By: T. Ralph Brown
The presidency is the most important job in any country. It is exclusively self-contained for prepared people and not everyone. Aspiring for it requires the possession of unique sets of skills, competence, and experience.
In Liberia, the lack of standard(s) in electing the president has become a “precedent on precedent.” Our history is replete with such that has inherently annealed political zombies and incompetent individuals’ ascendancy to the highest office in the land. Consequently, there have been years of a social-political, and economic downswing. After 174 years, Liberia remains one of the poorest in sub-Saharan Africa.
If we are to reclaim our promise and march into history, we must elect a commander-in-chief with unique sets of skills, competence, and experience beginning the 2023 general election. The election in 2023 will determine the trajectory of our country. Given the challenges Liberia faces in building a health-giving functioning society, it is my considered opinion that Mr. Alexander B Cummings of the Alternative National Congress is UNREADY to be president of Liberia at this time. My reasons are as follow;
…..Lacks public service experience
Work experience is relevant. It is always a winning formula. That is why many employers ask for work experience. Too often, without job experience, you cannot get hired.
The presidency is a public service job that should be reserve for people with a background in government. The fact is Cummings has no or little public sector experience. He has been a businessman all his life. Simply put, he has NEVER BUILT nor MANAGED any organization we can use to judge him. And that scares the hell out of me. If elected, God forbid, he will rely solely on advisers for public policy decision-making because he lacks public sector fundamentals. Some government jobs require years of working experience, but you want to make a guy who does not have experience president? As Joe Biden would say, that is a bunch of malarkey.
* Working for Coca-Cola does not qualify a person to be president. Coca-Cola is a fortune 500 business established in 1892, structured and solidified before the birth of Cummings in 1956. He did not make the company what it is. Being their vice president means absolutely nothing. Electing him on that basis will amount to buying a pig in a bag. George Weah is a cataclysmic testament of public service inexperience. Liberia has seen declines in every sector since he became president.
An ASIDE; Liberia has had a bad experience with businessmen who became presidents. Gyude Bryant was a businessman who became head of state. He was a disaster of a president. Most of the corrupt oil concessions were initially signed by him. He was humiliated and jailed for corruption. The late Mr. Bryant failed in all tasks assigned to him by the CPA, with the exception of a peaceful transition. Another disaster was E.J. Roye Liberia’s fifth president. After 1 year in office, he was overthrown for corruption and incompetence. He reportedly drowned in the ocean while trying to escape with stolen money. Donald Trump, the corporate executive, was also a disastrous president.
Liberians don’t know who he is
Voters look for a candidate who represents their values and needs. They must know their candidate(s) in-depth because it helps them choose the best person. Let me mesmerize and take you on a sexy intellectual escapade explaining this concept. I will like you to pay keen attention to what a candidate does rather than what he says as we go along. Knowing a candidate is different from knowing about a candidate. We know about Alexander Cummings, but we don’t know him. We know about him working for Coca-Cola and is/was on the S.C. Johnson board. None of this amount to knowing him. What we know about him is called “impersonal knowledge.” It is what we’ve heard yet not seen. So it is dangerous to trust a stranger with the presidency simply because we heard good things about him. What we’ve heard might not necessarily be what he is. For instance, people say he is a multimillionaire, Liberia’s richest man. The contradiction is, millionaires in other countries are donating millions to fight COVID-19 in their respective countries yet our “richest man” only pledged $150k for the COVID fight. There is no detailed expense for the donation. Maybe he is not that rich, he is selfish, or we don’t know. Besides, we have no evidence of Cummings using his international connections to help Liberia during these difficult times. I have not even seen a picture of Cummings with another world leader since he announced his presidency. Maybe Cummings doesn’t have connections, is selfish, or we don’t know. Where are the Moderna vaccines he reportedly promised? The truth is, everything about him is sketchy. How can you entrust the lives of your family to a complete JJC stranger at this time?
He brings a single perspective to the presidency.
In her book Rational Decision Making in Higher Education, Ellen Earle Chaffee explained rational, collegial, political, bureaucratic, and organized anarchy as the five models of organizational decision-making. Each one is for a unique situation. For instance, a political model is used for running universities, while the rational model is used to run corporations. In doing so, you can’t use the profit-making model to deal with the nonprofit-making situation. Theoretically, it doesn’t make sense. Practically, it is unworkable. A specific model is utilized to a specified scenario.
Mr. Cummings business feat is the only experience/perspective that is on. Such a singular perspective leads to paucity supposition. When facing a difficult decision, a president must utilize his multiple-perspective assets to deal with the situation. It helps with versatility, adaption to a new state of affairs, have an open mind, and undertaking critical rational enterprise that solves old age mess. If elected, Cummings will only have his business skill set to utilize, which is very menacing. You cannot use the same skill set to deal with business, social-political, and economic issues. We don’t need another inexperienced singular perspective (one-way thinking) president like George Weah at the helm of power.
Let me conclude on the following points;
Mr. Cummings seems desperate to be president. He is even willing to use money and his media allies to undermine Joseph Boakai, Benoni Urey, and other CPP leaders once he sees you as an obstacle to his quest for government power. His supporters are the new attack dogs against Darius Dillon. People who are desperate for power become dictators. Be careful with them!
Cummings doesn’t get along well with other CPP leaders. That should scare you!
His ANC was birthed from and is an extension of the ruling party CDC. Both party zealots exhibit arrogance and ignorance at the same time. What makes you think ANC is different from CDC?
He thinks being Gay is a lifestyle he struggles with. Only God knows what he might do if he becomes president.
Given everything said, