As the war of words within the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) continues, the Standard Bearer of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) has defended himself in the wake of allegations that he tampered with the Framework Document before submission to the National Elections Commission (NEC).
Addressing the press at ANC headquarters on Sunday, October 10, 2021, Cummings declared that he and his ANC party did not alter the provisions of the Framework Document.
He contended that the Framework Document amended by CPP legal advisors approved by all parties is materially, substantially and provisionally the same as the instrument filed to register the CPP with NEC.
As far as Cummings is concerned, the Framework Document filed with NEC to register the CPP offers no advantage over anyone within the CPP. He added that it offers ANC no advantage over any other party within the CPP.
He argues that the Framework Document contains all of the agreements as amended by the legal advisors and approved by all parties and was the same instrument used to register and certify the CPP, thus enabling it to field candidates during the Mid-Term Senatorial Elections on December 8, 2021 and that of the pending bi-elections in Grand Gedeh, Bomi, Nimba and Bong Counties.
“This false accusation is an assault on my character only intended to tarnish my hard-earned reputation and present me to the Liberian people as being the same as the accusers,” Cummings cried.
The ANC leader went on to say that his period of silence was to allow the committee to do its work and for the lawyers to respond.
Now that the findings have been made known, Cummings insists that he can no longer remain silent while his name is being dragged in the mud and his hard earned reputation tarnished by individuals who feel entitled to state power.
He disclosed that, “The Framework Document signed on zoom on May 19, 2020 was under the leadership of Benoni Urey during the heat of Covid-19. He turned over to me after the zoom ceremony with no turnover notes.”
Meanwhile, he said, “For nearly two months now, the CPP has struggled with public distrust as our disagreements have unfortunately spilled into the public. We have all known, and I believe the public expected, that our decision to come together would have moments of disagreements.”
Yet, he believes no disagreement should weigh against their collective resolve to always put the interests of the Liberian people first, which is to hold the George Weah government accountable; “help to ease the suffering of Liberians under this corrupt, incompetent and wasteful government; and democratically end the failed Weah administration as a one-term presidency.” Given the public disagreements and distrusts, Cummings said CPP leaders have turned attention to themselves and away from their duties and commitments, only to the benefit of President Weah.
He thinks this is wrong and noted that as every party has tried to fight back, their distrust and disagreements have only deepened to threaten the very existence of the CPP, which Liberians overwhelmingly favored with their support in the 2020 Mid-term Elections.
“I do not desire to win a small and inconsequential battle in the CPP at the cost of destroying the CPP, the creation of the Liberian people. At some point, I hope all of us who are leaders of the CPP will come to similar recognition that which brought us together and unites us, is more important than that which is threatening to pull us apart and divide us.”
Accordingly, the ANC leader disclosed that he has met with leaders of the ANC and asked them to pull back.
“Despite the strong sentiments of feeling provoked, often alone, and without choice but to fight back for their and mine hard-earned reputation, and given the fact that the ANC and I did not alter the Framework Agreement, but acted honorably in registering the CPP, our partisans and supporters have accepted and agreed to step back.”
He has asked others to do the same, and to allow the processes to which they have all agreed and are committed to see through, be followed.
Cummings expressed confidence that the CPP will survive this and learn from the fallout and experience to become better stewards of their commitments to the Liberian people, and better custodians of their trust.
The defense from Cummings was prompted by revelations from the Chairperson of the opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence of Grand Bassa County, that all the infractions, procedural transgressions and fraudulent inclines as captured in the investigative findings transpired under and during the leadership of the ANC Standard Bearer and his party, given the mandate and obligation to ensure that the procedures and other legal proceedings thereto leading to the filing of the CPP’s Framework Document with the NEC were done.
She therefore called on Mr. Cummings to summon the courage to take ownership of all that transpired and the crisis thereof.
On August 18, 2021 the All Liberian Party (ALP) through its Political Leader, Benoni W. Urey, filed a complaint with the leadership of the CPP that the Framework Agreement was tampered with before submission to the NEC.
She mentioned in a statement on Thursday, October 7, 2021 that the National Advisory Council (NAC) of the CPP on October 6, 2021 received from the committee established to investigate the claims made by Mr. Urey in a 28-page report.
Following a detailed presentation of the report which thoroughly analyzed three separate framework documents (FA signed on May 19, 2020; Amended FA dated April 25, 2020 named Lawyers’ version and the FA filed with the NEC), Senator Karnga-Lawrence as head of the CPP then made known findings from the investigative report to the public.
According to her, the findings from the investigative report were put under two categories; namely procedures leading to the submission of the FA to the NEC, and content change in the various FAs.
The investigation, she disclosed, finds that there were significant procedural lapses leading to the submission of the Framework Document with the NEC under the leadership of Mr. Cummings.
She noted that there were significant structural and content differences of the Original FA to the copy filed at the NEC, as Articles, Sections and Subsections were significantly rearranged in both the Amended and Filed Copies of the FA.
The findings say there are also structural changes between the Amended Copy from the lawyers to that Filed with NEC.
She extended profound gratitude to the five-member committee for the professional and impartial investigation they conducted and the balanced and credible report they have produced.
Senator Karnga-Lawrence went on to commend and appreciate Mr. Urey for flagging and bringing to the attention of the CPP leadership and the Liberian people at large, the altering of the CPP’s Framework Document, both in written and verbal notification.
Meanwhile, in the wake of the blame games, Madam Karnga-Lawrence on behalf of the CPP leadership called for calm among all its members and parties while the full report is being submitted to lawyers for further advice and subsequent relevant actions by the CPP.