Urey Covert Capture: Joseph Boakai struggles to find his voice, vision and campaign funds ahead of Election 2023

Benoni Urey has long been seen by ordinary Liberians and the political class in Liberia as a prolific source of democratic disruption and dangerous propaganda but less aggressive in his influence operations over the years than Prince Y. Johnson, Warlord turned Senator of Nimba County. The former Warlord has used warmongering, tribalism and and physical threats operations to disrupt Liberia’s voters’ perceptions during elections and denigrate his rivals in Nimba county but political and, security experts including tenured professor in Monrovia and observers from around the world now think Benoni Urey is increasingly adopting tactics associated with Prince Y. Johnson — and there’s growing, deep concern that Liberia political class and the Unity Party which is led by Joseph N. Boakai, isn’t doing enough to respond to Urey’s undemocratic and unpatriotic tactics.

Political experts show recent examples of “Urey-linked actors” like Henry P. Coast generating false news reports, posting large volumes of denigrating social media posts and live videos targeting peaceful individuals, disrupting, and corrupting the democratic airways of Liberia while at the same time, targeting and threatening anyone who wishes to tell the honest truth about Urey’s dark and twisted intentions for the Unity Party and Joseph Boakai.

Urey-linked actor like Henry P. Coast in company with the Leader of Unity Party, Joseph N. Boakai

While many of the discovered efforts of Benoni Urey is shadowed, politically disruptive but amateurish, experts in Monrovia think they signal a growing frustration in Urey and points out his apparent willingness from his Guantanamo Bay rundown home in Careysbourg to try more to influence national politics in Liberia through the campaigns of the Unity Party (UP) as part of a broader undemocratic strategy of “covert capture” of Joseph N. Boakai, according to two senior people familiar with the internal affairs of the party who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Benoni Urey in the midst of Unity Party officials and Joseph N. Boakai at a campaign program in Monrovia

“To many of us who have sweat and blead for the party from the beginning have seen the audacity of Urey to attempt to “covert capture” the decisions and agenda of Boakai,” one senior official said. An increasingly pessimistic mood has overcome Monrovia about Boakai “unrealistic, expansive political and economic goals” and the possibility of an unending debate among party strategists about how to adequately sell the political message to the Liberian people. According to the source, this pessimistic mood is driving calls from within the party to make a stronger effort to counter Benoni Urey’s influence within the party and within the party’s diaspora organizations.

Unity Party Lawmakers and establishment officials are particularly concerned about counties that comprise the “Populated North” in Liberia, where the Unity Party (UP), The Alternative National Congress (ANC) and Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) have huge political interests. Many of those counties have populations that now support the ANC and to some extend the CDC as a result of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), Framework Document fiasco, masterminded by Benoni Urey and other actors.

Fighting against the Benoni Urey influence over Boakai and the party “should be a whole of Party effort,” said one Representative who choose to remain anonymous. According to a high-ranking official, actors within the Benoni Urey camp are “going around Liberia, and on Social Media bad-mouthing Alexander Cummings and the ANC for “not wanting to collaborate with Boakai to take on Weah in the upcoming 2023 Elections”. The bad-mouthing narrative has proven to be false based on our investigation as we have found it’s another of Benoni Urey distraction strategy to keep Boakai and other level-headed Unity Party establishment officials from venturing in such “collaborative idea” with Cummings.

When our reporters reached out to ANC officials in Monrovia, they said in a reply that they “opposes the fabrication and dissemination of false information” and blamed the weakening Unity Party for allowing such “bad-mouthing narrative” on radio, in print media and on social media which was meant as a “tool to manipulate domestic and international public opinion and weaponize political stigmatization” against ANC leader Alexander Cummings and his party.

A source from the ANC said that “on this matter, it is for the Unity Party side to reflect on itself and stop allowing the negativity virus Benoni Urey has injected into the party which officials of ANC believe will end the “bad-mouthing narrative.” Unity Party social media propaganda channels, as well as social media influencers with loud voices and followings, routinely spread hash propaganda with the intension to weaken public and political perception of Alexander Cummings. Political Strategists believe the hash propaganda over the months and weeks against Cummings and the targeted strategy on his character has failed and resulted into a backlash against Unity Party and Joseph Boakai.

ANC leader Alexander Cummings and Benoni Urey in recent years were close enough to attend a funeral together in Liberia

Alexander Cummings has strongly rejected the negativity and has constrained his platform engaging in “dirty jobs” to protect the peace and direction of Liberia democracy.

Benoni Urey has long been seen as strongly unwilling to take provocative steps toward peaceful resolution within the opposition block before the start of the 2023 general election in Liberia. Ordinary Liberians now believe that the acceptance of peaceful resolution could expose Urey to “public blame and shame” for the collapse of the former CPP.

The now shadowed advisor is increasingly viewed unfavorably in Liberia and much of West Africa due to has role in Liberia civil war and obsessive loyalty to the former President of Liberia now jailed criminal Charles Taylor, according to research conducted. In the counties of Liberia there are more negative attitudes about the Unity Party as a result of Urey, often driven by his savage ambition to side step anyone who tries to come closer to Boakai.