By Bill W. Cooper
Contesting parties that did not make it to the finish lines have begun negotiations for alignment with either of the two parties poised for the runoff.
The Alternative National Congress (ANC) that emerged third place in 2017 but was reduced to 4th place with 1.61 percent on the overall in the just ended elections has expressed its willingness to engage in negotiations with either of the parties.
The ANC, now a collaborating party of the Collaborating Political Parties, through its political leader, Alexander B. Cummings has put forth 11 demands for consideration as it supports the UP.
Cummings, a onetime successful businessman and former Coca-Cola executive, acknowledging the democratic process and his commitment to a prosperous country, outlined a number of pressing issues that he believes must be addressed.
Like the Liberian People’s Party, key among the 11 demands put forth by Cummings, who did not pledge support, is the establishment of the overdue War and Economic Crimes Court, aimed at ending the culture of immunity in Liberia.
Recognizing the nation’s history of conflict and its impact on social cohesion, he said the full implementation of Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRC) report, as recommended, will further address past grievances and promote healing and unity.
The CPP leader also called for a total electoral reform, arguing for a comprehensive review of the electoral system to enhance transparency, credibility, and inclusivity, intended to protect and safeguard Liberia’s democracy.
It includes an evaluation of the voter registration process, mechanisms for addressing complaints, and the impartiality of electoral officials, and at the same time, stressed the need for the review of the Liberian Constitution.
Another crucial demand from the CPP also centers around Judicial reform and the launching of an internal audit, which includes various Ministries and Agencies and the National Legislature including the enforcement of law on Access Declaration.
Cummings in his demands also highlighted the need for the decentralization of public administration, stressing the importance of a government that represents the country’s various ethnic, regional, and political groups, ensuring that all voices are heard and taken into consideration.
Additionally, Cummings emphasized the urgent requirement for the establishment of a youth program, as well as the provision of loans to Liberians, precisely women and the youthful population, for socio-economic reforms.
Cummings, stressing the need for gender equality, also demanded for the signifying of the country’s tax code, intended to make Liberia business friendly, aimed at reducing poverty, promoting job creation, and addressing income disparities.
Other components of the CPP’s demands are the assurance to end the drugs epidemic and religious intolerance, which he also stated is key to infrastructure development, access to quality healthcare, and educational opportunities, among others.
Meanwhile, as a means of ensuring a fruitful negotiation, Cummings also announced a five-man Committee, headed by his vice standard bearer, Cllr. Charlyne Brumskine, to immediately begin negotiations with both UP and CDC, putting forth their demands.
Other members making up the committee included the vice chair of the Liberty (LP), two leaders from the Alternative National Congress (ANC), and the CPP Campaign Chair, Lewis Brown.
Cummings, in closing, also maintained, “We are doing this because these discussions are very important to us and the Liberian people, because we promised them that we would work to change the system to benefit all Liberians.”
“And in summary, we want our change agenda to drive our decision. We therefore request that the parties who seek our support in the run-off commit to our vision for a better Liberia and our agenda for real change, as well as a sign of commitment to Liberians that they will govern the country that will benefit all Liberians,” he added.
As the runoff election approaches, all eyes are now on the CDC and UP candidates, their respective parties, and the Liberian people, as they navigate this critical stage in the nation’s democratic process.
The success of the negotiation process and the incorporation of Cummings’ demands into the political agenda might also be pivotal in shaping Liberia’s future and strengthening its democratic foundations.