As Liberians eagerly awaited formalization of a collaboration of Liberia’s top political parties to take state power from the ruling Coalition, four major political parties on Monday, May 19, 2020 signed a Framework Document, which among other things, grants the political leader of the Alternative National Congress, Mr. Alexander B. Cummings, chairmanship of the CPP for the next eight months.
The event witnessed the affixing of signatures of the Alternative National Congress of Mr. Alexander B. Cummings, the All Liberia Party of Mr. Benoni Urey, the Unity Party of Ambassador Joseph Boakai and the Liberty of Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence affixed their signatures to the Collaborating Political Parties Framework Document.
Among other things the intent of the Framework Document called for the CPP to present a single presidential ticket and or legislative candidates for all elections leading up to and including the 2023 general and presidential elections; forge and support a common national interest and present a common political agenda to the Liberian people; work towards an eventual merger of the constituent political parties; strengthen the country’s democracy through grassroots engagement with the Liberian people, using town hall meetings, community engagements, radio and technology, etc; reduce the number of political parties to an affordable number in response to the desire of the people of Liberia; ensure gender-equality in public service, and do all such things as required by the Election Laws for alliances.
Mr. Alexander Cummings of the ANC comes to the CPP Chairmanship with a wealth of experience in corporate governance, having once served as Executive Vice President of Coca Cola Company.
Although Cummings contested the 2017 presidential elections, his critics say he lacks the normal political pizzazz needed to become Liberia’s next post-war president.
However, Mr. Cummings has remained unfazed by the criticisms from detractors that he is a political neophyte. In his own words, Liberians cannot continue to elect people based on electoral promises.
“You cannot keep doing the same things and expect different results,” has been Mr. Cummings’ mantra, cautioning voters to elect people based on their past performances instead of electoral promises.
Mr. Cummings has a long history of philanthropy and supporting his home country Liberia, globally; supporting funding for water projects and providing students scholarships in Liberia, and donating to various causes including the African Methodist Episcopal University’s Innovation Center named in his honour.
During Cummings’ time at Coca-Cola Africa, he oversaw the creation of The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation in response to the growth and impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. In 2001, the Foundation established an extensive healthcare program for Coca-Cola workers affected by HIV/AIDS and related conditions across Africa in addition to supporting HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness throughout local communities. Today, The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation is the largest regional foundation within Coca-Cola’s global network with a focus on clean water, health education and entrepreneurship. Since 2001, it has granted more than $100 million to support sustainable communities in Africa.
He launched the Cummings Africa Foundation in 2015 with his wife Teresa Cummings, and their two children Boakai and Ayo Cummings. The Cummings Foundation focuses on empowering and uplifting Africans in health, education, agriculture, and the arts. Since its formation, the foundation has invested over one million U.S. dollars in projects in Africa, including facilitating the construction of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) academic institution, the first of its kind in Liberia.
During the illustrious signing program, Grand Bassa County Senator Lawrence acknowledged the importance of the occasion, while invoking recognition of her party’s founder and political leader, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, as one of the architects behind the reason of the CPP consolidation; as well as her political partner, her friend and husband, “who allowed and supported me to play these very tedious and challenging roles as a female and a mother in these male-dominated territories, and to the memories of the many Liberians who voluntarily and involuntarily paid the ultimate sacrifice that our country will know and share in the values of multiparty democracy.”
“Today we make history. Four of the leading political parties in our country are taking a leap of faith trusting each other, counting on the best wishes of the Liberian people to stand together in gallant support and consolidation of our young democracy which is being threatened by the lack of democratic leadership currently on display in our country,” Senator Lawrence intoned.
Expounding further, Senator Lawrence pledged the CPP membership support and trust in each other, laying aside their personal ambitions for the collective good of the country.
“Especially with this administration which is violating rights and leading by exclusion and division of our people, we understand the heavy burden placed upon our heads to look beyond self, and for the people who have a right to feel abandoned and leaderless as they suffer health crisis and economic difficulties. We know we cannot fight for the people against the creeping abuses and tyranny of this administration while we fight separately and at times against each other. The wishes of the Liberian people demand that we come together. And so today, we dutifully commit to the wishes of our people,” Senator Lawrence averred.
Democracy, she said, is never really strengthened by the number of political parties to be registered in an election. It is strengthened by the quality of the opposition to hold the government accountable and honest.
“Today, by this solemn duty done in respect of the prevailing conditions of a health crisis, we announce to all Liberians, our international partners, all those who wish us better and well, to all of you, we say, we are ready!” Senator Lawrence exclaimed, furthering, “Our outstretched arms we will continue to extend to other political parties to join us; our honest support we will continue to lend to our people and the government; but make no mistake: our resolve to offer the deserving people of Liberia a better governance alternative built on the unity of our people, selflessness, competence and respect for the rule of law, and the rights of all of our citizens, will not be compromised!”
Senator Lawrence noted that the personal ambitions of CPP members pale in comparison to the aspirations of the Liberian people who have been treated with lack of care by an administration they elected to care.
“We care that our people are suffering with economic hardships while the President of the country plays ludo in his back yard! We care that a strange virus is killing and hurting our people depriving so many of livelihoods while the President hides away, has no plan to respond, and has failed to lead! We care that Liberia has become the laughing stock of the region and the world by a growing display of gross incompetence, and even when the international community wants to help, they cannot find a competent partner in our government with whom they can work to help our suffering people. We care that our country is grossly mismanaged, and corruption at the highest levels of the government rules the day! We care that women and children are being raped, abused and violently disregarded with impunity, and young girls and young boys are falling more and more into being sexually molested and preyed upon! We care that the so-called Change For Hope is now creating hopelessness amongst our people! It should have been rightly called Hustle Against the Liberian People because that is truly what it is!” a visibly troubled Senator Lawrence stated.
“Today, we close the curtain on the honeymoon of unchallenged incompetence, corruption, abuses of power, selective justice, and carelessness. Our people deserve better, our country deserve better, and we know that together, we can do better! And yes, the CPP will do better!
We thank our technical team and lawyers for working tirelessly to prepare this framework document. We are also grateful to all of our partisans, supporters and well-wishers, critics, media practitioners, social media activists, and talk show hosts for the support, encouragement and pieces of advice. Today honors all of you too – all who are disappointed in the performance of this administration, and yearn for a better alternative in a more unified nation.
I congratulate Party Chairpersons and Executive Committees for their time and diligence to see this come to reality. And I salute all of the political leaders for the selflessness without which this could never have happened!
Enough is enough! Let’s save the celebrations for later. For now, there is so much work to be done. We need to win the Liberian Senate for the Liberian people in a few months, and replace this failed administration in 2023!” Senator Lawrence noted.
Although the progenitor of the current amalgamation of opposition political parties could not be physically present to witness his handwork, his daughter Charlyne M. Brumskine was ecstatic about her father’s vision coming to fruition.
“As CPP signs its framework document, I know you are watching today. I know you are proud. Your vision and farsightedness materialized today. Your desire to see collaboration among Liberian political parties bore fruit today. Your sacrificial love for the country moved Liberia forward today. Your leadership will never be forgotten. Long live CWB!. Congratulations,” averred Charlyne.