Out of the smoldering wreckage of the failed Collaborating Political Parties project, there are some renewed rumors of patching together another shot at a unity ticket between former VP Joe Boakai and the the ANC standard bearer Alexander Cummings to contest against President George Weah in the upcoming elections.
The optimism is based on some rumored meetings between the two men, and comments made by Amb. Boakai in an interview with Voice of America.
So is this dream team really going to come together? Or is it better described as a nightmare?
For as much gushing optimism has been expressed on social media, in particular emanating from Boakai’s well oiled propaganda machine, many on Cummings side recognize a trap when they see one.
“Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me,” commented one ANC member, referring to the wildly disruptive implosion of the CPP led by Boakai, which included the manufacture of false criminal charges filed against Cummings over alleged “forgery” of the framework documents.
After being dragged to court dozens of times and being forced to spend enormous sums on unnecessary legal fees, Alexander Cummings is unlikely to simply forgive and forget Joe Boakai‘s role in the affair, the source said.
“It is impossible to see this Unity Ticket coming together without a clear public apology by Boakai for his role in the CPP affair, which sought to attack the integrity of Liberia’s most respected businessman and future leader, Alexander Cummings,” said the ANC member.
Even during the VOA interview, Boakai offered no regret for engaging in alleged bribery of judicial officials to get criminal charges applied against his rival. In fact, he doubled down and blamed Cummings for Unity Party’s departure from the CPP, saying “you know divorce is always in two ways.”
Adding to the lack of trust and Boakai’s bad habits of not being truthful, there are some larger strategic considerations at play that present risks for the Cummings side to partner with Boakai.
Firstly, Boakai has already promised the vice presidency of his ticket to other opposition figures, among them Benoni Urey, who has flown him on a private jet to Nigeria to demonstrate his investment, as well as Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, who has been instrumental in swinging the CPP dispute toward the former vice president.
Secondly, there are grave concerns over whether a Boakai led ticket can be successful against the CDC machine when the former vice president has gone on the record to declare that he would prosecute all alleged former war criminals, including the influential Sen. Prince Johnson of Nimba County, which could cost them one of the largest blocs of votes in the country.
Cummings supporters not only believe that he has all the qualifications and none of the corruption of Boakai and therefore should headline his own ticket, potentially alongside Tiawan Say Gongloe, but also believe that the Boakai negotiations represent a well laid trap. After what has happened, there can be no trust in Boakai as a partner, not now, and certainly not as a potential leader.