Something Former President Sirleaf Needs to Know and Understand-She is Not the ALPHA and OMEGA of Politics in Liberia!
By John H. T. Stewart January 16, 2022
That the death knell hovering above the Collaborating Political Parties(CPP) has finally claimed its victim is without question.
The All Liberian Party (ALP) led by Benoni Urey has walked out of the CPP. Further to that, the ALP has filed a criminal lawsuit against Alternative National Congress(ANC) leader, Alexander Cummings charging Mr. Cummings and others with forgery and criminal conspiracy.
He was brought under the jurisdiction of the Criminal Court but secured a bail bond through his lawyers. ANC Secretary-General Aloysius Toe was similarly brought under the jurisdiction of the Court but was released on bail.
A third individual, Gbarpolu Senator Daniel Naateng was out of the country and according to information from the Court, the Senator has now been brought under the jurisdiction of the Court following his return to Liberia.
For his part, ANC leader Cummings has since denied the accusations terming same as a calculated attempt by Urey to malign his character.
He has also accused the Government of Liberia(GoL) of using the courts to muscle political opponents adding that Benoni Urey and the GoL are involved in a conspiracy to break up the CPP.
In the wake of claims and counter-claims, the case appears to have taken on new dimensions with revelations of the involvement of Riva Levinson former PR consultant to former President Sirleaf.
According to a story published in the Monday January 10 edition of the Hot Pepper newspaper, and revelations aired on the Costa Show, Ms. Levinson sent a text message to Liberia’s Ambassador to the U.S. George Patten.
The Ambassador forwarded the message to the Minister of State, Nathaniel McGill who in turn forwarded the message to several individuals including ALP leader, Benoni Urey.
The message reads as follows: “further to our conversation the other day, I have made some inquiries. The prosecution of Alexander Cummings on what appears to be trumped-up charges has not been well- received. There is renewed interest in Nathaniel McGill whom you know from our previous discussions there is a dossier on.
Now Benoni Urey and his daughter Telia have also attracted attention as has the Solicitor-General Cyrennius Cephas. I think people are also looking into the Judge’s record, to see if he has a history of corruption. Just wanted to let you know, based on our relationship. Other than that I hope you have a good weekend”.
But the question is what business does Riva Levinson have to do with Liberian politics or what kind of relationship does she have with the Ambassador?
Are they paramours or is theirs purely platonic? Is she some kind of super snoop with links to US and Liberian intelligence circles from whose secret files she shares information with the Ambassador?
Whatever the situation, hers is a classic case of meddling and unwarranted interference in Liberian politics. The very tone of her text message is contemptuous and it conveys an implicit threat of action directed against officials of the Weah government simply on account of the lawsuit filed against Alexander Cummings by Benoni Urey charging him with fraud and criminal conspiracy.
In the midst of this controversy, came the FrontPage Africa lead story carried in its Thursday January 13, 2022 edition claiming it had obtained call logs showing dates and time of phone calls made by Solicitor-General Cephus and Magistrate Magistrate Jomah Jallah to Korlane Investment Liberia liability company indicted for money laundering and wire fraud and represented by Evegeny Nikisuik and Diega Patrick Wahi HERMANN.
The story suggests a strong link to super snoop Reva Levinson’s text to Liberian Ambassador George Patten in which she states that Solicitor-General Cephus and Magistrate Jallah have a history of corruption.
If such corruption is that referred to in the FrontPage Africa story, then how did she obtain those call logs which according to sources were leaked to the media, is something to ponder.
FrontPage Africa maintains that Police and Financial Intelligence Unit(FIU) sources have confirmed their story.
But the issue here is neither about Magistrate Jallah nor Solicitor-General Cephus or the content of their characters.
It is about the alleged criminal act committed by ANC leader Alexander Cummings for which he is now slated to stand trial before Magistrate Jallah.
For the record, Urey has, for a protracted period, accused Cummings of altering the CPP framework document. Cummings has persistently denied the accusation and instead urged Urey to take his case to court if he harbored such misgivings.
And Urey has done exactly that. However, it appears that Cummings has shown great reluctance to prove his innocence in court.
According to eyewitness accounts, Cummings’ security detail had attempted to prevent him from being seated on the “prisoners bench” when he made his first appearance in court. A few court officers were reportedly wounded in the ensuing scuffle.
According to legal analysts, although Cummings seeks to have the case withdrawn, he claims that the charges against him are baseless and untrue yet he does not appear prepared to contest these charges in court.
Apparently, former President Sirleaf according to the Hot Pepper, has reportedly informed ECOWAS leaders that should they not intervene and withdraw the case in the soonest possible time they should expect “HELL and DAMNATION” to befall Liberia.
