What started as a moment of smooth cruising for the Chairman of the Liberty Party (LP), Mr. Musa H. Bility, comfortably seated and almost practically conducting the conversation on the Spoon Talk Show virtually like guest speaker with the panelists nearly appearing as audience, shortly turned very sour when the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Stanton A. Witherspoon, Sr., mounted the theater as a firebrand component of the panelists, with very straight-to-the-face-hard-tough and difficult questions, the very relaxed mood of abruptly changed because he (Bility) least expected to be asked such questions, which later turned the reflection of the occasion into fire on the mountain.
Chairman Bility, being the guest of Spoon Talk Show held on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 upon explaining preparation to play host to the Political Leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Mr., Alexander B. Cummings at the headquarters of the Liberty Party upon his (Cummings’) arrival into the country from the United States of America prompted questions from the panelists, with one sticky question whether the Political Leader of LP, Grand Bassa County’s Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence was aware or informed about the transaction regarding the usage of the party’s headquarters as a matter of courtesy since according to Chairman Bility that the Senator was out of the country, but insisted that it did not matter if she is aware or not, once the Party’s Executive Committee sanctioned it, obviously, it became a done deal.
Chairman Bility, in the interim, referenced a press release issued by Nyonblee which according to him, should not have been done despite being told by the executive Committee not to do so; moreover he firmly stood against a statement published by the Executive Committee of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) under the Chairmanship of Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai without , again, according to him (Bility), the input of the other three constituent political parties-Liberty, ANC and ALP, which should not be done that way.
Then the drama landed on the floor, CEO Witherspoon in his question to Chairman Bility, reiterated he ever contacted Nyonblee to hint or inform her about the program planned to be held at LP’s Headquarters concerning Cummings’ arrival, even just out of courtesy, but Bility took cover behind his previous answer that it was no need to do so since the Executive Committee had approved of it. He also intoned that their constitution gives the chairman the right, authority or power to conduct the affairs of the party when the Political Leader is out of the country. The controversial Chairman was told straight to the face that he was not right with such a behavioral pattern; that he should know that operating a political party is far from running a business empire; that the people’s vested hoped and aspirations are tied to the political party for greater and wider achievements; that he and Nyonblee do not own the party and they should stop drilling the wedge in the middle of the party by behaving in manner and form totally geared toward divisionism and subsequent destruction of the party only to appease some political godfather rather, all should work in the supreme interest of the biggest picture, which is Liberia.
The boldness and straight talk loaded with the hard facts of reality and never expected from any member of the panelists, took controversial Chairman Biliy by a breezy shock and grave surprise, and out of an unorthodox fashion, charged back, pointing out that he (Bility) did not believe that CEO Witherspoon could be so personal and go semi-gutter with him, adding that the latter (CEO) must not think he has money and would unruly disrupt intelligent conversation because he owns it, and demanded an apology from the CEO; but as the CEO remains consistent and persistent with his position, and vowed not to, and owes nobody an apology; Chainman Bility then noted that the program (Cummings’ arrival including subsequent activities) will be held at the headquarters of the Liberty Party and (Bility) that nothing will stall it, despite some segment in the party that opposed to the development and stated to disallow same; yet Bility insists and assures the public that the Headquarters will be protected; and added that a swift Executive Committee meeting will be held to bring an end to what is eroding the cohesiveness of the troubled-Liberty Party. When asked by the CEO whether the crux of the meeting is to expel suspend the Political Leader, Senator Lawrence, Bility remained mute, but said that he was done with the spoon’s platform.
Meanwhile, a release issued on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 noted that Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence called on Mr. Cummings to drop such invitation with immediate effect because it is not welcomed at the offices of the Liberty Party.
Also, the Political Leader Senator Lawrence said, “I’m appalled by Mr. Cummings’ decision to attend a program at a Liberty Party’s facility without a courtesy call to my office, these types of action encourage the continued marginalization of women in our society”.
