“Nothing to celebrate Christmas for” -Cummings Says Liberia Under Weah is Hopeless

MONROVIA – The birth of Christ is celebrated on the 25th day of each December in Liberia with the customary pomp and pageantry. It is usually this time of the year when friends, families and loved ones exchange gifts and pleasantries representative of their nation which was birth upon the foundation of Christendom. But in the eyes of the opposition community, this year’s Christmas celebration is as woeful as the previous four Christmases under the reign of President George Manneh Weah and his ruling Coalition for Democratic Change. As the leader of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) has put it, “the last five years under President Weah, living conditions have gotten worse every year. Things have become harder and harder that there is hardly anything with which to celebrate.”

According to Mr. Alexander B. Cummings in his Christmas Message to Liberians delivered on Dec, on this fifth Christmas Day under the Weah government, too many children will go to bed hungry; while families will still be grieving the mysterious deaths of loved ones because their deaths cannot be reasonably explained or properly investigated. “The President who has ordered investigations into these cases has not bothered to follow up because he hopes the public will forget. Well, the grieving families cannot forget, and we will not forget.”

Cummings further averred that on this fifth Christmas Day under President Weah, the elderly citizens will be forced to beg because in their retirement, the government has abandoned them; while the streets will still be unsafe, and communities will continue to be taken over by ghettos and drugs. Joblessness, disappointments and frustration will continue to be the story of many young people. Prices of everything, including food, rent and transportation, will still be going up while salaries are going down,” Cummings lamented.

“On Weah’s fifth Christmas Day, President Weah, the VP, the Speaker, the ProTemp and the Deputy Speaker – only 5 persons – have all increased their share in the budget so that together they are getting more than universities, schools and hospitals. And while they are expensively taking care of themselves and their families, including using the Liberian people money to travel in private het planed and to go to hospitals outside the country, they are also wickedly cutting the pay of civil servants while many public hospitals are without beds, equipment and medicines.

“Some ministers and their spouses get flown out of the country on private jets for expensive medical care while drivers and security who have also risked their own lives serving them are left behind to fight for themselves. Some ministries are denied their entire budget allocation while few are swimming in stolen wealth and luxuries.

“President Weah is not one to take or accept responsibility. After years in office, he continues to shift blame for his failures. He claims he is fixing what past governments spoiled. Certainly, past governments paved the Monrovia-Ganta Road. Past government repaved the Robertsfield Road that Mr. Weah and his cronies have turned into a death trap by giving bogus contract to a company without proper vetting. Past government secured funding for the Gbarnga-Voinjama Road that Mr. Weah has failed to complete in five years. Instead, Mr. Weah has given contracts to friends for pavement of roads that lead to nowhere in his “Miami.”

“President Weah was a good footballer. But he is a feecee (worthless) President. He has not led, cannot lead, and will not lead. He has spent 5 years playing around like a small boy while Liberians are suffering. He is a mistake we must correct to end the suffering of the Liberian people because the Bible rightly prophesied that the people will perish when their leaders have no vision – when the leader, like President Weah does not know what he is doing or supposed to be doing,” Cummings stated emphatically.

He noted how President Weah recently and irresponsibly left the country for 48 days and wasted the country’s money jumping from place to place, watching his son play football and enjoying himself, and came back to his “Miami” with more lies and pictures for his Facebook album.

“Da pictures our people will eat? Da pictures will pay people’s rent and hospital bills? Da pictures will pay children school fees? Da pictures will create jobs? Da pictures will give business people and market women loans and micro-financing? By the way, banks have no cash to pay people because the Central Bank is not giving them their money. Da selfies will cash people checks?

“My people: The world is laughing at us, and will continue to laugh at us and take us for joke because we have a President who thinks the job of President da play-play thing. While he is playing, our people continue to suffer because no serious investor will come to invest in a country with a play-play leader who is doing nothing to stop stealing from the people because he is himself stealing or benefitting from the stealing of the Liberian people money.

“President Weah cannot bring serious investors to Liberia to create jobs as he promised 5 years ago because no serious investor will bring their money to a country that is not safe and being internationally called a kleptocracy – a government of thieves.

“We have to stop fooling ourselves, and stop letting President Weah get away with fooling us time and time again. The Presidency is for serious people who know what they are doing. The Presidency is too important to all of our lives to have it placed in the hands of someone so irresponsible, indiscipline, incompetent and unfit to lead a home or a business. Liberia is not a trophy. The Presidency is not a ludo game. When the President fails, or cannot do his job, everyone pays for it,” Cummings blasted.

US Trip – wasted opportunity?

According to the tough-talking opposition leader, it took President Weah five years in office to secure an invitation from the United States which is considered Liberia’s historical and traditional friend and ally.

