“This Vacationing President Lacks Leadership, Displays Gross Incompetence” – Cummings Describes President Weah

Alexander B. Cummings, Political leader of the ANC

Addressing local and international journalists today, November 17, 2022 at a well-attended news conference, the Chairperson of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), and political leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Mr. Alexander Benedict Cummings spoke on the state of affairs, specifically on the just failed National Housing and Population Census.

He noted that the failure of the start of the Census on schedule, said not much, if anything at all, has been done to credibly and competently conduct the constitutionally-required Census. Stressing, “In fact, today, the media reports concerning the Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS) include shameful scandals of stealing, abuse of offices, and display of gross incompetence. In this respect, LISGIS, which is responsible to conduct the census, is reflecting the character and failures of the Weah-led government.”

The CPP Chairperson said, “This unfortunate situation is being further compounded by the continued lack of leadership by our vacationing President, at the expense of the failing image of the country and the unbearable suffering of the Liberian people. It is now safe to say that after 4 years of failing to conduct the Census, which should have been conducted in 2018, as demanded by the Constitution, the recent delayed attempt also cannot be conducted at this time”.

Adding, “This is bad for our country not only in its constitutional violation but also in how it affects the constitutional legitimacy of the 2023 elections, its impact on deepening our cherished democracy, and how effectively we may be able to plan for the development of our country. Even worse, Liberians can now be excused for doubting that the National Housing and Population Census can and will be conducted under the current failed and corrupt leadership of both the LISGIS and the Weah administration”.

Expressing his frustration of the situation, Mr. Cumming said, “This is unacceptable. It cannot be permitted without consequences. Every democratic government is regarded for its commitment to obey the law, the most sacred of which is the Constitution. Every democratic government is measured by how it conducts itself responsibly, credibly and competently. Unfortunately, this is not the case with the administration of President Weah.

He said President Weah and his administration continue to show themselves to be irredeemably corrupt, dangerously incompetent and unchangeably irresponsible.  “They have and continue to disappoint, embarrass, disgrace and fail the Liberian nation and our international partners. To continue to pretend otherwise, or to continue to falsely hope that President Weah can and will somehow change, is to continue to deny the reality of the increased suffering of the Liberian people, and risk the peace, security and democracy of our country for which many, including friends of Liberia, voluntarily and involuntarily gave their lives”.

Read full statement of Mr. Alexander Benedict Cummings to the media

My fellow citizens:

On this 7th day since the announcement of the beginning of the National Housing and Population Census, not much, if anything at all, has been done to credibly and competently conduct the constitutionally-required Census. In fact, today, the media reports concerning the Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS) include shameful scandals of stealing, abuse of offices, and display of gross incompetence. In this respect, LISGIS, which is responsible to conduct the census, is reflecting the character and failures of the Weah-led government.

 

This unfortunate situation is being further compounded by the continued lack of leadership by our vacationing President, at the expense of the failing image of the country and the unbearable suffering of the Liberian people. It is now safe to say that after 4 years of failing to conduct the Census, which should have been conducted  in 2018, as demanded by the Constitution, the recent delayed attempt also cannot be conducted at this time. This is bad for our country not only in its constitutional violation but also in how it affects the constitutional legitimacy of the 2023 elections, its impact on deepening our cherished democracy, and how effectively we may be able to plan for the development of our country. Even worse, Liberians can now be excused for doubting that the National Housing and Population Census can and will be conducted under the current failed and corrupt leadership of both the LISGIS and the Weah administration.

This is unacceptable. It cannot be permitted without consequences. Every democratic government is regarded for its commitment to obey the law, the most sacred of which is the Constitution. Every democratic government is measured by how it conducts itself responsibly, credibly and competently. Unfortunately, this is not the case with the administration of President Weah. President Weah and his administration continue to show themselves to be irredeemably corrupt, dangerously incompetent and unchangeably irresponsible.  They have and continue to  disappoint, embarrass, disgrace and fail the Liberian nation and our international partners. To continue to pretend otherwise, or to continue to falsely hope that President Weah can and will somehow change, is to continue to deny the reality of the increased suffering of the Liberian people, and risk the peace, security and democracy of our country for which many, including friends of Liberia, voluntarily and involuntarily gave their lives.

The truth is that the Weah administration does not care about the Liberian people. They have only truly cared about illegally enriching themselves while they cut the salaries of Liberians and make life increasingly difficult for everyone. People are suffering everywhere in our country and in every political party while the President uselessly runs around the world at the expense of the people. And so, this is not about party or tribe or even counties and regions. The bad leadership of President Weah is affecting all of our people everywhere.

President Weah is flying about in private jets paid for by the Liberian people while Liberians, including an 8-weeks old baby, are drowning from capsized canoes while traveling to their farms. President Weah is sleeping in the vest of hotels in other countries while many are sleeping in slums and going to bed hungry. President Weah is enjoying while Liberians are suffering, civil servants salaries are harmonized to as low as $40 per month, cost of living is rising, and people are not being paid on time!

