While most critics of the current Chairman of the opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) often point to his late entry into Liberia’s political landscape as his main Achilles heel, no one can overlook the fact that the CPP under Mr. Alexander B. Cummings’ current leadership performed one of the biggest upsets in recent history when they successfully wrestled and won six seats in the just ended midterm elections, including the most coveted Montserrado County seat which had long been predominantly controlled by the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change. As the dust now settles on December 8, Mr. Cummings has confidently disclosed plans on how the opposition intends to take state power in 2023, move the country from its present state of economic paralysis, and bring about good governance in statecraft, The Analyst reports.
Appearing Monday, January 11, 2021 on a popular radio talk show, Chairman Cummings was clear on the way forward under a CPP leadership come 2023, as he laid out the roadmap for leadership under a CPP government post 2023.
Vision for Liberia under CPP
The CPP chairman and Alternative National Congress Political Leader stated succinctly that Liberia will be completely different when CPP takes state power through the ballot box in 2023, by restoring confidence in the country and its people, as well as with the region and the international community.
“We will also ensure that we have competent people running the government; we will ensure the economy is growing; we will create jobs for our people; and we will work on areas with challenges including infrastructure, education and health. Liberians will have confidence in their leadership,” Mr. Cummings pledged.
He assured that when the CPP comes to power in 2023, it will set the right examples, follow the rules, have integrity, not be corrupt, not steal the Liberian people money, and will invest in the welfare of the Liberian people.
“If you look back and see the last three years and ask 90% of Liberians if they are better or worse off today than they were three years ago, they will say they’re worse off. If you ask that same question three years into a CPP led government, the answer will be a resounding, ‘yes, we are better off’. All the problems will not be solved, but Liberians will feel a difference. They will see that civil servants will be paid regularly, and not sporadically. They will see jobs being created. They will see good governance being restored to the country. They will see integrity in their institutions. These are the things Liberians can look forward to in a CPP led government,” Mr. Cummings further assured.
He said as president, he promises to bring to leadership his values of integrity, hard work and honesty.
“I am someone who is very comfortable with myself. I know what I know, I know what I don’t know. The reason is that it is important to be comfortable with yourself, so that you appreciate getting people who are better than you to implement certain goals. So building teams, identifying talented people, and giving them the freedom, those are important; and not worrying about the fact that this person will outshine me, or people will think they know better than I do, that doesn’t bother me at all. What will change Liberia is getting the right people in the right role, supporting them. If they get credit for their success, it is okay with me. But let them drive their expertise to take us to the next level. I worked for multinationals and climbed up the ladder based on my hard work and integrity. Those characteristics of delivering results, of focusing on facts, of focusing on the greater good because in the end it is about all of those characteristics, built over the years with consumers, customers, that we bring to the Leadership, and that is required to move our country to the next level,” Mr. Cummings stated.
Who Leads CPP to 2023?
The issue of selecting a formidable candidate to lead the opposition bloc to victory at the polls in 2023 remains a contentious issue, especially against the backdrop of the configuration of the constituent political parties that comprise Liberia’s largest opposition party. With supporters of the political leaders of the Unity Party, Liberty Party, Alternative National Congress and the All Liberia Party all expecting their respective leaders to head the CPP into the next presidential and general elections, the quest and struggle for the CPP ultimate leader is becoming more pronounced. But Mr. Cummings, who among the four political leaders is considered by many as the newest kid on the block due to his lack of political longevity, is confident he will make the grade when the selection process commences.
When quizzed whether he would opt to run as a legislator if doesn’t make the grade to lead the CPP as its candidate in the 2023 presidential and general elections, Mr. Cummings was quick to point out that no one enters a contest to play second fiddle. However, he was also quick to assure that he will be comfortable with any outcome that bears fruit from a CPP presidential selection process.
“But you can’t go into a tournament and already start to concede. For example, the county meet is ongoing. All of the teams want to win the meet. Nobody is going to the meet to be runner up or third or fourth place winner. Everybody is going to the tournament, practicing with the determination to win the county meet. So I can’t go into a competition and already start to concede. But as I said, the final decision is with the Liberian people. We are committed to our country, our people. But let the process run its course,” Mr. Cummings stated.
He noted that within the collaborative framework, there is a process for selection when it comes to who represents the biggest opposition bloc at the level of the Presidency.