“On coming to office, a new Liberian President traditionally gets an invitation to pay a visit to the U.S. and comes back with commitment for aid and development assistance. If that President stays in office more than two years without receiving an invitation then something is wrong. It took five years for Mr. Weah to get a general invitation to 50 other African Heads of State to Washington to attend a conference. And even at that, he could not get space for one-on-one bilateral discussion. Instead, he was in a group of six other heads of state whose countries are facing elections. They were called in to be told that America expects them to conduct free and fair elections.

“Our President requested and got selfie photos with the American President while one or two heads of state had opportunity for bilateral meetings and others signed huge investment and aid packages, including awards of MCC Compacts for their countries. This is nationally embarrassing. But Mr. Weah and his acolytes know no shame as long as they think they can continue to plunder, deceive and abuse the intelligence of our nation.

“From Bali Island to investors coming; for 5 years, we have heard the same lies, propaganda and deception. Our reality will not be changed by lies, propaganda and deception. The Liberian Presidency does not need a dribbler. We need an honest and hardworking leader. This is who I am, and for our country and people, this is what we will do to change the poor living conditions of our people,” Cummings chided.

Rehashing December 17 Rally

Using the occasion of his Christmas Message, Mr. Cummings thanked the Liberian people for their courage and bravery to turnout as they did on last Saturday, acknowledging that it took serious courage, defiance and bravery to turnout on December 17, at the SKD.

“We thank you, and those who wanted to but could not, for the impressive show of support. The SKD was the place President Weah made his false promise to “Change for Hope”. He did not want the Liberian people to remind him by going there. But we did. We went there because in 5 years, the only change President Weah has delivered is from hope to hopelessness, from stealing to more stealing, and from suffering to more suffering.

“Liberians are “Tiyah Suffering”. The old and the young, the educated and uneducated, Christians and Muslims, men and women, and rural and urban dwellers came together beyond party and tribe to demand change. We cannot continue to be the joke of the world.

“Liberians cannot continue to be strangers and beggars in their own country. Liberians cannot continue to be so poor in a country that is so rich. Leaders of our country cannot continue to be so corrupt and uncaring. Liberians cannot continue to live in fear, including to express their dissatisfaction and disappointments.

“We must all wake up to the conditions of our fellow citizens so that we work to fix the failings of our governments. We must answer the patriotic call to end impunity and inequality. All Liberians – rich or poor, ordinary citizens or government officials – must be seen to be equal before the law. This is what the “We Tiyah Suffering” rallying call is also about. It is a call to reclaim our destiny so that we are more responsible and more accountable to each other for the sustainable development of our country. Our country cannot continue to fly on autopilot – leaderless and rudderless. Ordinary Liberians cannot continue to be told to sacrifice while their leaders are wasteful, corrupt, indiscipline and irresponsible.

“We Tiyah Suffering” is a call to honorable public service and not self-service at the expense of the public. Those who think this is a call for a cup of rice today; you are wrong. “We Tiyah Suffering” is about long-term food security. We must eat today knowing we can feed ourselves and our families tomorrow.

“We Tiyah Suffering” is not about cutting people salaries. It is about increasing salaries and creating jobs that will pay living wages, educating and empowering our people, and providing them with the best healthcare system possible.

“We Tiyah Suffering” is providing loans and micro-financing for Liberians to own and improve their businesses so that they are no longer spectators in their economy.

“We Tiyah Suffering” is an expression of hope – hope that we will not continue to do the same thing that is causing us to suffer and expect that somehow, we will not suffer.

A clarion call to end the suffering

Closing his Christmas lamentations with the message of hope, especially on the cusp of a decisive national election, Cummings urged all Liberians to continue to believe that they all can change the people’s tears of suffering into tears of happiness. He further urged Liberians to believe that hopelessness can become hopefulness again; and that privileges of partisanship will no longer undermine rights of citizenship.

“We must believe that we cannot be so blessed by God only to be so cursed by our leaders. We must believe that we can change our country. We can improve the living conditions of all of our people. We can make living in Liberia safe, better and wonderful so that our citizens do not have to think about leaving in search of greener pastures because we, too, can make Liberia greener pastures for Liberians.

“Our children do not have to go to foreign schools for quality education or foreign hospitals for better treatment. We, too, can make our schools better and our hospitals better. Now is the time to try to do something about being tiyah. Now, we must stand together and work together – harder than we have done.

“Now is not the time to go backward. We cannot govern by nostalgia. The future is never to be found in the past. We must move to build a new future now so that our children and their children do not have to be tiyah suffering too.

“We must do this today so that tomorrow can be better for everyone. If not us, then who? If not now, then when?” Cummings implored.

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