By Bill W. Cooper & B. Linus Flomo (Intern)
The founder of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) Alexander B. Cummings, says he remains neutral during the upcoming run-off election but the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) under his watch has endorsed President George Weah’s reelection bid.
Though politically it the unanimous decision from the opposition party to endorse the CDC, came as no surprise but it was again another shock for sympathizers and other supporters that the CPP would have collaborated with the ruling party after the prolong absence of its political head and that the party would rather let down another opposition party after all the promises and criticisms.
Cummings, who had been the lead since the CPP’s internal wrangling that saw ALP, part of LP and UP fall off, was a staunch critic of the Weah-led administration and his criticism has carried a definite and strong message for over five years frowning on what he painted as massive corruption, bad governance and Weah’s inability to lead Liberia.
Cummings, as head of the already fragile CPP, contested for the Liberian Presidency but did not make it to run-off after accumulating 29,613 votes, amounting to 1.61 percent of the total votes cast during the October 10, 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections.
Among his promises to the Liberian electorates, sometime in September prior to the conduct of the October 10 polls, Cumming on one of his campaign tours in New Kru Town, vowed to support an opposition candidate if he did not win the election in October or make it to the runoff.
Cumming whose message was almost considered as ‘copy and paste’ has repeatedly and consistently accused the Weah-led government of rampant corruption, extra Judicial killing, lack of transparency and accountability, and acquiring unexplainable wealth, thus leaving millions of Liberians in abject poverty, among others.
In buttressing his criticism against President Weah, Cummings also supported major protestations against the Weah administration, ranging from the ‘Bring Back Our Money’ organized by the Economic Freedom Fighter (EFFL), to the famous ‘June 7 protest’ staged by the Council of Patriot (CoP), led by talk-show host, Henry Pedro Costa.
Cummings and team, having had six months to the elections, further organized a major rally dubbed ‘We Tire Suffering’ against President Weah’s government, on grounds that the Liberians were tired of suffering and could no longer continue with such life under the CDC government.
But with the runoff election looming, Cumming’s CPP pronouncement of support to the CDC greatly surprised their supporters and millions of Liberians whom his party, the Alternative National Congress (ANC) tried to convince throughout Weah’s first term not to give support to the re-election of Weah, over the CDC failure to govern the country properly.
According to some Liberians, the CPP’s endorsement of Weah has been likened to a betrayal of an opposition’s core values and a departure from Cummings’ continuous promise of bringing change and progress to Liberia, with his slogan “you can’t be doing the same thing and expect different results.”
They explained that the CPP’s decision to support President Weah, even though it can be seen as a strategic move to consolidate political power and enhance his own political standing for the 2029 elections, was based on personal interests.
They are also questioning the integrity and motives of Cummings, who has always preached about change, as his party’s decision has created doubt and uncertainty among the electorate, raising concerns about the credibility and reliability of the opposition as a whole.
Meanwhile, Cummings said while he respects the decision of the CPP Executive Committee, he has been granted permission not to endorse any of the two presidential run-off candidates, noting that the CPP is a democratic institution, and as such, the overwhelming majority’s decision is final and it is something that he respects.
Cummings added, “I have asked the parties, and they have agreed to allow me to not take a side, and, among several important reasons, we believe this will afford the balanced perspective needed to continue to engage, as the CPP has demanded that I do, with all of our political, religious, traditional, and other national leaders, including Liberians of all political, social, and economic standing.”
“As we know, it is difficult to engage meaningfully and constructively if one is perceived to be politically biased or prejudiced. Furthermore, I am hopeful that this position will help our country, both in the short and long term, to work for the unity and reconciliation of all our people and leaders, especially after a contentious election that threatens to further divide our people. Not personally choosing a side will also help in a more effective engagement with our international partners,” he asserted.
With the CPP joining the CDC, it remains to be seen whether this endorsement will significantly impact the outcome of the runoff election, or if it will further divide the electorate, after being hopeful that Cummings would have endorsed Boakai to form a formidable force against President Weah.
The decision has not only jeopardized the credibility and unity of the opposition, but has also stirred uncertainty and doubt within the electorate as they approach the crucial run-off election soon.
Meanwhile, additional 10 opposition political parties’ youth leagues also endorsed the re-election of Weah include the Alternative National Congress (ANC), African Liberation League (ALL), Liberia Rebuilding Party (LRP), All Liberian Party (ALP), Liberian People’s Party, (LPP), National Democratic Coalition (NDC), Liberia National Union (LINU), Liberty Party (LP), All Liberian Coalition Party (ALCOP), and the Movement for Progress Change (MPC).
The parties, over the weekend, were represented by their various youth league chairpersons and nearly all executive members of their youth leagues.
Reading a joint statement on behalf of the parties’ youth leagues, under the banner, “Consortium of Opposition Political Parties National Youth Leaders”, the Chairperson of ALCOP, Austin B. Toe, said President Weah remains the chosen leader and he deserves a second term.
“We the young people of the Consortium of Opposition Political Parties National Youth Leaders, hereby announce, proclaim, and declare to our nation and the world at large, in a manner unprecedented, that the election of November 14, 2023 is no more an issue, that we have found the nation’s next president and that person is no one other than Weah,” Toe said.
He stated that the run-off election is very essential to the growth and future development of the country, noting that they cannot wait to make their decision known in favor of the Liberian leader.
“The only realistic means by which we can succeed as a people is to make our country to continue on this unprecedented trajectory of development and youth empowerment”, he averred.
Toe further called on all their supporters and the young people across the country to join this national endeavor to prevent Liberia from slipping back in the hands of those he described as squanderers and economic vultures.
“Let’s ensure that President Weah is elected to the presidency of Liberia on November 14 this year, as he continues to transform the economy, give dignity to the young people, and be a witness to his massive infrastructural development,” he noted.
Some of the opposition political parties, including Liberia People Party and the All Liberian Coalition Party, have already endorsed Unity Party leader, Joseph Boakai, for the run-off election.
At the same time, the National Chair of the National Youth League of the ruling CDC, Emmanuel Johnson, welcomed the opposition youth leaders and termed the move as one meant to emancipate the people of Liberia from a Unity Party third time rule.
The initiative to convince and bring on board these youth leaders to the CDC for President Weah’s re-election, was an idea from the youth league of the ruling party, through its arrowhead, Johnson.
“We have realized that the second phase of the liberation struggle (run-off election), as announced by the National Elections Commission, would require dialogue, convincing young people, re-establishing inter-personal relationship with them, and creating an environment where they feel safe,” he said.
“Long before now, these political parties have their own constitutions, bylaws and philosophy, and we are grateful to them for seeing the CDC as the only viable means to achieving the needed development and economic empowerment the Liberian people so desire,” Johnson said.
He stressed that the 11 young political leaders have decided to the join the CDC and ensure President Weah is re-elected, adding that for him, those are magnificent stances they have taken.
“And because we believe that President Weah is the only president who has given many young people the national leadership role, evidenced by his unprecedented desire to empower more young people in national leadership role,” Johnson intoned.
The CDC Youth League Boss also urged the young people to go back to their various counties of residence to make more disciples and ensure President Weah is re-elected for another six years, to continue on the path of development for the country and its people.
He encouraged them not to listen to whatever criticism coming from the opposition, but to continue to preach the message about the good leadership of President Weah and how his re-election would benefit this generation and generations to come.