By Olando Testimony Zeongar
MONROVIA – Barely five months to Liberia’s General and Presidential Elections, the Chairman of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), Musa Hassan Bility, has revealed the CPP’s plan to win the presidential polls, which he said involves bringing down the Unity Party (UP) of former Vice President Joseph N. Boakai.
Until it withdrew its membership last year, following a rift that ensued between leaders of two other constituent member parties, Alexander B. Cummings of the Alternative National Congress and Benoni W. Urey of the All Liberian Party, when the latter accused the former of altering the Framework Document of the CPP, the UP was one of the political collaboration’s original four parties, which included 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 bloc’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 enough to achieve its original objectives, as compared to the days it had a four-party membership.
“Our path to the presidency, we’ve got to bring the Unity Party down in order to replace them,” Bility said of the CPP when on Monday, he appeared as a guest on the talk show, The Closing Argument.
He disclosed that the CPP’s path to the presidency is through the Unity Party, which he accused of not wanting to do the required work aimed at winning the 2023 presidential election.
He stated that politics is a science, which entails work, noting that UP does not want to work.
“The UP doesn’t want to work. The UP feels it does not have equal,” Bility added, pointing out that no single party in Liberia is able to win the 2023 presidential election in the first round – “You’re going to have to sit with other people,” he said.
Bility, then predicted a do-or-die battle between the UP and the governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), adding that while both parties would be at each other’s throat for the first spot during the first round of the election, the CPP on the other hand, would be relaxing and watching, with the aim that the UP relinquishes the second spot to the CPP.
In 2017, during Liberia’s last presidential election that went into runoff, the UP came second to the CDC, with the latter sweeping the polls with over 60 percent of the total votes.
The CPP Chairman, who bragged that his party would go to round two of the October presidential election and will need Unity Party at such time, claims the UP is not a serious organization, adding that he’s now convinced that the former ruling party itself now knows it is going nowhere.
Said Bility: “I take one bet at a time. What I can bet now is that in the election of Liberia in the second round, there will be a candidate called Alexander B. Cummings and the vice presidential candidate call Charlyne M. Brumskine.”
“We will need the Unity Party in the second round because we are going to the second round,” said Bility, who claims there is no freeride for UP anywhere in the 15 political sub-divisions of the country, and that the party’s chances are rocky.
“But guess what, there is freeride for us in the Bassa Belt, and we are moving. As I speak to you, we are taking appropriate steps to consolidate that position, fortify our fortress, build our enclave in there and make sure that no one touches it,” said Bility, who intoned that the UP has recklessly surrendered the Bassa Belt to his party. The Bassa Belt includes Grand Bassa, Margibi and River Cess Counties
“They don’t have money to run a campaign. They don’t even have a campaign team. They don’t have a national agenda. They are being uprooted in Lofa County. They have no plan in Montserrado. They have forfeited the Bassa Belt. They have no track in the southeast. They are under serious attack in Nimba County,” Bility said of the Unity Party, which he accused of being disinterested in opposition unity.
The CPP chair, who is of the opinion that the Unity Party is disintegrating, revealed that he’s beginning to see a crack in the way the UP operates, adding, “and I think their disintegration has started.”
“We are four months to elections – whether you like it or not. Where is the Unity Party campaign team? Even to have an agreement between the Unity Party and the MDR, it has not been signed. There is nothing; no campaign manager, no candidates. The MDR (Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction), is Senator Prince Johnson’s political party, from which the UP selected its vice standard bearer, another Nimba senator, Jeremiah Kpan Koung.
Bility’s tirade against the UP, was triggered by assertions attributed to the party’s political ally, Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson, who reportedly accused both the standard bearer and vice standard bearer of the CPP of indulging in homosexuality.
“As a political leader, I don’t think that Senator Johnson should have made that statement that he made – it’s very bad. It hurt the CPP, it hurt our leaders, it hurt the entire organization. I mean, the women are enraged,” said Bility, who disclosed that he has since been leading efforts to calm down members of the party including those of CPP Global and CPP USA, so as to prevent the opposition from disintegrating into what he referred to as a “free-for-all-fight.”
Bility blamed the UP and its standard bearer, former Vice President Boakai, for doing nothing to solve what he termed as an opposition crisis ignited as a result of Senator Johnson’s utterances against leaders of the CPP.
“Where is Joseph Boakai? Where is he? We have a crisis in the opposition, you expect him to take the phone and calm the [situation],” said Bility, who opined that had it been the other way around that someone from the CPP had done something similar to what Senator Johnson did, the leader of the CPP, Mr. Alexander Cummings, would have long taken the telephone to place a call across to the aggrieved individuals.
“Whether you like it or not, it will be one of us in the opposition that will face George Weah. There are 30 percent of the voting population of this country that will vote for George Weah, no matter what – and anybody who gets 30 percent of the votes, you will go to the second round,” Bility stated, adding, “I am just imagining a scenario, where the Unity Party believes that it is the superior party in Liberia. So, in the unlikely event that the UP goes to the second round with the CDC, how do they come to us to talk about supporting them.”
He believes the UP perceived disinterest in opposition unity is a result of what he termed some kind of frustration, adding, “Because in politics, you have to see that you are going to get there, and when you have the feeling that you are going to get there, then you look around the other opposition and then you assume that you’re going to need them. And then, that will make you react to them differently, to behave to them differently, because, at some point in time, you know you’re going to need them.”
“But the way I see the Unity Party, they don’t have interest in tomorrow. I think that that party has hit the wall and it is going to reverberate in our political system,” Bility emphasized.