In her opinion, failure on the part of leaders of ECOWAS to heed her doomsday admonitions and prescriptions, “the case against Cummings could become a magnet for violence, chaos and demonstration and ultimately it could derail gains made over the years in bringing peace and stability to the sub-region.”
But leaders of ECOWAS should not be swayed by such vile threats. In the opinion of many Liberians especially ex security officers, Cummings does have the financial wherewithal to sponsor violence.
But it is clear that he lacks the ideological following, organizational capacity and ability to sustain such violence the intensity of which, according to former President Sirleaf would derail gains made over the years for peace and stability in the sub-region.
Recalling history, President Sirleaf’s threats of renewal of violence if she does not have her way to get Cummings off the hook, should not be dismissed or treated lightly.
She is fully aware that the outbreak of random violence could serve to provoke military intervention which she apparently believes will be in her best interests.
This is because it will instantly put paid to the political ambitions of her former Vice President, Joseph Boakai as well as others.
But former President Sirleaf has a history of supporting violent regime change in Liberia. She was, according to informed sources, linked to the 1980 military coup that deposed President Tolbert.
She was also, according to informed sources, linked to the 1985 Quiwonkpa abortive invasion, the 1989 Charles Taylor led NPFL armed invasion as well as the LURD and MODEL insurrections 1999-2003.
She is fully aware that Cummings cannot succeed going alone. He desperately needed the support of the now splintered CPP or at least a façade of unity of some sorts composed of opposition parties.
It is that which Reva Levinson, her PR consultant to the Liberia Renaissance Office(LIRO) led by Sylvester Grigsby, could use to sell him to the US leadership as the most viable presidential candidate.
And now her urging to ECOWAS to intervene in the lawsuit against Cummings which is currently before the Courts is completely out of order and even contemptuous.
Why has she not made such a statement to ECOWAS on behalf of her former long-serving defense minister, Brownie Samukai as polarizing his issue has become?
Samukai is still being denied from taking his seat despite unanimous support from the people of Lofa including traditional elders and Zoes. Yet, not a word from her has come in support of Samukai.
Instead she has raised her voice in support of dropping criminal charges against Cummings whose criminal trial she maintains could become a magnet for violence thereby undermining the gains made over the years since the end of armed hostilities in 2003.
Realistically speaking, of the both men which of them has the greatest potential and capacity to foment violence? Is it Cummings or is it Samukai?
Mr. Alexander Cummings, contrary to her doomsday prophecy of chaos, has no identifiable political constituency with the requisite ideological persuasion to foment such violence which in any case would be aimless random and would quickly run out of steam.
In any case the matter which is before the law has to run its full course with all locally available legal remedies exhausted before going to the ECOWAS Court of Justice.
But apparently former President Sirleaf does not even trust that local Courts or even the ECOWAS Court will render due justice to Mr. Cummings.
And therefore she has resorted to the issuance of veiled threats of the use of armed violence which, according to her, could lead to a situation in which the 2023 elections would be effectively derailed.
This, according to analysts, would probably be her best option to stave off a possible guilty verdict against Cummings which would effectively close the door to his participation in the 2023 elections.
And more importantly, it will quash her hopes of finding a suitable replacement committed to protecting her allegedly ill-gotten wealth as President Weah has.
It is against this backdrop that PR consultant Reva Levinson’s text message to Ambassador Patten can be better understood.
Reva Levinson has previously worked for Equatorial Guinea Dictator Macias Nguema, Central African Dictator Jean Bedel Bokassa and of late President Ellen Sirleaf.
During her stint in Liberia, while serving as President Sirleaf’s PR consultant she was overheard in a discussion at the Royal Hotel talking about bribing the Liberian Legislature to sell off the Wologisi Mountain to predatory investors for a pittance.
The New Democrat reporter who overheard the discussion wrote the story but was, according to sources threatened as well as the management with reprisals in varying forms including lawsuits to refrain from further publication of the story.
This is the same Reva Levinson sending condescending messages to the Liberian Ambassador in the form of veiled threats to interfere with the legal process.
This is because her patron (former President Sirleaf) more likely than not, fears that a possible guilty verdict against Cummings would not only harm his chances of contesting the 2023 elections but would ultimately undermine her personal quest for a candidate similarly sworn as George Weah to protect her predatory interests.
The question now is what next for her as well as for Mr. Alexander Cummings in view of his submission to the jurisdiction of the Court.
There is something however that President Sirleaf needs to know and understand. She is not the ALPHA and OMEGA of politics in Liberia.
Therefore, her veiled threat to foment violence in order to attain political ends will certainly fall on its face all because the Liberian people are sick and tired of such shenanigans.
In any case, it will certainly meet fierce resistance from all patriotic and freedom loving Liberians who will forward march to defend this sacred heritage.
The matter is now before the law, the media will do itself well and she will do herself and Mr. Cummings well to let the law take its course.
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