After existing symbolically as an opposition political institution for some time, the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), a conglomeration of four major independent political parties in Liberia, was over the weekend certificated by the National Elections Commission (NEC) to operate as an alliance, with an attestation by NEC Chairperson-designate Davidetta Browne-Lasannah that the CPP has met the requirements to be certificated.
Chairperson designate Browne-Lasannah said “Following the verification of the application by the Political Affairs Section, the NEC certifies that the proposed rainbow alliance has met the requirements of chapter 8 section 8.5 of the new elections law of Liberia, Section 4.2 of NEC’s revised guidelines, and is therefore authorized to establish a national headquarters and comply with other regulations as required by Article 79 (c) count (1) of the Constitution of Liberia.”
Chapter 8 Section 8.5 of the New Elections Law of Liberia says that registered political parties may be allowed to form alliances and coalitions if they have a procedure consenting to the alliance or coalition formation, through a signed agreement by the absolute majority or 50 percent plus one vote of each membership of the executive committee of each constituent political party.
The new NEC boss listed the requirements as procedure, plan of alliance, the name of each constituent registered political party forming part of the alliance, terms and conditions of forming the alliance and filing of plan of alliance, among others.
The four political parties include the former ruling Unity Party (UP), the All Liberian Party (ALP), the Liberty Party (LP) and the Alternative National Congress (ANC). They formed the collaboration right after the 2017 general and presidential elections that brought the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) to state power. However, they CPP members soon realized that, building on shared values among their various institutions an consolidating their constituents, they would build a broader base of supporters with a stronger voice and pose a more effective challenge to the ruling party in subsequent legislative and presidential elections.
In its preparation for the desired goal of seizing power from the ruling party, the CPP is ensuring that it puts its weight behind candidates that may run in the pending Senatorial Election in December this year to claim most of the 15 available seats in the Senate. About 15 of the 30 Senators who have completed their nine years tenure are expected to be up for re-election this year, and Senator Darius Dillon has remained on its ticket as its preferred candidate in Montserrado, which President Weah and his ruling party have pledged to reclaim under any condition and by whatever means.
“On July 10, 2020, the Unity Party (UP), the Liberty Party (LP), the All Liberian Party (ALP), and the Alternative National Congress (ANC) delivered to the National Elections Commission (NEC) an application of intent together with a resolution signed by an absolute majority of each of their respective executive committee members expressing their combined interest to form a political alliance to be known as the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP),” she said.
Receiving the certificate on behalf of the CPP, Alexander Benedict Cummings, standard-bearer of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) and chairman of the CPP, assured the NEC that his alliance will work in the confines of the laws of Liberia and for the common good of all Liberians.
“We want to assure you (NEC) and the Liberian people that we will be a responsible political alliance. We will exercise our rights under the Constitution of our country in the interest of the Liberian people,” Cummings said.
He said coming together as collaborating political parties is not only in the interest of the individual political parties but all of the citizens of the country.
“We want to assure our people that we want to grow this collaboration into a strong union. We want an inclusive alliance and our actions will lead us as a country into a more inclusive governance system,” he added.
Cummings said further: “This is the beginning of a journey to ensure that our politics is civil; it follows the rule of law and our constitution, and we are determined to make sure that that is the case.”
He noted that he and his fellow leaders within the CPP look forward to a very exciting future for the alliance and for the country.
The formation of the CPP became a point of interest to the ordinary people, not just because of getting power out of the hands of the CDC whose three years of rule have been marred by complaints of hardship and alleged missing billions of Liberian dollars as well as millions of US dollars, but also because it helps to reduce the multiplicity of political parties that usually contest for the single presidential seat in the country. During the Constitution Review in 2014, views solicited from Liberians spoke in majority the need for reduction of political parties to maximum of four, reduction of tenures of the President and the Members of the House of Representatives from six to four years, and that of the Senators from nine years to six.
Forming a collaboration, if it were anything to learn, would be attributed to the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change that began the experiment and became victorious in the 2017 presidential election that led George Weah and Jewel Howard Taylor to the presidency and vice presidency respectively.
The Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) of President George Manneh Weah, the former ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP) of jailed former President Charles Ghankay Taylor, and the Liberia People’s Democratic Party (LPDP) of former Speaker J. Alex Tyler merged and form the Coalition for Democratic Change and contested the 2017 presidential and legislative elections to victory.
With the overwhelming number of votes George Weah received, many are still looking up to Mr. Weah to implement his campaign promises, including fighting corruption, reducing poverty through job creation, and getting Liberians out of the spectator seat of their economy to become key players.