Opposition Has More Work Than Talk to Do -Cummings Speaks on ANC’s Activities, Opposition Collaboration

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As the 2020 special legislative elections draw nigh, politicians from all aisles are scrambling to retain their seats in the House, while others are keen on dethroning the occupants. In the heat of pending elections, one of the pillars of the opposition community, the Alternative National Congress (ANC) political leader Alexander B. Cummings, has been addressing several issues, particularly hinging on the affairs of the four opposition Collaborating Parties (CPP), The Analyst reports.

Delivering his latest regular podcast on February 28, 2020, Mr. Cummings said if Liberians want to change Liberia, it will have to be through hard work. “With talking which we are very good at, I promise you that Liberia will not change. It will only change when we are prepared to do the work, and to do the work in a hard way; to figure out how we can work together to accomplish our goal as opposed to tearing each other down and making things up,” he said. The ANC political leader said while his party remains committed to the collaboration, it is his hope that every member of the collaboration shows some willingness to compromise, and added that members of the CPP will call each other out when their assertions and behaviors are not consistent with the values they are trying to espouse as a collaboration.

The CPP and the VPS debate 

One of the key issues Mr. Cummings discussed in his podcast bordered on the discontent in the CPP regarding the Voters’ Perception Survey (VPS) for which there has been media exchanges within the CPP.  The VPS is intended to determine the choice of voters in the CPP through a scientific research which in the view of the ANC should be binding but is being opposed by other members of the collaboration.

“The VPS is simply a scientific polling to get a sense of where Liberians are with regards to varieties of issues and with regard to who they would like to lead the CPP. We agreed at our last meeting at the Liberty Party offices that we will execute three processes to make our selection of the Standard-bearer and vice standard-bearer of the CPP,” Mr. Cummings said.

He explained, “We all didn’t start at the same place. The ANC had a different set of proposal just as the Liberty Party (LP), the Unity Party (UP) and the All-Liberian Party (ALP). We agreed –not our way or their way (meaning the way of the other parties), but out of compromise and out of the possible; and we when left that meeting, we agreed the following.”

According to Cummings, the parties agreed that they will have to reach a consensus or unanimity on who the standard-bearer and the vice standard-bearer would be on the collaboration, that in a situation where all four parties cannot agree on consensus, it means the CPP would convene primary where equal representation from each of the parties will be present as delegates and from the primary they would make the selection of their standard-bearer and vice standard-bearer.

It was also agreed amongst the CPP collaboration that “… we will do the VPS, the polling that will be non-binding” with Cummings indicating that the ANC’s original position was requesting a binding VPS because the party wanted to hear the position of the Liberian people in this process and that the people’s position should be binding.

But with fierce opposition to ANC’s position opting for a binding scientific polling –the VPS, Cummings and his party agreed to a non-binding VPS in the interest of compromise. The ANC leader however clarified that in fact it was the Liberty Party that suggested that the CPP do the non-binding VPS which became an official position of the collaboration at the end of the meeting.

“Consequently, it has become the position of the Collaborating Political Parties that consensus will be binding of if not a decision n from the primary will be binding. “We are happy to say that early this week or last week, the Liberty Party recently issued a statement to the effect that the non-binding VPS should take place before the primary, and that either the primary decision or consensus amongst the collaborating parties on who should be the standard-bearer and the vice standard-bearer will be binding,” the ANC leader said.

He however said he and his party was quite perturbed by all of the noise around VPS; and was very surprised with the apparent change of heart and position, after a position was reached in the meeting attended by former Vice President Joseph Boakai of the UP, Nyonblee Karngar Lawrence of the LP, Mr. Urey of the ALP and him as the leader of the ANC, amongst others.

He however disclosed that progress has been made with the crafting of the framework to seal the collaboration despite the row over the issue of (non-binding) VPS which is agreed to be held before the primaries. “But we have what we have, we have agreed on these points collectively and I believe we can forge ahead to dot the I(s) and cross the T(s) and move forward on the framework because, again we believe it is in the interest of the Liberian people in spite of the silence and lack of reactions on the part of the some of the other members of the collaboration.

 ANC in massive preparation for 2020, 2023

The ANC political leader further disclosed plans to conduct a nationwide tour which his party intends to use to mobilize, recruit and retains membership, and said that he has already visited Maryland and Grand Cape Mount Counties where he is impressed with the membership drive in the counties. Cummings started his Maryland County visit in January which he indicated went very well.

Concerning his primary objective in building the party in preparation of the electoral exercises -2020 Midterm Senatorial Election of October and 2023 Presidential and general elections of 2023, Alex Cummings said he visited two counties – Maryland and Grand Cape Counties where he met with many of the various constituents– chiefs, elders, women groups, young people. Besides he visited a number of communities around the counties, saying his visits in the counties were successful.

Commenting on his Maryland trip, he said he knows his fellow Marylanders know he has some works to do in the county in terms of a few projects.

Cummings said in his podcast, “I know I have to reengage the young people of our county and do something for them; and so I just want their knowledge that I will be back to visit, I will have work to do in the county and we will do that.”

The ANC leader who said he had a visit scheduled to Nimba County which could not be possible due to the recent petroleum shortage, disclosing that he pre-visited Cape Mount last week where he pointed out his ANC mobilization campaign team and met a cross section of people from a variety of cities.

“We inducted our new leadership; we opened a few district offices in the county; so it was a very successful visit in Cape Mount [last Saturday]. We want to thank our leadership there and all Cape Mountainians for the very warm welcome,” he exclaimed.

Commenting on the Nimba schedule which was unfortunately thwarted by the gasoline/fuel shortage, the ANC’s political leaders remarked, “… it is very unfortunate that a country is 172 years old is unable to provide somethings as basic as fuel to its citizens; and because of that we were unable to visit Nimba. But of course we will reschedule that visit, to go visit Nimba County. Our next visit is to Lofa in March, where we will visit a few cities – Zorzor, Voinjama, Barkedou and a few other cities….”

Concerning the restructuring of the party, the ANC leader said the party has started doing a lot of work since 2018, building a vibrant leadership structure across the country. “We are almost done in populating the national leadership body now on the district level. We are happy to say that we have some very, very good leaders that will be leading the party across the country. The party will be very, very focus on mobilization, recruitment and retention,” he said.

According to him, “We are encouraging our partisans to pay their dues. And I am happy that more and more and more partisans as enthusiasm grows are paying their dues. I have to give shot out to and complement our diaspora partisans and colleagues who are raising money to support the party. Liberians around the world are sending suggestions.”

Saying that the diaspora ANC partisans and supporters are engaged in carrying out the mandate of mobilization, recruitment and retention, Cummings asserted that the burden is on their Liberian counterparts to engage them in the diaspora, to be clear to them on where partisans here in Liberia want them to direct their energies and their resources because they are very enthusiastic about the party in Liberia and in supporting its efforts.

“Liberians are listening to me. We went to Cape with few members of the of the mobilization committee with an ID card machine and the lines were long with people registering.  It is just an example of the enthusiasm that is building. We are going to continue that across the country. We will procure ID card machines for every county and eventually, we will get ID cards for the districts because the enthusiasm is building. So you see we have a lot of work to do. I will keep pushing our partisans, the leadership, relentlessly that we have to keep doing the work to make the ANC vibrant and the biggest party. We are on the way but we are far, far behind,” Mr. Cummings noted. Full text of Mr. Cummings’ podcast will be published in our Thursday’s March 5th Edition.

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