Firstly, I want to extend my thanks and appreciation to the leadership of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) Party members in the United States for extending me an invitation to attend their fundraiser that was recently held in Washington, D.C., on March 11, 2017. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend that auspicious event due to a previous engagement and short notice. However, the leadership was kind enough to share the recorded documentary of the event with the public, and I subsequently seized the opportunity to listen to Mr. Cummings’ full speech he delivered at the fundraiser and dinner.
His speech was succinct, on point, and it resonated with the ideal direction I would like to see Liberian candidates take to present their platforms and messages to the Liberian electorates. I also look forward to dialoguing with Mr. Cummings and other presidential aspirants to share views and determine the collective course of action we need to take to peacefully resolve our national crisis and reinstate rule of law in post conflict Liberia.
Secondly, what I admired most about Mr. Cummings’ speech that I will summarize in this discussion, is that he stuck to his talking points and the central theme of his platform—urging all Liberians to work together to restore rule of law and develop Liberia. Thirdly, his message was void of personal attacks. Rather, he focused on his dream about what and how he would like to restore peace and unity among all Liberians, to help revive and develop the various wheels of Liberia’s national infrastructures that have been paralyzed by the bloody civil war. Consequently, he urged Liberians not to be delusional about the present state of Liberia because of the civil upheaval that destroyed a quarter million lives, devastated properties worth billions of dollars, and impaired the cultural and historical heritage of Liberia nationally and internationally. Against this backdrop, Mr. Cummings urged Liberians to be actively engaged in the political process and not stand on the sideline.
The Whats and Hows of Mr. Cummings’ Platform
In his open remarks, Mr. Cummings reaffirmed his pride as a citizen of Liberia: “I am proud to be a Liberian” he said. Further, he expressed gratitude to his family, wife, children, and supporters, and enumerated the blessings and experience he has had serving in the corporate world around the globe—in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States, respectively.
He also stated that he feels obligated and duty bound to serve Liberia and his fellow countrymen and women not to attain quick wealth but out of sheer love to serve his fellow countrymen and women. In this light, Mr. Cummings brings to the national leadership forum his Christian values and work ethics and his ardent desire to help make a difference in the lives of all Liberians. In addition, the ANC Standard Bearer averred that after a hundred and seventy years of independence, “We deserve a better Liberia. We deserve a different and better Liberia; and, if we select a good team, we can transform Liberia.”
Below are the “whats” and “hows” of Mr. Cummings plan of action for post war Liberia.
Mr. Alexander Cummings stressed and enumerated what he would do to develop Liberia:
- Job creation: he believes that when the clear majority of the population is unemployed, there is likely to be a continued security risk in Liberia because economic hardships may subject the citizens to all sorts of evil motives and ideologies: armed robberies, insurrection, heightened crimes, health epidemics, and
any foreign belief system that may be detrimental to our national heritage as a nation and people;
- Agriculture: Mr. Cummings argues that we need to feed ourselves—to harness our humus soils to avoid being dependent on other nations and peoples to feed us;
- Education: he expressed deep concern about the high illiteracy rate in Liberia, and contends that if Liberia must be transformed, its citizens should also be transformed intellectually and ideologically;
- Health: Mr. Cummings underscored that the success of Liberia greatly depends on a healthy population that is energized to work in rebuilding its devastated infrastructures;
- Infrastructure: He also stressed the need for lights, roads, and water, as essential utilities to rebuild Liberia; and
- Proprietorship: he would like to prioritize Liberianization, to see Liberians take charge of their own economy instead of having foreigners dominate the economy of Liberia.
