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The Benoni Urey Declaration for President (Part I)

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This article-in a series- does not intend to pacify, support or vilify individuals or institutions mentioned, but to point to some of the errors characterizing political agitation and general Liberian politics. Its primary focus is the recent public declaration by the former Commissioner of the Bureau of Maritime Affairs, Mr. Benoni Urey to run for the Liberian Presidency in 2017. Highlighted in the article are the reactions of a member of the Congress for Democratic Change or CDC, Mr. Samuel Tweh, Representative Edwin Snowe and the ‘other side’ of Mr. Urey presidential bid.

Since  former Maritime Commissioner Benoni Urey’s public declaration to contest the Liberian Presidency come 2017 a few weeks ago, there continue to be mixed reactions as to whether or not he has the presidential pedigree. Urey’s public pronouncement on his future presidential desire came after he was delisted from a 12-year United Nations travel ban in December of 2013.

Punctuating Benoni Urey’s presidential ambition a few days later, were condemnations from certain quarters of the Liberian society, including the first by Mr. Samuel Tweh- a founding member of the Congress for Democratic Change or CDC, as well as Representative Acarous Gray.

Even though Urey did not say he would contest on the ticket of the CDC, Samuel Tweh’s persistent verbal attacks on the former Maritime Commissioner so much so that he (Tweh) vowed to “destroy” the party if Urey won a primary over Mr. George Manneh Weah as Standard Bearer, presented the impression to the public that Urey was targeting the leadership of the CDC from Weah. His bitter and persistent reaction coincided with speculation that he had paid some US$2. 5 million to be the standard bearer of the CDC- an earlier  newspaper speculation discounted by Mr. Urey.

Tweh’s bitterness and persistent campaign against Urey’s presidential desire without first seeking verification from the hierarchy of the CDC is only indicative of the distance at which our country-Liberia remains from reconciliation. It is no secret that Mr. Tweh initially exhibited similar arrogance with all forms of denigration against President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf while in the United States, but no longer maintain such posture as a “founding member of the CDC” because of the financial glamour characterizing his inclusion in the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Administration as an Economist at the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs with a very fabulous salary and other benefits- an audio recording of his negative agitation a few years back against President Sirleaf played by  Truth Breakfast Talkshow host Mohammed Diakate a few weeks ago only exposed him (Tweh) as a “job-seeking political activist”-something now known by a number of well-meaning CDCians.

His bitter and emotional reaction would have been further rewarding had he first done his homework by constructively engaging Mr. George Manneh Weah and others on the matter, as well as reading the UN Panel of Experts Report in which Urey initially declared his intention to run for president as an independent candidate. Regrettably, he proceeded the way he did.

In as much as “Economist” Tweh may be entitled to his opinion in view of the Liberian Constitution, he’s not just someone that thousands of ordinary CDCians-most of whom may have crossed over from former President Charles Taylor’s  disintegrating-National Patriotic Party, can depend on in terms of making practically effective the principles for which, he (Tweh) claimed, the CDC stood.

Tweh, now an administration praise singer, should have first engaged the leadership of the CDC, including Mr. Weah, National Chairman George Solo or Secretary General Nathaniel McGill to ascertain the real facts about Benoni Urey’s presidential ambition before his emotional outburst. Had he done so, perhaps, his reaction would have and continue to be in order with the position of the party he claimed to love.

With the high level of transformation through which the CDC is currently undergoing in preparation for the 2014 and 2017 elections, Mr. Weah and the Executive Committee of the party must do everything possible to ensuring that Mr. Tweh and his likes don’t continue to make other Liberians to perceive the CDC as an unprepared political institution-in other words, a checkpoint must be created to stop them from portraying a negative image of the party in the eyes of Liberian voters.

For Montserrado County Representative Edwin Snowe, one would even wonder why he must even choose to expose himself as a political nuisance, owing to his recent ugly past that has made him irrelevant.

For Snowe to continue to present himself as a political pendulum despite the back-lashes from the public by suggesting that Benoni Urey’s recent declaration for the Liberian Presidency was out of excitement for his removal from the travel ban only shows his political nuisance. Perhaps, just to be heard out of the highest degree of sycophancy, the Montserrado County Representative chose to present himself as “Mr. Clean” not being also cognizant of his role in the National Patriotic Front of Liberia or NPFL, most especially his activities between Kakata, Gbarnga in Liberia and Kwendu across the border in Sierra Leone in the mid-90s.

No matter how Mr. Snowe tries to present himself in the eyes of the Liberian public in Monrovia, many Liberians still remember the Hydrocarbon Gas Station he worked in Kakata; the pick-up truck he drove between Gbarnga and Kwendu in Sierra Leone; as well as how he got his wealth in a very short period of time in the Charles Taylor Administration, capitalizing on his relationship with the former President as son-in-law and many more.

Many Liberians who may not have been in Liberia to followed Snowe’s activities during his former Father-in-Law administration, would have, at least, known Representative Snowe from his own story that “he was left under the palaver hut at Madam President’s residence by Mr. Robert Sirleaf unattended to after he had escorted an investor for an oil deal” and so forth….  There are many more ‘skeletons’ in the closet of Snowe to expose.

And so, for him to begin to bad mouth Urey, who may also have a sad share of this article (probably in part II), at this time when he doesn’t have the moral rectitude to do such, is not only regrettable, but equivalent to political madness on his path.

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