In the 2017 race for the presidency, Benoni Urey declared that he was the best man for the job: “considering all my accomplishments in life…I think Liberia cannot find a better person.” He went so far to declare that “I will win; correction. The people of Liberia will vote for me; except there is electoral fraud.”
Of course, despite Urey’s confident rhetoric in 2017, the result was humiliating. Liberia’s ‘richest man’ got just 1.6 percent of the vote.
Benoni Urey is a man whose lust for power trumps all morals. During Liberia’s brutal civil war, Urey famously was the money man and gun runner for Charles Taylor, sticking by him through to the end.
Similarly, over the past year, Urey’s desire for control, power, and respect led him to destroy the opposition ahead of the 2023 presidential election. It begs the question: If the All-Liberia Party (ALP) was the sole leader of the opposition, what would the political landscape look like?
Urey’s willingness to go after Alexander Cummings, once ostensibly part of the same opposition alliance, shows he has no use for political partners, loyalty, or coalitions. If Urey was the top dog, we can expect that any disagreement or threat to his power would be met with unscrupulous attacks on anyone and everyone.
It is worth remembering that Joe Boakai was initially highly reluctant to go after Alexader Cummings in the way Urey did. In the dying days of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) when Boakai was the rotating leader, he was silent in the face of Urey’s accusations against Cummings. If Urey was at the helm rather than Boakai, the situation would have been even more explosive.
We must also not forget what Urey’s original plan was by blowing up the CPP. It is widely believed that Urey had plans to become the Vice President under Boakai. Then, if the ageing and unhealthy Boakai died, Urey would become President and he would appoint radio host Henry Costa as his VP.
Urey’s history as the man who did Charles Taylor’s dirty work shows that in the world of Benoni Urey, climbing to the top and hanging on the coattails of the powerful on the way up is the name of the game. Urey would happily make a deal with the devil if it meant he could grab more power. Anybody in an ‘alliance’ with Urey should assume he will abandon you when it suits him.
Urey’s continued willingness to hire crooked DC lobbyists who benefit from playing both sides of the war crimes game, paying them hundreds of thousands of dollars to get them off travel bans, raises worrying questions. A Benoni Urey in charge of the opposition would try to curry favor in Washington and launder his own reputation by hiring these crooks. This would inevitably backfire, and Liberia’s reputation would surely suffer in the eyes of the United States as a result.
The idea of Benoni Urey at the helm of power is a scary thought. Liberian voters and politicians must remind themselves of the danger that such a man presents to the country, its stability, and its reputation. It seems that many are already taking notice, including many ALP dignitaries who have already started running from the tarnished ex-Charles Taylor associate.