However, in a lengthy chat with some pundits who closely followed the Bility-CEO saga, observed that the rift in the CPP which has its setting in the internal wrangling and clique-driven- Liberty Party that has quickly extended to the greater CPP, should by now ring a sober bell for Bility to listen to, and be carefully guided for him to know how, where and when he makes his move, especially after the leaked tape which s allegedly and openly linked him to being an activist of Cummings’ efforts to win the ticket of the CPP against the interest of former Vice President, Dr. Boakai, despite suspension of those involved with the leaked tape which clearly alleged that Bility was unveiling the grand scheme of operation with Cummings for victory against Ambassador Boakai’s and having earlier succeeded in suspending Senator Abraham Darius Dillon for six months though the Executive Committee upon overruling Senator Lawrence’s opposition to the suspension of Darius; politically, that should be a warning shot that he’s been watched very closely concerning his hidden agenda, and should thereafter calculate keenly before making his move at the right time to avoid any premature mishaps
Another thing they found very difficult and absolute undermining of the Chairmanship of Dr. Boakai’s leadership who inherited a very fragile CPP saddled with bad blood, rift, row serious internal wrangling, bickering along with lack of trust and confidence crisis, is the statement issued by the Executive Committee under the leadership of Dr. Boakai with Bility claiming that the other three collaborating parties had no input. The pundits would critically want to know if the other parties ever had any input in the several addresses from Cummings to the nation and on other crucial issues confronting the state and the way the current leadership is moving the country with the people wailing from economic , judiciary political, social and cultural depressions with emphasis on abject poverty? They cited the message Enough Is Enough from Cummings and the latest statement published under Chairman Boakai ‘s leadership.
Cummings’ Enough Is Enough
My fellow Liberians,
Once again, the careless and irresponsible attitude of the Liberian Government is being exposed. Under this George Weah-led Government, Liberia continues to be internationally disgraced, shamed and laughed at.
Giving people justice and ending impunity are not issues over which any responsible government ought to wait to be publicly chastised by its international partners. These are things responsible governments do to cleanse the soul of a nation, and to keep countries secure, stable and peaceful.
We have all seen what it means for our country to breakdown and become lawless. And so, Liberia does not need to wait and be reminded to do the things we need to do to build a more just society that will punish crimes. This is the only way to make our society truly law-abiding.
However, it is hard to stop stealing in government when the people who should be stopping the stealing, and setting the good examples by not stealing, are actually the rogues. It is also hard to punish anyone for crimes, however bad, when the leaders are looking for special favors from the criminals, or are themselves, benefiting from the crimes.
Whether it is done by Presidents or Ministers – whether it is done by a friend, opposition, or relative – stealing from the people is wrong. We cannot continue to pretend that one day, stealing in government will stop by itself. We have to stop it ourselves, because as we continue to see, it is keeping too many of our people poor.
Whether it is done by warlords or presidents, killing involved. Innocent people, mysteriously or in the name of war, is also wrong. To stop it, we must investigate seriously and punish anyone
Enough Is Enough!
We must stop the stealing in government. We must stop the looting of our country. We must stop the killing of innocent people. We must end impunity for crimes. We must become a more just and safer society. I feel very strongly about this, and I know that we can do it.
Placing individuals above the law, and not holding each other fully accountable for crimes, are practices that have kept us backward for far too long. This is why I support the establishment of a war crimes court, and a court on economic crimes.
These courts will help us find justice for victims. Hopefully, they will lay painful memories of loved ones, and innocent souls to their deserved eternal rests.
I believe they will also lift the weight off the shoulders of accused persons who believe themselves to be innocent or wrongly accused. A court is not just a place to seek punishment. It is a place to find truth, to award justice, and to set the innocent or wrongly accused, free.
Importantly, these courts will help us heal, be reconciled, and not continue to live in fear of each other. And especially for a court on economic crimes, I believe it ought to not be limited to only the commission of economic crimes during the war but that it must have jurisdictions to deal with past, current and future economic crimes such as stealing from the people, and passing deals that cheat Liberia and Liberians.
Finally, I know establishing these courts will not be easy. There are many questions to be answered. Public opinions and concerns differ. Lawyers tell me there are a lot of things we will need to do.
But I support the establishments of these courts because I believe it is the right thing to do for our country. It will help us to change for the better, and to be more accountable to each other.
I also know that turning a blind eye to crimes in the name of peace will give us no peace. And so, even if it is hard – even if it scares us – we must find the way to do it. We must also find the help we will need to do it. But in the end, we must do it for ourselves, and for our children.
We have to change, if we will become a country that will give justice fairly and blindly to all who seek it. From rape and the acceptance of bribes by judges and other public officials, to crimes against humanity and stealing from the Liberian people, we must be a country that will hold everyone accountable. When we do this, our children and their children will live in a more just, peaceful, prosperous and reconciled society than we have today. We owe this to ourselves and to future generations.
I thank you.