“I can only speak for myself. It would be presumptuous to speak for my colleagues. I aspire to lead my country. But I have to make the case to the Liberian people. That decision is ultimately the decision of the Liberian people, and it starts with the CPP,” Mr. Cummings stated.
“We went through that process and we delivered. It is no secret that I aspire for the presidency, and that some of my colleagues have similar aspirations as it is their right. We will make our case to CPP partisans and ultimately, we will make our case to the Liberian people. They will be the ultimate arbiter. They will decide who will lead the country. In the event, if the outcome doesn’t favor us, we will live with the outcome of the decision,” Chairman Cummings promised.
Will the CPP Remain Formidable up to 2023?
There are those who sincerely believe that the opposition bloc cannot remain formidable, even after having executed its biggest feat in recent times, in terms of performance rating on the December 8 senatorial elections. However, Mr. Cummings says the CPP doesn’t have a choice but to stick together and live up to the expectations of the Liberian people.
“There are no guarantees in life, but I believe we will stay together. It is in our interest to do so. All of our leaders in the collaboration want us to be successful together. The Liberian people want us to be successful together. For all these reasons I am confident this thing will work. In the unlikely case it doesn’t work, it will not be because of the ANC. I can say that to the Liberian people that we will work very hard. Our history so far, both as chairman of the CPP and Political Leader of the ANC, we’ve made a lot of compromises, we’ve given in a lot to make the CCP work. We are committed to this collaboration. I believe it will work because I believe all of my colleagues are committed to the CPP. But we have to work for it. We will all have to make compromises,” Chairman Cummings averred.
He furthered that in order to consolidate the CPP gains obtained from their success in the December 8 senatorial elections, the opposition bloc must further consolidate the gains by building a strong legislative agenda that will deliver the goods for the Liberian people.
“We need to have a legislative agenda; work with the newly elected senators and those that are already there. We need to re-engage our representatives. We can’t just be against. We have to start to propose legislation in health care, education and the energy sector to derive more revenue for the country. Those tangible things will endear us more to the Liberian people,” the CPP chair stated.
He said he would be recommending to his CPP constituent colleagues the need to expand and let more parties come in.
“My term as chairman ends this January. We will be handing over to Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence of the Liberty Party. We have a good relationship. Of course we will still be engaged and involved,” Cummings stated, promising to have his colleagues including the Rainbow Coalition and other like-minded opposition parties into the Collaboration.
On War and economic crimes
On the issue of war and economic crimes, Mr. Cummings said, although Liberians want justice, the people have to make a final determination as to the process.
“We as Liberians have to decide how that justice is administered. The reason why I am careful about my choice of words around war and economic crimes is because it means different things to different people. Some people believe that when we implement the TRC report it solves the problem. Some people say we should forget about it. Some people want us to go to The Hague. We as a people need to define how we want to deliver justice, economic and war crimes. And so I believe we need to define that process. Justice needs to be delivered, but I don’t just throw words around. We need to go to that process,” Chairman Cummings stated emphatically.
On the issue of restoring public confidence in the rundown economy, Mr. Cummings admitted it would take a lot of hard work because the current government has dug itself into a very deep hole with regards to the country in general and the economy specifically.
However, Cummings believes all is not lost. One of the first things a CPP administration would do is to restore confidence into the economic leadership of our country.
“We will have to restore the independence of the Central Bank to administer monetary policy in this country. We will have to take the limited resources that we have and redirect them to priority sectors like agriculture for example. We will need to leverage tourism in this country. We’ve talked about ecotourism because it’s a relatively easy way to start to create jobs. By restoring confidence, we can attract foreign investors. We will also focus on how to grow our revenue. We have to look at our concession agreements, and make sure we are getting full value for the resources of our country. We will spend a lot of time figuring how we can grow this economy, how we can grow this national budget,” Cummings stated, promising that a CPP government will do things differently from the current government.
“We will lead by example,” Chairman Cummings vowed.
When Chairman Cummings was quizzed on whether a CPP or Cummings government in 2023 would be soliciting the input of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to jumpstart the economy, the CPP Chairman said, although Madam Sirleaf should best address this issue, he has already built for himself over the years sufficient contacts regionally and internationally to move Liberia beyond its current economic lethargy.