The Hows of Mr. Cummings’ Platform
With respect to how we can achieve the goals and objectives he outlined above, Mr. Cummings said:
- “We must engage hearts and minds”, which mandates all Liberians not to stand on the sideline but they must be actively engaged in the change process in Liberia. In addition, he argues that it is “not enough to criticize; it is not enough to ask questions; and not enough to just talk, but that Liberians must be prepared to do the hard work to change Liberia”. However, to change Liberia, Cummings emphasized it cannot be done “If we keep selecting the same people because we will get the same results.” Thus, he contends it is necessary to evaluate our past performance; and, if we expect good results in the present, we must engage
hearts and minds and get involved differently than we have been doing overtime;
- Further, Cummings stated that we should focus on how to get the financial resources to fund our reconstruction and rehabilitation programs, both internally and externally, and should be mindful not to financially strangulate Liberia in the process of seeking funds for our development programs;
- We must manage efficiently our resources and avoid wasteful spending;
- He advocates the formation of an inclusive government of national unity so that everyone may be totally involved in the change process in post conflict Liberia;
- Additionally, Mr. Cummings struck a major political cord when he stressed that Liberians should be law abiding and should expect to face consequences for their actions because no one is above the law—meaning that it is not okay to condone corruption as an acceptable norm in the Liberian society; and/or for a handful of individuals to pocket the meager resources of the country while millions of citizens suffer due to poor road conditions, lack of good health delivery system, lack of access to equality of educational opportunities, and our continued dependence on handouts from the international community when we have the resources to fend for ourselves;
- Moreover, Mr. Cummings urged Liberians to acknowledge and appreciate one another, and that we should show gratitude for the good people do in our society so that they may be encouraged to do more. He frowns on the crab mentality of pulling one another down instead of supporting one another to succeed;
- He urged Liberians to use technology wisely to improve our lives, and make technological gains as other developing nations are doing;
- Mr. Alex Cummings informed his audience he is aspiring for the presidency of Liberia not to gain wealth but to serve, and called on his supporters and all Liberians to give him the support, and get actively involved in rebuilding Liberia;
- Cummings admits he is not a savior and he cannot do it alone; but with everyone on board, it is possible to lift Liberia up from the dungeon of economic and political deprivation to a pedestal of economic and political growth and development;
- The ANC first gentleman said Liberia’s present condition can be improved by forming a national government of inclusion, and by creating an enabling environment to spur a patriotic spirit of national consciousness and by prioritizing Liberianization; and finally,
- Mr. Cummings advised his audience and all Liberians not to be delusional about the state of affairs in Liberia, but to come to grips with reality and acknowledge the present conditions in Liberia—that it is damaged and needs to be repaired, and that “it requires all Liberians to roll up their sleeves to rebuild Liberia.”
In highlighting the outline of his platform, the ANC Standard Bearer emphasized that he believes Liberians can rebuild Liberia, and then he asked his audience to repeat after him a slogan he had prepared for them:
“I believe in myself; I believe in Liberia; I believe I deserve a better Liberia; I believe if we work together we can build this country called Liberia. I believe if we are not delusional about the challenges we face as Liberians, we can transform Liberia”.
Mr. Cummings ended his message to his partisans and supporters that had gathered to raise funds for the ANC by emphasizing he wants to work with people who can do, but not just talk, criticize, and ask questions. Instead, he wants to collaborate with those who will get actively involved to bring about the needed change Liberia desires to get back on its feet as Africa’s oldest Republic! Nevertheless, while Mr. Cummings’ platform seems to be impressive at first glance, there will be a need for consensus building down the line. His corporate experience will be a plus for our post war society but he will need to collaborate with an experienced statesman or stateswoman, and/or someone who “has been there, done that” and that has deep cultural and political ties with the Liberian people to pull off his lofty development plans for post conflict Liberia.
This suggestion is in line with his own policy statement about forming a national government of inclusion and the active engagement of all Liberians in the reconstruction process. I commend the ANC for putting forth a brilliant young Liberian corporate executive but we must sit and talk to map out a consensual plan of action that will be accommodating to all sectors of the Liberian society. In Mr. Cummings’ own words, he cannot “do it alone”, neither can the ANC as an organization “do it alone.” It will require all of us to get actively involved, to merge our resources to bring our national quagmire to a peaceful and successful conclusion. In that light, I look forward to a meeting with Mr. Cummings soon because as the traditional adage goes: “Good is never lost when the old man is under the palm wine tree!”
About the Author
Rabbi Prince Joseph Tomoonh-Garlodeyh Gbaba, Sr. is a playwright, theatre director, actor, and Jesuit trained educator. He is founder and Executive Director of Dehkontee Artists Theatre, Inc., founded forty years ago, at the University of Liberia. As a cultural expert, and a human rights activist, he advocates the reinstatement of rule of law in post war Liberia and is calling for the preservation and respect of the traditional history and culture of Liberia and all Africans on the continent of Africa and in the diaspora.
Hence, as this year’s presidential election in Liberia is very crucial in determining whether or not Liberia’s role as a pacesetter and beacon of freedom for the Black Race will be restored or further destroyed by stooges of western civilization, Liberia’s “Shakespeare” is requesting key candidates contesting the presidency of Liberia that have unblemished public record and who have not committed treason against the state and the Liberian people, to engage in consensus building to put an end to the thirty year war that is ongoing in Liberia and that has marginalized the masses, with a few oligarchs and their cohorts benefiting from the spoils of the war they waged on the Liberian people. He would like to see a government of inclusion emerging from the presidential elections in Liberia as the best way forward to rebuild Liberia, reinstate rule of law, and maintain sustainable peace.
Dr. Gbaba can be contacted at email@example.com
March 24, 2017