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Sunday, May 19, 2024

LIBERIA: UREY, CUMMINGS SMOKE PEACE PIPE

Date:

By Olando Testimony Zeongar

PAYNESVILLE CITY, LIBERIA – It was an emotional moment and a delightfully exciting scene, as the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia (EFFL), Commander-In-Chief Emmanuel D. Gonquoi, at the weekend, brokered peace between two rival opposition politicians, Benoni Wilfred Urey, Political Leader of the All Liberian Party (ALP) and Alexander Benedict Cummings, Political Leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC).

The occasion was the first National People Assembly Congress of the EFFL, the venue was the Paynesville City Hall, outside the capital, Monrovia, when CIC Gonquoi, who referred to Urey and Cummings as father figures to him, lamented that a long-lasting feud between the pair, was unnecessary, emphasizing that as a son and political mentee to them, he was unhappy over the bad-blood between both men.

Referring to Urey and Cummings, Gonquoi intoned, “I have two great fathers in the political spheres with disagreement. I am not a happy child, if the two people who believe in me can have disagreement. Who do I stand with. The two of you are my fathers, I cannot live and see what I hear every day.”

Last year, a rift ensued between Cummings and Urey, when the latter accused the former of altering the Framework Document of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), which was originally comprised of four parties, including the former ruling Unity Party (UP), Liberty Party (LP) and the parties of both Urey and Cummings, the ALP and ANC respectively.

The CPP was organized, as the opposition’s best alternative to ousting from power and making the incumbent George Weah a one-term President at the polls later this year on 10 October.

But later, the CPP would be engulfed by a series of internal wranglings, chief among which was the Framework Document alleged alteration, which resulted in Urey’s ALP filing a lawsuit against ANC’s Cummings.

Although the case was later thrown out by the court, the ALP and UP withdrew their memberships from the CPP, with a faction of the LP, which is split over inter-party leadership squabbles and the ANC continuing with the collaboration, which pundits believe is not politically weighty to achieve its original objectives, as compared to the days it had a four-party membership.

“I have two great fathers in the political spheres with disagreements, I am not a happy child, if the two people who believe in me can have a disagreement. Who do I stand with. And that was the reason why I intentionally invited the two of them to come here, and there will be one good picture that will come from this place, two of them will hug before they go,” Gonquoi said amid applause from a mammoth crowd at the Convention.

Gonquoi, who stated that it was part of the EFFL’s philosophy to lead while others follow, maintained that his party’s invitation to Cummings and Urey, was a specific reason other than just gracing the Convention, while addressing the ANC Political Leader indicated, “I hope one of these days, the disagreement between you and Mr. Benoni Urey, y’all will fix it and you will be friends once more.”

He lavished praises on the two politicians, disclosing that throughout his political sojourn, both men have always been there for him.

“We’ve had challenges in the opposition bloc, we’ve had issues in the opposition bloc, but let me say this to you; Mr. Cummings and Mr. Urey, they’ve been more like fathers to me – and that’s why in their individual political disagreement, I thought it wise to have them invited, to appreciate them in public,” said Gonquoi, who averred that unlike many other Liberians, who he accused of not being good at appreciating people in public, he will do his in public.

“Mr. Urey and myself have come a long way… he’s being there; when I went to jail, he was there calling me every minute. He was checking on me. Mr. Urey, thank you very much. Mr. Cummings you see, did the same thing. Mr. Cummings, I want to say thank you, I salute you, thank you for being a father,” Gonquoi stated.

He then recalled how Urey and Cummings continue to fight for the future of young Liberians, and that youthful political actors like himself and others are watching the men leadership steps, and the patriotic and honest leadership roles they are playing, adding, “We are working along with you, we are walking in your shoes.”

“I always say to people, we fought war in this country, we killed one another, we found courage to go to Accra, to sit down with one another, shake hands, talked, came out here and led the country under a transitional government,” said the EFFL Commander-In-Chief, who disclosed that he intentionally invited the two beefing politicians to attend the maiden edition of his party’s convention, so as to have found a truce to the fight between them at the time.

“You [Cummings] are very decent; you’ve been there for me, Mr. Urey has been there for me, the two of you are my fathers, I cannot live and see what I hear everyday. I want the two of you, on behalf of Liberia…” Said Gonquoi, who just before he could end his conciliatory statement, the hall went abuzz with applause and the chanting of the peaceful slogan; “we want peace, we want peace, we want peace,” and in the midst of such euphoria, both Urey and Cummings, who were seated few meters apart on the high-table, arouse from their respective seats, with no visible sign of frown on their faces, and shook hands, to the delight of the thousands of Liberians that crammed the Paynesville City Hall to grace the EFFL’s first National Convention.

Meanwhile, over 40 individuals were on Friday, 31 March, elected into various leadership positions of the EFFL Party, at its first-ever national convention.

Those elected included Emmanuel D. Gonquoi, CIC/ Political Leader; Steve Kolubah, National Chairman; Julu Johnson, National Secretary General; and Fatumata J. Massaquoi, Treasurer General; among others.

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Smart News Liberia is an online news outlet and a product of Smart Media Group Inc. Our website, smartnewsliberia.com, covers a broad spectrum of news content. For inquiries or information, you can reach us at 0777425285 or 0886946925, or email us at smartnewsliberia@gmail.com or info@smartnewsliberia.com.

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