This is wicked. This is not presidential leadership. It is self-seeking and an abuse of the trust of the Liberian people. We will end this in 2023, and give Liberians a chance to better their lives. Liberia is too rich for Liberians to be so poor!

We are tired telling this President what to do., We will not waste our time and that of our fellow citizens to call on President Weah to immediately suspend, if not dismiss, and investigate, his friends and colleagues, including his Minister of Finance and all others involved in the looting and mismanagement of the country’s resources. Like many Liberians, I am convinced, and President Weah has shown, that he will not do that, and simply cannot do that. President Weah cannot and will not fight the rampant stealing in his administration. We are therefore left to reasonable conclude that this is because the President is either involved in it, or benefits from the runaway stealing and looting of the country, led by members of his inner circles and closest friends.

However, that President Weah cannot and will not act now, does not excuse us from acting in 2024. A Cummings administration will thoroughly audit and forcefully prosecute all of these ongoing scandals of financial dealings and stealing. We are determined to fight corruption wherever, and by whoever, without exception, fear or favor. And we are determined to do so to the fullest extent of the law. Hear me now: No one will get away with the stealing and looting of our country!

Seeing the pains and neglect of our people everyday, in a country God has blessed with so much natural wealth, compels us to fight corruption –  and we will. We must end the stealing and serve our people with honesty and diligence.

It has also come to our attention that the life of the family of the LISGIS whistleblower is being threatened. This government has a duty to protect all of its citizens. President Weah, inform your goons: Let nothing untoward happen to that family! We have seen enough mysterious deaths and unsolved murders in our country already. We will not permit anymore!

My fellow Liberians:

For now, concerning the failed conduct of the Census, it befalls the Legislature to act with the required leadership and courage. This is also what they were elected by their counties and districts to do. In fact, on the conduct of the Census, the Liberian Constitution specifically enjoins the Legislature to “cause a census of the Republic to be undertaken every ten years.” Therefore, the failure of the Legislature, the Liberian people’s direct representatives to the government, to demand obedience to and compliance with the constitutional schedules, as well as their continued silence in the face of the President and his team’s gross ineptitude and scandalous failings, is unreasonable, and leaves the Liberian people with the unfortunate impression of their shared breach of and dangerous collusion with the President to violate the Liberian Constitution.

These failings are the makings of the dreaded imperial presidency and effectively undermine democratic governance in favor of dictatorships, against which many fought, sacrificed and died to end in our country. We have seen that the failures of branches of the government to faithfully perform their constitutional duties inevitably lead to dangerous breakdowns and unconstitutional consequences. We are wise to avoid this path. It is time legislators strengthen their backbones and do the jobs of the Liberian people.

We therefore strongly urge the Legislature to act as these difficult conditions and circumstances now demand that they do. Failure to do so, in a timely and reassuring manner, could lead our people to demonstrations and deserved calls for impeachments.

Absent responsive leadership, democracy risks becoming wayward. President Weah is leading our country increasingly toward hopelessness and waywardness. No Branch of the Government, let alone the Legislature, should allow itself to be so used to achieve such dangerous ends for our country and people.

Liberia deserves better. Liberians everywhere deserve better than to continue to feel embarrassed and disgraced by the lack of leadership of President Weah and this monumental failure to conduct the constitutionally-required Census knowing its importance to our continued peace, security, democracy and development.

If there is any love of country left in President Weah, he will apologize to the nation for the shameful level of incompetence, ineptitude, dereliction and corruption that he has caused to swallow up his administration. The President must also apologize to the nation for causing a holiday to be declared for the beginning of the conduct of the Census which led to the shutting down of businesses and disruptions to other forms of livelihoods for Liberians, only to see the supposed beginning of the conduct of the census marred by protests across the country, lack of leadership, poor preparations, scandals and general unreadiness, leading many to now reasonably conclude that the conduct of the Census has failed disastrously. It is a fiasco that is best ended now!

Although he declared the Census holiday, such is the unbelievably poor quality of leadership and obvious lack of judgment by the President that he and many of his administration officials would have been out of the country and excluded from the count had it actually happened. The so-called leader of our country and many of his officials would have been out of the country while the people he claims to be leading were being counted. One can conclude that perhaps the President did not wish to be counted with the people he claims to love, and has a sworn duty to lead.

As a nation, we cannot continue like this. We cannot continue to see our country sliding backward toward chaos because of the lack of leadership of President Weah. We cannot continue to see our citizens suffering while their officials, including the President, are conniving to bleed the country with their shameless stealing, wasteful spending and looting. We cannot continue to have the President and his administration demonstrate gross incompetence to the point of dangerously threatening our hard-won peace, security and democracy.

Therefore, I renew my calls to all leaders of the opposition to join with us in a united effort to hold President Weah duly accountable to his sworn oath of office. We, too, have that solemn duty to our people which we must meet, and for which, we cannot fail. To achieve this purpose for our country and people, my team and I are ready to meet with the opposition wherever and whenever.

Enough is enough!

Liberians deserve better!

God bless you.

God bless Liberia.

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About Cholo Brooks 13020 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.

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