPP because his “false sense of entitlement to the position of Standard Bearer of the CPP,” was being successfully challenged by the ANC. The ANC added that the CPP was not formed to ordain any individual as its Standard Bearer -- “this is why a binding primary process was agreed upon for the selection of its presidential candidate, where no consensus is met.”

 “It is obvious to the ANC that Amb. Boakai is not just withdrawing his UP from the CPP, he is running away from a democratic CPP primary defeat to Mr. Cummings,” Toe noted. “While we welcome their right to withdraw, we vehemently denounce the many lies contained in the Statement of Withdrawal told against the ANC. We will address these lies subsequently but, suffice to say, these falsehoods are intended to cover up the obvious weaknesses in the leadership of Amb. Boakai is highlighted by his inability to fulfill promises made to the Liberian people. “

Earlier, Boakai in his withdrawal speech noted that although he took over the CPP leadership with a good feeling of opportunity to reconcile the fractured collaboration and mend relations, all his efforts proved futile — squarely blaming his inability to settle the noise in the CPP on Cummings for failing to attend meetings in a bid to resolve their differences. 

“May I say that after so much demand from our partisans, the leadership, and even the Executive Committee of the Unity Party, the UP has finally resolved to withdraw from the CPP," Boakai added.  “You are all aware that political disagreements are resolved through negotiations or consensus. Our willingness to continue a CPP depended largely on our honest interactions and cooperation. Sadly, as of now, we see no way forward and so we have all decided to go our separate ways."

He added that the first meeting of the National Advisory Council, the highest decision-making organ of the CPP under his watch, could not be held because the ANC had refused to attend. 

“Under our rules, the absence of a single party from the four constituent parties constitutes no quorum because there must be at least a member from each Party to constitute a quorum to conduct business,” Boakai said. “The excuse then was that there was no agenda and no framework document to cause a meeting, even though a citation was sent way beforehand.” 

Boakai further that the only meeting attended by the ANC political leader ended in confusion which prompted, him to call for an exclusive meeting where three of the CPP political leaders urged Cummings to accept responsibility for the alleged altering of the CPP Framework Document as a way forward, but he refused and proposed the setting up of a committee to probe the allegation. 

He added that Cummings, however, failed to show up for the first meeting with the Committee. 

But despite Boakai's side of the story, the ANC said based on Boakai and his party's recent actions, they are not surprised by his announcement to withdraw the UP from the collaboration for which, “until today, he was chair.”  

The ANC was referring to the UP’s silence on the ongoing All Liberian Party lawsuit against its political leader and some senior executive members for alleged tampering of the CPP framework agreement.

The ALP, founded by businessman Benoni Urey, complained Cummings to the government for forgery and criminal conspiracy, for “unlawful attachment” of its leader’s signature to the CPP framework document. It is an open secret that Urey has opposed Cummings’ Presidential ambition -- creating some kind of bad blood among them.

According to the ANC, while the CPP has had many issues, it is only Mr. Cummings who has been committed to collaborating to the extent that, when he was faced with the issue of the Nimba Primary, which threatened the CPP’s existence, he made the decision to save the CPP over his personal and party preference and interest. 

The ANC added that over the course of the CPP’s formation, the ANC has been targeted, insulted, maligned, and even recently, been conspiratorially implicated in a bogus framework lawsuit and still remains committed to the CPP since it is about the aspirations of the Liberian people.

“We promised not to make the CPP about entitlements or personal ambitions. Amb. Boakai and his Unity Party cannot say the same, nor represent to Liberians that they have conducted themselves in a way and manner in the CPP to fulfill their promise to the Liberian people over their false sense of entitlements and the seemingly undemocratic quest for power,” Toe added.

He noted that only the ANC and its Standard Bearer have consistently publicly said that if Boakai wins the democratic CPP Primary, the ANC and its leader will support him, “as we would support ourselves as winners.”

“Amb. Boakai and his UP have never, ever publicly or privately said the same. Hence, we are not surprised that sensing defeat, the Former VP would run away to form a new coalition, which will not democratically challenge his false sense of entitlement to the presidency. Regrettably, our country continues to suffer from the failures of its political leaders to keep promises they make to the Liberian people. For the ANC, this is unacceptable. Too many of our political leaders lack the courage to make hard decisions, while too many make promises they have no intention to keep. Breaking promises, as we are witnessing, testify to weak, indecisive, dishonest, and untrustworthy leadership,” the statement concluded.