-wants Int’l community conduct 2020 Senatorial Elections or Take over NEC data system
Contrary to reports that the four Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) would elect their standard-bearer through a voter perception survey, the chairman of the CPP and political leader of the All Liberian Party (ALP), Benoni W. Urey, says the alliance will elect their standard-bearer through a primary.
Mr. Urey made the assertion Wednesday, February 19, 2020, during what he terms as an annual press engagement held at his office in Congo Town. Mr. Urey said as political parties, they saw the need to collaborate with each other to have the strength and the blessing of the voters across the country.
Mr. Urey said political leaders of the various political parties that make up the CPP will meet to decide who represents the alliance as standard bearer, a mandate he says continues to be respected by the collaborating parties.
“Forming collaborating political parties, we decided that we will put aside our individual political aspirations and work in the supreme interest of Liberia and the people. We decided to leave out individual political ambition and seek electoral reform, development, and unity among us and the Liberia people,” Mr. Urey said, stating that this is the reason why no one has heard him talking about winning an election or running for the presidency.
Mr. Urey said the CPP will continue to fight for the Liberian people and, though they have not made a lot of noise about it, Liberians from various walks of life know what the collaborating parties stand for. “We have been working to ensure that the will of the Liberian people prevails,” he noted.
“We have reached a critical stage in this process. We have appointed a working committee to do a framework document and have been working assiduously. There have been some mixed reactions in the media, but we must all be aware of all facts, considering that these are four political parties with many actors and it’s not a single task to get everyone on one side,” Mr. Urey said.
Mr. Urey said in politics, people disagree to agree, noting that the CPP remains united and will continue to move on and solve whatever differences they may have as people and political parties.
‘One serious issue’
“The CPP framework is almost completed but has one serious issue. There is this major issue and that has to do with how the standard-bearer will be elected, but everyone is aware that the standard-bearer is elected at party’s primary and convention, according to the Election Law of Liberia and best practice,” Mr. Urey said.
Mr. Urey continued: “I Benoni Urey, the political leader of the All Liberian Party, would not accept anything less than going to a primary or convention to elect the CPP standard-bearer, which is constitutional and right. We have had suggestions, including a voter survey, which cannot be [used to select the] standard-bearer of the CPP.
“We will not give foreigners the right to conduct a survey. We have made these mistakes on many occasions. We depend on foreign groups to decide our fate in Liberia. This has not been too good for us as people. While we may accept their views, we can never give the right of the people to a foreign group to decide for them,” Mr. Urey emphasized.
“We are suffering for many reasons and we have decided to do it right this time. The people who suppose elect their political leader must never be compromised. The world needs to know this and the CPP has overcome this hurdle. The framework committee has the mandate to give the document at the end of this week. Various political parties will take it for review and signing,” Mr. Urey emphasized.
Mr. Urey said if the framework document of the CPP is completed, it will highlight tenure of the chairmanship and he will not be the chairman of the party.
Fearing the way Liberians vote and what they consider, Urey said because Liberians are living in a poverty-stricken country, where politicians usually provide bags of rice with money in exchange for voters’ birthright, the CPP chairman decried the use of such inducements in elections to influence voters which, accordingly, is the cause of choosing bad leaders.
“Some people have not handled US$5,000 in their entire life and then someone comes and gives them US$20,000. It’s difficult for them to resist it and this is the advantage of people who have money.”
According to Urey, “This was observed in the last government, but we urged Liberians to resist such situation moving forward, while urging the voters to eat such money [but] don’t vote such candidates because it’s their (voters’) own money they are using to bribe them.”
Responding to a question once raised during the funeral of Charles W. Brumskine about who is more qualified to lead the CPP, he said: “it’s VP Joseph N. Boakai because he is the most experienced, oldest and educated person in government.”
He maintained that VP Boakai remains the most experienced, educated and oldest person to lead the collaborating political parties. He said as a politician, one should never praise oneself, but leave it to others, noting, “it’s my right to support who I think is most qualified and experienced, but I’m not necessarily saying I will vote for him or against Mr. Alexander B. Cummings.”
Mr. Urey said whoever is elected as the standard-bearer of the CPP will interest Mr. Cummings, Mr. Boakai and him (Mr. Urey), indicating that Liberia deserves the best.
“We must ensure that whoever is elected will be in the interest of the Liberian people and the country and will also make progress. I will say the truth and the Liberian people love me for that because I will say it without fear,” Mr. Urey said.
No trust in NEC data
He called on the international community and the people of Liberia, including various political parties to ensure that upcoming elections in the country are free, fair and transparent.
Urey said it is prudent the international community takes over the 2020 senatorial elections or at least take over the data aspect of the National Elections Commission, because the Supreme Court ruled during the 2017 elections that NEC needed to clean up the data system of the NEC, something he said has not been done.
“There was fraud in the system and has not been cleaned up. This is the same thing that happened in District #15. There is no trust in the NEC when you have the head of the NEC data system claiming to be a member of the CDC. So in order to have free, fair and transparent elections, the international community needs to take over the data system,” Mr. Urey said.
He said while President George Weah claimed to believe in democracy, it is important for him to prove it to the Liberian people. “The government is claiming that there is no money and if they can convince everyone, we can plead with the international community to take over the elections or just the data aspect. Anything less than that, oppositions will be wasting their time. Sadly, we wrote several international organizations and they did nothing during the elections.”
Considering the current state of Liberia’s economy and governance, Mr. Urey said he believes that the Liberian people are angry now than even ever before, and their anger reflected on the 2019 senatorial election in Montserrado County that brought Darius Dillon to the Senate.