TEXT – A Special Statement on Ending Impunity in Liberia by Alexander B. Cummings, Political Leader, Alternative National Congress
First Statement Under Chairman Boakai
The CPP notes with serious concern that after the CDC-government conducted a controversial and fraud-laden US$25 Mop-Up Exercise in 2018, the last quarter of each year since then has been characterized by a strange scarcity of Liberian dollar banknotes on the market and a corresponding precipitous drop in the Liberian Dollar-US Dollar exchange rate. Not surprisingly, this nightmarish scenario has begun to raise its ugly head this year. This time around, it is the refusal of the government through the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to supply needed Liberian dollars, which has led to a complete shortage of the Liberian dollars on the market. This is not only counterproductive to the economic growth desperately needed, but it is broad daylight hardship being imposed on the people of Liberia by the CDC-Led Government. How can the government sit idly with such insensitivity to the Liberian people when prices of food, clothing and other essential commodities are still high while the Liberian dollar is appreciating? Our re-cent check on the CBL website shows that monthly data on inflation since June ending 2021 is yet to be published by the CBL. The CBL must wake up and not allow itself to be a puppet in the hands of politicians seeking their personal welfare over the Liberian people.
One significant factor explaining this shortage of the Liberian dollar on the market during the last quarter of the year is the deliberate and intentional failure of the CBL to service Liberian dollar withdrawal demands of the commercial banks that are obligated to hold Liberian dollar current accounts with the CBL. This gross failure of the government to meet its commitments to the commercial banks consequently translates to the growing lack of confidence in the Liberian banking sector by the public.
It is quite surprising to hear the Minister of Finance speak of achieving single-digit inflation in an environment of induced appreciation of the Liberian dollar against the US dollar. This, accompanied by the rapid eroding of consumer purchasing power is simply a sophisticated and well-orchestrated deception taking place before our very eyes. Mr. President, the Liberian people deserve better living conditions than what they are now experiencing after all your campaign promises; regardless of how economic data and the facts are twisted, the average Liberian knows what it means to be hungry and deprived. The people in basic terms, do not need anyone to tell them that as the local currency in which they trade and their salaries are paid appreciates, the prices of food items (especially their staple, rice), gasoline, transportation fares, school tuitions and fees, among others, are expected to reduce. Politics and economics are immiscible. Unfortunately, while our people suffer the excruciating effects of this economic contradiction, some officials and apologists of the CDC government are rather celebrating the suffering of the Liberian people. How can they claim that they are doing a good job when our people are crying this much?
It can be recalled that when officials of the CDC Government were actively seeking legislative approval for the printing of additional Liberian dollar banknotes, they promised that this would bring to end, once and for all, this recurring last-quarter nightmare of shortage of Liberian dollar banknotes at the commercial banks and in the market. The Legislature must give back the operational independence to the CBL that allows the CBL to print Liberian- dollar banknotes in line with economic fundamentals and stop using the current approval process negotiations every time the CBL come seeking approval to print. Do the honorable thing LEGISLATURE by ad-dressing ambiguities in Part II Count 2, Counts 6B, 6C, and 6O; Part V Count 23 (1 and 2); and Article 34 (D) of the Liberian Constitution and ultimately amend the October 21, 2020 Amended CBL Act to restore CBL to normalcy and alignment with international and regional best practices. This should then pave the way for the appointment of competent and professional Liberians with track record in the business of monetary policy design and implementation to sit on the Board and Senior management of the CBL.
The CPP therefore demands that the CDC Government fulfill its promises and urgently put an end to this exploitative and anomalous economic situation. The CPP calls on the Government to stop seeking imaginary solutions to the challenges of the Liberian economy and instead focus on predictable actions and systemic changes that will improve the economic fundamentals of the country. These actions will include, inter alia, growing the productive sectors of the economy, improving service delivery across government, fighting corruption robustly and impartially, improving the security climate in the country including vigorously fighting ritualistic killings, supporting Liberian entrepreneurship in critical sectors such as agricultural value addition, and respecting the merit system.
On another note, the CPP condemns in the strongest term the deliberate refusal by the government to allow a helicopter belonging to the Political Leader of the People’s Liberation Party (PLP), Dr. Daniel Cassel, to land despite satisfying all of the requirements prescribed by the Liberia Aviation Authority. The refusal infringes on the rights of Dr. Cassell and is clearly based on political grounds; it demonstrates how far this government is prepared to go to suppress the opposition. We therefore call on the government to immediately correct its actions, which could set unintended precedence and have undesired consequences.
ISSUED BY THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE CPP
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