“The so-called mysterious deaths of Liberians is troubling. Under this government, the “mysterious deaths” are plenty,” says Mr. Alexander B. Cummings, the political leader of the opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC) who yesterday alarmed at what he called the deteriorating state of insecurity in the country. Mr Cummings further alarmed that when a government is silent, or cannot seriously investigate and convincingly explain the deaths of people, that government is actually encouraging criminals to continue to kill people.
Giving his indictment yesterday, Tuesday, April 27, 2021 when he addressed members of the press at the party’s headquarters in Sinkor, Monrovia at his party’s headquarters, Cummings wondered how many times are Liberians going to be expressing sympathies to families for the mysterious deaths of their loved ones with safety jeopardized on the altar of conspicuous silence by the government to explain how people are disappearing and dying.
The ANC political leader’s alarm comes within the context of what he called the deteriorating state of insecurity in the country, in some cases causing mysterious deaths of citizens without action taken by the government to bring the perpetrators to book.
“Under this government, the “mysterious deaths” are plenty! We have to ask ourselves; how many times are we going to be expressing sympathies to families for the mysterious deaths of their loved ones? How can anyone in our country feel safe when the government cannot explain how people are disappearing and dying?” Mr. Cummings asked rhetorically.
The former Chairman of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) who did not mince words in putting the blame at the doorstep of the government when he said all over the world, the first and basic thing expected of any government is to provide security for the protection of lives and properties of its citizens. He told the press and his audience that everything about development and prosperity of the people and nation centers around security and when that is not done, then the government has failed its people.
“When a government is silent, or cannot seriously investigate and convincingly explain the deaths of people, that government is actually encouraging criminals to continue to kill people. This threatens the lives of everyone. This is not how serious governments behave. It is not how governments show they care about the lives of their people”, Mr Cummings said.
The senior opposition figure who throughout his prepared text blamed the government for being insensitive to the yearnings of the people, especially on the issue of protecting lives and properties, gave a more graphic outlook on how bad the situation of insecurity has become.
“Today, in many places in and around Monrovia, in the day or night, people are scared to walk the streets. Communities are unsafe. Drugs and crimes are taking over our streets and neighborhoods. The people who should be helping to protect our people are themselves helping to sell the drugs to our children,” he averred.
Mr. Cummings indicated that the people who should be fighting crimes are looking the other way while people are being robbed and harmed, and while armed robbers are breaking into homes terrorizing sleeping families.”
Cummings made specific reference to what President Weah once said during the wake keeping program of the late Mr. Emmanuel Bartee Nyeswah, former Director General of the Internal Auditing Agency (IAA), when in apparent admonition to the people the President sounded a note of caution and told the people to buy their own CCTV cameras.
“When President Weah was asked about the “mysterious deaths” and the fear people are now living under, he responded that people should go and buy CCTV. What kind of President tells families who are crying for the wicked killing of their relatives to go buy CCTV? How many Liberians can buy CCTV? Many Liberians are not working. Those who are lucky to be working, the government has cut their salaries so much that there is barely anything left to do anything, let alone to buy CCTV!”, he said.
The businessman turned politician told the press that the option open to the Liberian people to end the state of insecurity and underperformance during the reign of this government is for the people to work hard and make sure that Mr. Weah does not have a second chance at the presidency in 2023.
“From the bottom of my heart, I promise you – we will work as hard as we can to make President Weah a one-time President,” he declared.
The ANC leader noted, “And when we do, we will end this mysterious death business in our country by going back and investigating all of these deaths, from Mr. Matthew Innis to Mr. Anthony Johnson. Anyone we find to be involved – big hand or small hand – we will arrest you, try you, and punish you severely, in keeping with the law”, Mr. Cummings fur promised.
Mr. Cummings also used the medium to comment on the growing reportage of land disputes in the country, some of which are causing serious insecurity for the country. He said it is high time that leaders and stakeholders in the land take actions to resolve the cases before things get out of hand
“The day we start to feel that we cannot live together because we are not all of the same tribe or religion, that same day we will not be Liberia. Because Liberia is really the coming together of all of us. Our tribes may be different. Our religions may be different. Our political parties may be different. But it is really all of these differences that make us to be Liberians, and to belong to the same country”, he said.
Cummings also touched on other things that he said went wrong in the country. But added that however that this government did not do all the things that are wrong with our country. “I know there are plenty things that are wrong with our country. To be fair, they met some of the wrong things there. But they have spoiled the wrong things even more. And they are showing us every day that either they are not able to fix it, or don’t even know how to fix it. For sure, they are not even letting themselves try to fix it.
The politician and businessman who pleaded with the people to accept each other and try to keep our peace lastly, weighed in on the Maryland violence that was precipitate by the ritual killing of a school boy.
“Many of you will remember that at the end of March, ordinary people protested in Maryland County. The protest was mostly led by women. Again, our government was slow and careless to respond to the killing of a son of the county. Marylanders are peaceful people. But as is the case with these kinds of protests, some people wrongfully engaged in the destruction of properties,” he added.
Mr. Cummings condemned the violence, called for calm and appealed to the people to wait for redress to their grievances. “Our people listened. But today, they are still waiting. Again, the real reason our people protested was that their government was slow and careless to respond. This led to frustration that the government does not act to protect all of its people, or to punish all who commit crimes, in the same way.”
He said when it comes to the law, governments should not be picking and choosing, or letting the people believe that it is doing so. Governments, he explained, have a duty to act fair and to be just to everyone.
“When a government does not act this way, overtime, the people learn not to trust the government. And this can lead to frustration and people taking the law into their own hands,” Mr. Cummings further, adding, “You would think that by now this government would be trying to show that they understand this. Actually, they don’t.”
He said this because out of the protest, 34 Marylanders have been arrested and jailed. None has been formally charged. Some have been in jail since April 1. And so, the Liberian Government is reacting to a protest which is really questioning its ability to uphold the law by actually breaking the law.
The former CPP Chair and son of Maryland County was categorical in saying, “…we cannot allow this to continue. It is wrong for anyone to break the law. And it is wrong for the government to break the law. When a government does not respect the law and the rights of its people, the country will break down.”
He therefore called for the immediate release of all persons who have been jailed, in connection to the protest, since the last 28 days, without a charge. He also called for the immediate lifting of the curfew. Except to unfairly punish our people, there is now no reason to keep our people under curfew, which is causing more hardships.
He then concluded: Once again, my people, I ask all of you to please keep yourselves safe. Hold on -real change is coming. Liberia deserves better.