‘I will contest 2023’
Boakai defies Cummings, Bility
By Lincoln G. Peters
Former Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai has told his rival opposition leaders here that he will contest the pending 2023 presidential and legislative elections, and that his former ruling Unity Party (UP) will also field a candidate for the pending senatorial by-election due in Lofa County this year.
“I have been informed of a communication addressed to the National Elections Commission under the signatures of Mr. Musa Bility and Senator Daniel Naathan border on the legality of [the] Unity Party featuring a candidate in the upcoming Lofa County Senatorial race,” Boakai said.
“However, I want to make it emphatically clear that the Unity Party will field a Candidate in the Lofa race and I have instructed our party leadership to make sure that happens,” Amb Boakai stated.
The UP political leader further reassured not just UP partisans, but also his supporters all over Liberia and in the diaspora, that he will contest in the 2023 presidential and general elections in Liberia.
Mr. Boakai pulled the UP out of what was deemed a formidable opposition bloc, the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) following several months of internal political struggles that resulted in court cases among the CPP hierarchies.
The CPP which was originally made up of four opposition parties is now made up of a mere one party – the Alternative National Congress (ANC) of Mr. Alexander B. Cummings and a faction of the Liberty Party (LP) loyal to embattled chairman Musa Bility.
The CPP’s fall came after its prolonged internal political struggles led to the withdrawal of the UP, the All Liberian Party (ALP) and a faction of the LP loyal to Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga – Lawrence.
Following the parties’ withdrawal from the CPP, LP’s embattled chairman Bility suggested that a clause in the CPP agreement would not permit the Unity Party to field a candidate both in the Lofa senatorial by-election and the 2023 presidential election.
But Mr. Boakai has rejected this claim through a communication to the National Elections Commission (NEC), saying the UP has legal standing to field candidates in the pending Lofa County senatorial by-election and the 2023 presidential and legislative elections.
While launching a rally and digital membership database of the Unity Party’s National Youth Congress (UPNYC) Saturday, 26 March 2022, Mr. Boakai said the Unity Party will field a candidate in the Lofa County by-election and he will contest 2023 presidential and legislative elections as UP’s presidential candidate to restore hope for all Liberians.
Recently, two constituent members of the CPP wrote the National Elections Commission, informing it of their resolve to invoke Section 8.5 (2) of the CPP framework document which prescribes the process by which a party can withdraw from the collaboration.
The move would block former Vice President Boakai and other candidates aspiring to contest the pending elections on the Unity Party or the All Liberian Party tickets in the 2023 elections and six months after.
The two constituent members, Liberty Party of Mr. Bility and Alternative National Congress of embattled political leader Mr. Alexander B. Cummings are also seeking further clarification from the NEC about the status of ALP and UP as it relates to their withdrawal from CPP.
According to Bility and Cummings, they only learned about the UP and ALP’s withdrawal from the CPP in the media and online interviews.
“While we have learned through the media and several online interviews of officers of both ALP and UP that both parties have withdrawn from the CPP and that both parties have informed the National Election Commission of the same, there has been no official communication from the ALP and UP to either the CPP National Executive Committee regarding said withdrawal,” Cummings and Bility stated.
“We have also learned that both parties have requested the commission to bar the use of their names and logos from the CPP logo,” they added.
“As such: We are requesting that the Commission provide us with official status of ALP and UP as it relates to the CPP and requests that the Commission requires both ALP and UP to provide official communication to the CPP of their withdrawal and waiving any further rights with the CPP,” they continued.
Both LP and ANC indicated that they called the Commission’s attention to Section 8.5(2) of the CPP framework document which prescribes the process by which a CPP constituent party may withdraw its membership from the CPP.”
They noted that Section 8.5 (2) of the CPP document states: “Constituent party desiring to withdraw its membership from the Collaboration Political Parties shall (First) exhaust the dispute resolution mechanism stipulated in this framework document.”
“If the constituent party which has satisfied the dispute mechanism is not satisfied with the outcome, it shall file a resolution to withdraw from the CPP signed and duly executed by two-thirds (2/3) of membership of its National Executive Committee.”
The ANC and Bility’s faction of LP argued that a party withdrawing from the alliance prior to the next presidential, legislative and local elections shall not field candidates in its name.
The parties say in lieu of the above they were informing NEC that they are invoking Section 8.5 (2) of the CPP framework document and requesting that the commission reject and deny any application from the ALP and UP to field candidates in their respective names in any election until the end of 2023 election including 6 months thereafter the same being the agreed contractual life of the CPP.
Meanwhile, Mr. Boakai speaking to the Youth wing of UP, said that the next Unity Party government under his leadership will be robust in developing a sustainable developmental program for the youth of Liberia.
“In other words, we intend to craft programs and strategies not only to develop our young Partisans but also to empower all young Liberians to become active participants in national development,” Boakai concluded.