The Political Leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Mr. Alexander B. Cummings says if the Collaborating Political Parties should be the alternative, it should discharge its obligation to the Liberian people to do things differently other than proceeding wrongly. Mr. Cummings further said ‘a wrong is a wrong regardless of who commits it,’ including himself, noting that recognizing and correcting a wrong is not weakness, but an attribute of leadership, and is honorable while considering ‘doubling down on wrongs as dishonorable and a product of undemocratic leadership.
The ANC leader spoke when he addressed a press conference yesterday on the current situation within the collaborating political parties (CPP). He said, “Where there is insistence on not correcting our collective mistake, but to continue to proceed wrongly, in spite of clear violations of our laws, I will not be part of it. We owe the Liberian people an obligation to do things differently; to be better than this government.
He explained that insofar the issue of Unity Party risks undermining what the CPP has agreed to collectively, the actions of a constituent-member party cannot be said to be internal.
Not enough to criticize
Speaking further, the ANC political leader said “Many of you have heard that I walked out of a meeting with my colleagues at Bella Casa Hotel, and of my refusal to attend a program to “endorse” Amb. Boakai as Standard Bearer of Unity Party. While many have commended my stance on upholding the rules as well as the commitments to democratic tenets that we share in the CPP, some have described it as fueling an internal crisis.”
He expressed the hope that this internal crisis, if it is one, will provide the CPP much-needed space for reflection on how the CPP leaders better position themselves to respond to the needs of the people for real change, adding, “It is not enough that we criticize the government, as we rightly should, but also that we continue to demonstrate that the CPP is a better alternative by holding ourselves to a higher standard of democratic leadership and accountability.”
He intimated further that membership of the Alternative National Congress, and his own participation in the CPP, impose an obligation to help keep the CPP’s actions within the framework of its agreement.
“Of course, my preference is not to commit a wrong, but where it is brought to my attention, with supporting evidence, that I participated in the commission of violations to the Framework
Agreement by our decisions to extend the tenure of the Chair and constitute an investigative Committee, it becomes my duty, as a democratic leader, to ensure the wrong is corrected, and the illegal action reversed,” he said.
He historicized the purpose of the collaboration between the four opposition parties when he said in 2019, the CPP – which the ANC remains an integral part of, was officially formed to be a viable alternative to the CDC-led government. This is because, since the election of this CDC-led government, our country has descended into free fall.
He said he doesn’t need to tell anyone that Liberia is in a really bad place as everyone feels it every day and everywhere in the country.
“The President does not know what he is doing. Most of the people he employed, like him, don’t know what they are doing. They are managing the economy very poorly. Every day is a new corruption scandal of government officials stealing while people can’t find jobs. The harmonized pay of civil servants cannot even pay the cost of their transportation to work, or pay their children school fees, or put food on their tables for a month because food prices are too high.”
Cummings further said the people are suffering and pointed out that the political leaders should be talking about growing the economy, fixing the schools and improving the hospitals; they should be talking about stopping the stealing, obeying the laws and holding each other accountable to right what are affecting Liberians and are at stake in 2023.
To do this Mr. Cummings said “When we agreed to act as one in the CPP, we also agreed to be publicly judged. The undemocratic action of one member-party, in violation of the core values and guiding principles of the CPP, its own constitution and NEC Guidelines casts a broader aspersion on the CPP, and reflects poorly on all of us,” Mr. Cummings remarked, and pointed out, “Either we believe in what we agree to stand for, or we don’t. We simply cannot have it both ways.”
“To change our country,” Cummings said, “we must choose, as hard as it sometimes will be, not to stand, even with friends, when we know they are wrong.”
The ANC Political leader indicated that he has made his choice, and it is to stand with anyone who is trying to stand right.
“I know I will have to stand alone sometimes or anger some friends and allies by doing so. This, too, is a price I am willing to pay for the change I believe we must make to better our country,” he asserted.
He intoned that change must begin with the CPP and its leaders and with his friends in the CPP, with the leaders in the government, and with traditional community and religious leaders.
According to him, change is not about someone else, but is about each of us holding all of us more accountable.
“How can we be trusted to obey the laws of the country when we cannot obey the CPP Framework Agreement? Breaking laws have real consequences just as real change is a deep commitment to be different.” He however noted that it is not how long but how well, adding that he, by no means is a perfect human being, as there is none.
I came to make a difference
But he said he said he came in politics to make a real difference. “I did not come to keep things as they are, or to join in keeping our country stagnant and immovable from its difficult past. I came believing politics is the way to make the future of Liberia brighter and better for all Liberians.”
Mr. Cummings further explained his walkout action at the Belle Casa meeting of the leadership of the Collaborating Political Parties; saying real change is not just saying the right things, but doing the right things the right way.
“Fellow Liberians: Change is hard. Real change is even harder. It will not make everyone happy at the same time because some are too used to the old ways of doing things. Real change is giving the country a new chance to become better….
“This is why I walked out. This is why I refused to endorse a wrong. Liberia and Liberians are at stake. The CPP must do better. Liberia deserves better. If CPP cannot be the change the Liberian people seek, then we do not deserve to lead them,” he exclaimed
The ANC leader intimated that the clash for change must not just be in the CPP; it must also happen all across our country and in all of our political parties, in our schools and hospitals, churches and mosques, offices and communities.
“Your lives depend on it. Those who desire change – those who know our country must change for the better – must confront and stand up to those resisting change and wanting things to selfishly remain the same,” he stressed.
Mr. Cummings said those who want real change cannot stand down and give in, nor give up; but they must be strong, and brave.
“When you need to, you must walk out without walking away. Eventually, change will happen. Liberia needs to move forward…. Leadership is not about clinging to the past. It is about moving to the future,” he maintained.
“Liberia is crying out for us to do things differently. The living conditions are worsening for too many Liberians, and they do not need us to play the same old and discredited politics with their lives. Too many of our young people need new opportunities to better their conditions. Too many women are without equal opportunities and legal protections. Too many of our girls need hurdles removed from their paths to realizing the fullness of their God-given potential,” Mr. Cummings emphasized.
Pointing out that too many children need the chance to grow up to be better than their parents, Cummings furthered that too many Liberians equally need to feel the empowerment in their citizenship and not continue to standby and stand aside in their own country, while no Liberian needs to die because our hospitals lack the basics to treat their illnesses while their government officials embezzle public funds.
He urged all Liberians to choose real change, even if it makes them uncomfortable, saying that the ultimate benefit will be a better country for all of everyone.