By Mulbah Kesselly
“This is a change you can trust, this is a real change. If we keep doing the same things, we will not change Liberia. If we keep electing the same politicians, with the same experiences, Liberia will not change.” Alexander B. Cummings, Jr.
After more than 170 years of independence, the upcoming presidential and legislative election presents a once in a life opportunity for Liberians to elect a president and legislators who can liberate the country from the chains of poverty, unbearable healthcare services, messy education, poor infrastructure, wanton corruption, flagrant disregard for the rule of law, nepotism, etc. With at least twenty presidential candidates accredited by the National Elections Commission to contest at the 10 October polls, Liberians are faced with a choice between good and evil, as some of the very people who participated and led groups in destroying the country and pillaging its resources, are actively campaigning for elective posts for the purpose of solely protecting their ill-gotten wealth. And additionally maintain the status quo that has held Liberia down and its economy in a dire state throughout its post war era.
Amidst the quandary of choosing between good versus evil, or between talking versus doing, Liberians have a reason to hope for a ‘real change’ in the state of affairs if they were to elect a man who is true to what he says and has the requisite experiences and determination to deliver on his promises. Of all the presidential candidates, Mr. Alexander B. Cummings of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) has distinguished himself from the regular talker by being a doer and an implementer. Mr. Cummings surpasses all contenders for the nation’s highest when considering the fact that he knows exactly what he wants to do and how he’s going to do it.
As Senator Prince Johnson of Nimba County said, Alexander B. Cummings has absolutely no history of participating in the civil crisis that plagued the country, hasn’t worked or stolen a dime from the Liberian government, and is a force to truly reconcile Liberians. His experiences gained while serving at various levels in the corporate and financial worlds, coupled with his unparalleled achievements in various capacities across Africa and later in America has made him that one and true alternative to bad and corrupt governance in Liberia.
Born and raised in Liberia, Alexander B. Cummings holds a B. S. degree in Finance and Economics and an MBA in Finance from the Atlanta University. Through hard work, dedication and great vision, Alexander B. Cummings climbed the ladder in unprecedented fashion at one of the biggest corporations in the world (Coca-Cola Corporation). He served with distinction and stir up to the position of Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer. A level absolutely no other Liberian has ever reached in the ‘corporate world’ since Liberia was founded.
Strength: Due to his work in most of the tough regions around Africa, which includes Liberia, when he served at the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment(LBDI), Mr. Cummings has proven to have great business and economic experiences, unparalleled managerial skills, and global connections that can be used to attract investments, strengthen governance, grow the economy, reduce unemployment to zero digits, alleviate poverty, reduce child mortality, improve roads, and develop all parts of Liberia. Cummings knows how to maximize the usage of the country’s resources to benefit all its citizens, and is a devoted implementer and doer, something no regular Liberian politician is capable of doing.
He and the Alternative National Congress have advanced several policies that are enshrined in the platform which will be the road map for his leadership. The following are some of the major targets of the Cummings-led government:
Education – Compared to his opponents, Mr. Cummings is the biggest direct private spender on education, and has formulated the most rigorous plan to improve Liberia’s education sector. The Cummings-led government is poised to raise the country’s education to the best levels found anywhere in the world by investing huge amount of money that will meet achievable education needs. Improvements in the existing education structure will be made and construction of schools that will meet modern science and technological requirements. Provide improved training for teachers, ensure free and compulsory early childhood and secondary education, provide incentives for students who are studying in the science and technology areas, etc. He has already built a US$4.5million model science and technology school (Alexander B. Cummings Model Science and Technology School), given over two million Liberian dollars for scholarship and built a modern computer lab, first time ever, at the state-run University of Liberia. Besides, he’s currently running the biggest private scholarship scheme in the entire country. This benefits students at all universities in the country.
Corruption – Liberia is one of the most corrupt countries on the face of the earth and President Sirleaf pronounced in her last State of the National Address that her government had lost in the fight against this “vampire”. She primarily blamed the lack of strong will power to prosecute public officials for graft and societal norms that tend to encourage the act. But Mr. Cummings, perhaps the most determined candidate to fight against corruption, has donated his entire salary and benefits when elected president to vigorously fighting corruption no matter where it exists or by whom it is being practiced. Mr. Cummings outlined his plan to prosecute, jail and seize the assets of any public official caught in the act. Under the Cummings leadership, anti-graft institutions will get more funding, and existing laws will be modified in a way that will actually prevent the breach of public trust. The Cummings-Sulunteh government is determined to hold all officials of government accountable for what they are trusted with and by the same standards.
Furthermore, the practice of people begging for government officials to be pardoned when they are found in violation of the laws will not be encouraged by his government. This is one of the underlying factors that have made fighting corruption in the Liberian governance structure unsuccessful for nearly the entire existence of the state thus far.
Agriculture – According to the United Nations Development Programme, 30 percent of Liberia’s land is arable and close to 90 percent of crop areas receive adequate rain. Yet, over 60 percent of the country’s population is food insecure with many living on less than a dollar a day. Agriculture is one of the major sectors that can boost and strengthen the country’s economy, while providing a more secure and better livelihood for the population. Huge investments will be made into establishing mega farms in all regions, engineers will be brought into the country to train farmers and work on making the country food sufficient. Factories will also be established to process the products coming from these farms for local consumption and exportation to markets in other countries. The government will also provide subsidies for ordinary farmers and buy their products so as to help them continue farming. Small farmers will be given direct access to finance to improve their farms and grow more food. And the government will spend hugely on roads to provide easy access for farmers to transport their produce.
Unemployment – With approximately 85% of the Liberian population unemployed, Alexander B. Cummings considers unemployment as the biggest threat to the peace and security of the state; therefore, huge investments will be made in electricity to fuel the establishment of industries for processing of raw materials here in Liberia. These factories and industries will hire more Liberians and the exportation of finished products will keep the Liberian economy strong. With electricity, access to finance, and good roads everywhere to support business, reduced taxes, the Liberian economy will definitely boom.
A message from Mr. Alexander B. Cummings: “Fellow Liberians, no matter what it takes to get Liberia working, absolutely nothing will stop me and the great team of change agents we are working with to get it done. We have to take our people out of the terrible conditions they have lived through nearly all their lives because of corrupt leaders. It hurts a lot to see the life threatening state of roads, poor health care system, messy education, high rate of unemployment, etc., throughout the country. But I am so determined to make sure we do the right things that have not been done by Liberian leaders yesterday and today. Believe me on this, I am also prepared and armed with everything it will take to tackle the problems our country (Liberia) is faced with. The task ahead of us all is daunting and we definitely need someone who will make the hard decisions and do the unprecedented things to get the country working. I’m not coming to this job for all the benefits (luxury cars, money, etc.) that comes with the job, I have had all of that; howbeit, I’m in this process because Liberia needs genuine change. And that change is what I offer.”
About the Author:
Mulbah Kesselly is a Liberian student and an aspiring young leader. He’s also a Political Commentator and a member of the media and publicity team of the Alexander B. Cummings, Jr., Campaign.