Liberia: Cummings 'Sacrifices' Taa Wongbe to Keep CPP Together Despite Rejection of Nimba Primary Result

Monrovia — Political indications show that Edith Gongloe Weh would be a force to reckon with in Nimba during the December 8 special senatorial election, but the process that led to her selection for the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) ticket came with a heavy sacrifice from the political leader of the ANC, Alexander C. Cummings, who had previously rejected her selection and called for a re-run of the primary due to the flawed nature under which it was held on September 6.

Over the weekend, three of the four members of the CPP including the Unity Party (UP), the All Liberian Party (ALP) and the Liberty Party (LP) signed a resolution endorsing Madam Weh as the preferred candidate of the Nimba County senatorial race.

Their decision to uphold the September 6 Nimba primary which declared Madam Gongloe-Weh as winner, according to the resolution emanated from the failure of her contender, Mr. Taa Wongbe, to take advantage of the primary guideline to file a complaint or protest within the stipulated time.

The Nimba primary was held amid tension and violence, yet the primary committee announced Madam Weh as winner with 127 votes against Wongbe's six votes. This result was immediately rejected by the ANC of which Wongbe is a member. The ANC had called for a re-run of the primary amid several claims of the process being fraudulent and a bad example.

The ANC had earlier rejected the resolution, indicating that it had "renewed its objection and rejection to the results of the highly flawed Nimba County Primary".

According to the ANC, the renewal of the objection was based on the independent review panel's report which failed to failed to validate the result and further noted the process as flawed and lacking credibility.

"As a party, we cannot in good conscience now validate any such results by accepting it because our colleagues believe we should do so in their interest. That our colleagues are resolved to impose a candidate from a flawed and bloody process on the Liberian people to contest on CPP's ticket, makes it practically difficult for the CPP to detach itself from Liberia's 'business as usual' politics," an ANC statement disclosed.

The ANC added: "The ANC believes in fair and honest dealing, and cannot lend credence to a process which conduct was a complete opposite of what the ANC stands for. It is unfortunate for anyone to expect the ANC to accept the results of a process our candidate and delegates did not participate in for fear of their lives or where bloodshed and violence was involved. If we must be an alternative to what we wish to change, we must do things differently in the interest of the people.

"The ANC remains committed to the CPP but will not participate in the usual "short-cut" way of doing things in Liberian politics. We have made several compromises in the interest of keeping the CPP together but will not compromise on our values as an institution. ANC is calling on other constituent parties in the CPP to be ready to accept change, if we are serious to change Liberia. Our promises to the Liberian people cannot and must not be lip-service; we must be what we are promising."

Without naming names, the leader of the All Liberia Party, Mr. Benoni Wilfred Urey had also alleged that someone within the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) used money to manipulate and influence the results of the primary to elect the CPP's candidate in the December 8 senatorial midterm elections for the vote-rich county.

"I have a party and a constituency in Liberia that I cater to. What happened is our right as a political party to decide who we will send as delegates. If people think they can go and bribe them and manipulate our delegates and we would accept it, I Benoni Urey will not accept it," the ALP leader said last Wednesday on a call in to the 50-50 morning talk show on 107.1 FM.

Asked whether he had any proof of who may have tried to bribe his delegates and influence the outcome of the primary, Mr. Urey declined to say, stating only: "People must stop trying to manipulate political situation to go in their favor. The Nimba people overwhelmingly have spoken. They want Edith Gongloe Weh. If you were to have a primary today, tomorrow or three other times, people of Nimba County will vote for Edith Gongloe Weh."

Compromise & Sacrifice

In a rather summersault, the ANC political leader, barely 24 hours after rejecting the endorsement and insisting on a re-run of the primary released a statement rescinding his quest for a re-run.

Cummings who also chairs the CPP stated that as a political leader, he is more concerned about saving Liberia and keeping the CPP together in order to focus its energy on the real issues confronting the country.

Cummings: "There comes a time when leaders must make sacrifices, devoid of selfish political motives, for the common good of a country and people. I recognize that this is not an ideal situation and is tough. However, we must make compromises to keep the CPP together and strong. I am therefore grateful that Taa Wongbe of the ANC has agreed with me and consented to put Liberia above ourselves and make the sacrifice while he makes decisions on his next steps. Under this circumstance, I, Alexander B. Cummings, have agreed to let Edit Gongloe represent the CPP in Nimba. This will ensure that we have candidates in each of our 15 counties in the upcoming elections, that the CPP and especially ANC is committed to women empowerment and increase of female representation."

He, however, maintained that the primary process in Nimba was flawed and therefore considers the outcome as invalid, noting that no candidate won the Nimba primary.

He added: "Under the circumstances, it may be logical to split the biblical baby as in King Solomon's days - to allow each of the candidates (Taa Wongbe and Edith Gongloe-Weh) to freely contest as independent candidates if they choose. And that choice is theirs to make".

Cummings admonished his colleagues in the opposition conglomeration that the ANC's numerous compromises is not a sign of weakness, but a determination to keep Liberia's opposition together, despite attempts to break it apart.

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