‘Liberia’s future rests on Boakai, Cummings’
–Senator Ballout claims
By Lewis S. Teh
Former Maryland County Senator John Ballout says Liberia’s future rests squarely on the shoulders of opposition leaders Amb. Joseph Nyumah Boakai, and Mr. Alexander B. Cummings.
Addressing reporters in Monrovia Wednesday, 11 January 2022, Mr. Ballout also listed Grand Bassa Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, and All Liberian Party (ALP) political leader Mr. Benoni Urey as politicians on whose shoulders Liberia’s future rests.
“Amb. Joseph N. Boakai of the UP, Mr. Alexander B. Cummings of the ANC, Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence of the LP, and Mr. Benoni Urey of ALP are the big four on whose shoulders rests the future of our country,” said Mr. Ballout.
Mr. Boakai, Mr. Cummings, Senator Karnga-Lawrence, and Mr. Urey, along with their four political parties once united in an opposition bloc called the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP).
The CPP, a once formidable opposition bloc, opted to democratically unseat President George Manneh Weah and his ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) after one six-year term.
The CPP yielded some political successes ranging from victories in elections to championing national issues in the early days of the CDC regime.
But it has crumbled ahead of the 2023 elections, and only Mr. Cummings’ Alternative National Congress (ANC), and a faction of Nyonblee’s Liberty Party (LP) which is loyal to embattled LP chairman Musa Bility, remain in the CPP.
With supporters of Boakai and Cummings at each other’s throats over the CPP’s failure to form a presidential ticket, many here remain doubtful that the two statesmen can reunite and form the ticket their supporters once wished for.
Cummings repeatedly ruled out serving as running mate to Boakai, and this largely contributed to the divide in the CPP because many thought Boakai, a former Liberian Vice President, should now head the ticket.
Liberia is due to hold a presidential and legislative election this October, and incumbent President Weah will battle a divided opposition community for re-election.
However, Mr. Ballout strongly believes that a Boakai-Cummings ticket in the pending elections can redeem Liberia from the hands of President Weah and his officials.
The former Maryland Senator accused President Weah of allegedly inflicting massive suffering on the citizens.
He alleged that the government has failed since its inception five years ago.
“Look, if we the opposition must defeat this CDC government in October then we must rally to ensure that Ambassador Boakai and Mr. Cummings reunite because the future of this country rests on their shoulders,” said Mr. Ballout.
He admonished the opposition bloc that enough is enough, appealing that everyone in the opposition should consider adopting a new posture of collective respect, partnership, cooperation, and collaboration.
He suggested that the opposition is all in this together.
“Let us use our proximity, experience, education, and connection to various political leaders to reignite the spirit of oneness,” Ballout pleaded.
Ballout also extended an open apology to members of the opposition bloc, specifically to Amb. Boakai, Mr. Cummings, Senator Karnga-Lawrence, and Mr. Urey for the insults they received.
He urged them to look beyond themselves, and their political differences, the insults, and political injuries, and see the children in kindergarten, and the millions of young people without jobs.
He reminded the opposition leaders of the thousands of drug addicts, the elderly without social security, the 250.000 people who lost their lives in a senseless and brutal civil war and finding the courage to forge a new beginning.
Ballout strongly warned that if the opposition remains divided and goes to the election in October, it will lose the entire Legislature to the ruling party.
But he also believes that if the opposition goes to this election united, it will win the entire Legislature, and pave the way for an unhindered political, economic, and structural reform.
At the same time, Mr. Ballout fears that if one of the opposition members reaches the runoff, it will be a daunting task to reconcile their differences caused by years of in-house fighting.
He said the power struggle within the CPP didn’t only cause its disintegration, but equally fueled the flames of uncontrollable political bad blood.
Meanwhile, Senator Ballout recommended that if the opposition will defeat the CDC government, it must consider Ambassador Boakai as the standard bearer, while Mr. Cummings serves as his running mate.
He further recommended that Senator Karnga-Lawrence goes as President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate.
Ballout recommended the signing of a memorandum of understanding that will guarantee a significant inclusion of ALP in the government, should the opposition win.
“I also want to recommend that they sign [an] MOU that will guarantee Mr. Cummings as the standard bearer after Ambassador Boakai, including [a] MOU that will guarantee Mr. Cummings to choose his running mate from the Liberty Party,” said Ballout.
It was Boakai who rejected a joint convention to elect the standard bearer of CPP. So, let him concentrate on a UP partisan or an ALP partisan. It’s too late for a convention to elect a standard bearer. Boakai can choose Ballout or Urey. They are equally good.