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Split in UP over Boakai endorsement

As Urey accused of attempting to break up CPP

-to become Boakai’s running mate

-Dillon and Nyonblee fight to become Baokai running mate in CPP

By Othello B. Garblah

A split has emerged within the former ruling Unity Party (UP)over a decision by the National Executive Committee (NEC) to endorse former Vice President Joseph N. Boakai as the party’s candidate for the CPP presidential slot in the absence of a party convention.

Highly placed sources within the party alleged that the former vice president is toying with the convention process citing the lack of money to hold a convention and is using the NEC to upsurge the UP constitution and crown him their candidate for the CPP top position.

UP is expected to announce Mr. Boakai as its candidate for the CPP (Collaborating Political Parties) standard-bearer slot sometime next week, according to sources within the party.

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Members of the party’s NEC met last Friday to polish and fine-tuned their decision to endorse Mr. Boakai ahead of a convention in July next year.

The NEC which is predominantly pro-Boakai argument is that the CPP framework does not require a candidate to be chosen at a convention, rather the candidate should be a presidential candidate and since former Vice President Boakai was the presidential candidate in the 2017 election, he meets the CPP requirement.

The pro-Boakai group further argued that if any other candidate emerged at the UP convention scheduled for July 2022, around the same time the CPP is expected to hold its convention, that person would automatically become the UP political leader, while Boakai, if he wins the CPP nomination becomes a CPP candidate.

But the anti-Boakai group has vehemently rejected the move insisting that there be a convention before sending a candidate for the CPP convention. They countered argued that Boakai’s tenure as political leader would have ended before the CPP convention and therefore whoever wins the convention should represent the party at the CPP and not Boakia hijacking the process along the way.

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The Benoni Urey factor

The anti-Boakai group is also accusing Mr. Benoni Urey, the political leader of the All Liberian Party (ALP), another constituent member of the CPP of trying to push Mr. Boakai and break up the CPP so that he can become a running mate to the former vice president in the 2023 general and presidential elections.

Their accusation only confirmed the deep-rooted division within the various constituent members’ parties that are spilling over to the CPP.

Mr. Urey, recently alleged that the CPP framework document had been altered but did not say by who. His criticism against one of the constituent members Mr. Alexander B. Cummings of the Alternative National Congress only tells you where he is headed.

Cummings challenged Urey to state exactly which portion of the CPP framework had been tampered with but he is yet to respond.

An anti-Boakai member from within the UP who pleaded anonymity told the New Dawn on Sunday that Mr. Urey wants to break up the CPP and run as vice President to Boakai.

“Urey has been the one running all of these things,” another source told the New Dawn Sunday.

Dillon and Nyonblee fight to become Baokai running mate in CPP

“But another plot is (Senators) Nyonblee (Karnga-Lawrence) and (Darius) Dillon are also aiming at being the vice to the Old man (Boakai) that is why you heard all these noises within the LP (Liberty Party, the fourth constituent member of the CPP)”.

Where the country is right now Boakai doesn’t have the energy to move it forward. And we have told him. With the economy at this stage, you don’t have the energy to lead.  Be an elderly statesman call Cummings and tell him we will support you but you need to in return choose one of our guys as vice president.” The UP official continued.

“But if you allow Cummings to go on his own, the UP will end up losing everything.” The source added.

Defending the UP NEC decision

Cllr. Bushuben M. Keita is the legal officer of the former ruling Unity Party. He says the issue that the anti-Boakai group has is that they erroneously believe that there has to be a convention before the party can put forward a candidate to the CPP.

Cllr. Keita said to the contrary the CPP is not a Unity Party and does not operate within the Unity Party Constitution. “The CPP works by a framework document,” he said.

He explained that Boakia is already the standard-bearer and the political leader for UP, a position he holds for 6-years. “So the next time that Boakai is supposed to come up for election is next year. So he is in the position until we can go to the convention.”

What the CPP framework document says?

Cllr. Keita: “Now the CPP framework document says that the aspirant, the person who will head the ticket has to be a presidential aspirant. And we say our candidate is a presidential aspirant. So the thing here now is to push forward our existing standard-bearer as an aspirant for the CPP.

Now, there are people within the UP, because we have been discussing it over the last two days now, there are people within our party who say we should wait until our convention in July, where we will be getting a standard bearer-then we can put that standard-bearer forward.

The question is what happens to the standard-bearer that we have now? If the CPP convention is coming up in 2022, then who is our aspirant?

While would our aspirant be waiting until we go to a convention and see if we can do this or that. There is nothing in our constitution that prohibits it. I am the legal officer of the party. There is nothing in our constitution that says anything about the CPP. The entire CPP arrangement is an arrangement separate from our constitution.

So they are trying to include CPP requirements as if we are talking about the Unity Party standard-bearer- ship and those are two different things. There is no legal requirement that says our standard-bearer should wait after the convention before he can go as the CPP candidate.

Here is what they are thinking because normally when we go for a convention before the election, people can challenge the standard-bearer. So they are thinking maybe somebody else can challenge the standard-bearer and that person can become the standard bearer-then it is that person now that will go and aspire for the CPP leadership, that is the way they are thinking but there is no requirement for that. There is no requirement that says the current standard-bearer cannot say I want to be president but should wait after the convention-no.

If Boakai wins the CPP and loses at the UP convention, the different person becomes the political leader of the UP and Boakai retains the CPP ticket.”

Urey factor

Cllr. Keita dismissed the Urey factor saying, Urey is not in UP. According to him the decision taken on Friday was taken at a Unity Party meeting.

“It actually came as a surprise to the anti-Boakai people and it is the anti-Boakai force within our own political party and even outside of it that are taken aback or even surprised by it. But putting forward the candidate as the head of the entity does not have to wait for our convention because the CPP convention will even take place before our convention or will take place at the same time.

Boakai is going to be a presidential candidate for the CPP, not the UP. If it were UP we would have waited for our convention.” Cllr. Keita concluded.

An aggrieved official wrote

The NEC meeting at the Standard-bearer house, instead of the Party Headquarters, to take a very serious Constitutional undertaking as was done yesterday was bad precedence. We need an explanation about why it was so urgent and prudent to do so. The last time a similar thing happened partisans were expelled in the usurpation of the constitution and there was a serious backlash that the Party is yet to fully recover from.

The NEC election of an SB yesterday outside the convention is dangerous precedence and could be exploited by someone else tomorrow to circumvent the Convention. Example what stops someone in the future from obtaining a resolution to extend the tenure of elected officers? In fact, it was even attempted yesterday at the NEC. Similarly, what stops someone in the future from obtaining a resolution to land himself or herself Standard-bearer of the Party?

We knew more than a year ago that our convention date was in conflict with the CPP selection process. In fact, UP was part of putting the CPP framework together.  What stopped us from calling an early convention to elect officials as other parties did? LP had theirs in Buchanan; ANC in Ganta.

There was even an attempt yesterday to extend the tenure of the current executives for 6 years outside convention

The NEC wants to pass a resolution freezing the rights of delegates to vote at CPP primaries for fear of mistrust. They want a resolution to vote as a block. Again, this is anti-democratic and against the Liberian constitution as well as that of the Party. Besides, how can we harbor just gross mistrust of our party structures? Is it not possible to appoint 300 loyal delegates? If not, then we have a serious problem with political management. It is this same mistrust and suspicion that partly led to our defeat in 2017.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/cpp-on-the-brink/

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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