The former vice standard-bearer of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Jeremiah C. Sulunteh, who just a couple of days ago joined the Congress for Democratic Change, said his departure from the party is due to betrayal and neglect from the party leaders.
Amb. Sulunteh, who before joining the ANC, served in the Sirleaf administration as Liberia’s ambassador to the United States of America, explained that the ANC of businessman turned politician Alexander B. Cummings betrayed and sacrificed him (Sulunteh) in the name of keeping the opposition political parties alive.
Amb. Sulunteh added that the betrayal became visible after the party endorsed the candidacy of Deputy Speaker Prince Moye, despite early support from the party and its leader Cummings towards his senatorial ambition.
“Cummings raised his hands in front of thousands of people in Bong County – my people – and told them that I was the ANC candidate, but months later, I was told that it was no longer possible because the party had endorsed the candidacy of Prince Moye, of Unity Party, as the CPP’s candidate,” Amb. Sulunteh explained. “I told them that is fine, but we have to go through a primary and, if I lose, I will be party-disciplined and accept the result. I was told that the primary was not for selecting the CPP candidate in the county, even though the primary was held in Nimba and other counties.
The ANC is a member of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), a conglomeration of four opposition political parties, including the Unity Party (UP), the Liberty Party (LP) and the All Liberian Party (ALP).
Amb. Sulunteh added that the shocking part of the situation came when Cummings returned to Bong County to endorse Moye’s candidacy without any regard for his call for primary to settle the matter of the selection of candidate for the Bong County Senatorial seat within the CPP.
“I wrote several letters and complained about this undemocratic process but no one seemed to care. I tried all avenues available but my concerns fell on deaf ears. If Cummings will go to Bong County and endorse me in front of my people and, a few months later, return to the same county to endorse Moye behind my back, then I wonder where the consistency is. I told them if we can have a primary for Nimba, let it be the same in Bong County, but they downplayed my concerns. I thought that was a democratic mockery. Consequently, I had no alternative but to unsubscribe my membership with ANC,” he said.
Amb. Sulunteh added that the leadership of the ANC does not subscribe to well-defined and structured democratic principles and, as such, decided to handpick candidates, something he said runs contrary to democratic tenants.
According to Sulunteh, because of his support to CDC during the 2017 run-off presidential election, the ANC did not support his senatorial ambition and, at the end, betrayed him.
“I want to believe that one of the main reasons that the ANC did not want to support is because of my support to the CDC during the runoff of the 2017 presidential election. The CPP, which the ANC is part of, does not subscribe to well-defined and structured democratic principles, even though a primary was deemed necessary in Nimba and other counties but not Bong,” he said.
It can be recalled that during the 2017 presidential runoff elections, Amb. Sulunteh supported the CDC that brought President George M. Weah to power.
The CDC is the fifth political party to which the former ambassador has pledged his loyalty since 2004. He was a member of the Liberian Action party (LAP) in 2004, but resigned to join the National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL), and later the Unity Party, before joining the ANC. At the ANC, he ran as vice standard-bearer to Alexander B. Cummings in the 2017 presidential election, but the party performed miserably.
The former ANC vice-standard bearer said that his decision to cross over to the CDC stems from the notion that, the party has proven itself as an institution of diversity of democracy that seeks the wellbeing of all citizens, regardless of age and social status.
According to him, on many occasions he has been engaged by the ruling establishment to join the party to share in its vision to transform the country.
“For too long we have been seeking for home in the Liberian body politic. Here in the CDC, we have found a political home and in CDC we shall remain,” Sulunteh declared. “This is our pledge. In our political journey over the years, we have helped to build other political institutions but, with a heavy heart, we could no longer bear some consequences of our decisions due to political imbalances and philosophical differences,” he added.
Amb. Sulunteh noted that he was more interested in joining the CDC because the party is predominantly composed of young people which, he believes, the future of the country depends.
“CDC is predominated by the youths of a generation of our country, and on whose shoulders the future of our country depends. This is why there is a dire need to work with the youthful generation of our country, empathize with them and nurture them in a way that they become responsible citizens and future leaders,” he further said.
The Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) is a merger of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) of President George Weah, the National Patriotic Party headed by Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor and the Liberian People Democratic Party of former House Speaker J. Alex Tyler.
Meanwhile, Taa Wongbe, a former supporter of the ANC, who left the party after it sacrificed him to accept the Nimba County’s controversial primary result, has come to the defense of Sulunteh after members of the opposition came to criticize the Liberian diplomat’s decision. “To see people speak against this man for joining the CDC speaks to the fact that they don’t know him. Amb. Sulunteh is 62 and we have people that are nearly 40 who have joined over 4 political parties! The least people to speak against him should be members of the ANC. This man was an Ambassador who abandoned his job because he believed in the vision. He was sacrificed for the sake of a collaboration that may fall apart no later than May of 2021 and yet no one reached out to speak with him and counsel him. The ANC folks did not and neither did the benefactors of the arrangement. He was left alone. I know what he went through and how hurt he felt. You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over and expect a different result. Amb. Sulunteh, I applaud your move,” Wongbe said.