Monrovia, Liberia-The political leader of the Alternative National Congress, Alexander B. Cummings, has opposed the extension of the chairperson, Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence’s tenure as chair of CPP. Mr. Cummings has written CPP chairperson citing reported violation of the CPP’s Framework document. Sen. Lawrence, tenure as CPP chair beyond October 1, 2021, is now a dispute as reports suggest that she was granted an “emergency” extension by the four political leaders of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP).
However, Cummings has rejected Sen. Karnga-Lawrence,’s continuous stay at the top position of the CPP beyond October 1, 2021, to avoid setting a very dangerous domestic and international precedent. Alexander Commings wrote, in his letter to Sen. Karnga-Lawrence, “as important as it is for the sense of togetherness we always strive to publicly inspire, we forget that a meeting of the four political leaders is not a forum contemplated by the framework agreement for decision-making in the CPP,”. “In fact, specific roles are defined, and nowhere in the Agreement are the four Political Leaders constituted as an organ of the CPP or an agency for decision-making and its enforcement.
The Framework states the decision-making bodies are the National Assembly, National Advisory Council (which we sit on), and the National Executive Committee.” At the end of Sen. Karnga-Lawrence’s term, the rotating chairman position should be handed over to the former Vice President and his party. “The meeting of the four Political Leaders to “decide” to unilaterally extend the term of Chairperson is a clear violation of the Framework. Section 9.3.3 of the CPP Framework Agreement calls for a specified eight-month rotational period of chairmanship, and accordingly, bans repeated chairmanship until the full round of constituent parties have all had a chance to serve. This means that effective October 1, 2021, as specifically provided in the Framework Agreement, the CPP should and will be led by Amb. Joseph N. Boakai and the Unity Party for a period of eight months ensuing,” Mr. Cummings said.
Thus, he advised, it would be prudent that an objective person leads the consensus process for the search for the CPP’s political leader for the position. He added, “While I understand the need for an objective person to lead on consensus as proposed by Benoni, it is apparently also covered under the Framework. According to Section 11.4.2 of the Agreement, if consensus is not reached by September 30, 2021, the CPP Chair, in consultation with the National Advisory Committee (NAC), shall ensure Final Consensus Dialogues take place within the Month of November 2021, which shall be chaired by a neutral stakeholder. Based on the above, the CPP National Executive Committee, which is the body charged with leading the consensus process, has to be given the opportunity to complete its mandate. Therefore, selecting a neutral stakeholder to chair the Final Consensus Dialogues at this time, and without the participation of the NEC or NAC, is wrong and violates the Framework Agreement.”
“Where our decision is not a violation of the Framework, although not binding, the EC may endorse and validate. But where our decision is a clear violation of the Framework, we must self-correct. Importantly also, at the highest levels of democratic leadership of our various parties, it falls upon us to show, as often as we can, that we will remain committed to the CPP Framework Agreement, just as a CPP leadership of our country should remain committed to enforcing the laws of our land without fear or favor,” Cummings added.
But, Benoni Urey defends the decision to extend Sen. Karnga-Lawrence’s term to steer the affairs of the CPP for one month, since it met the approval of the four political leaders in their recent executive meeting.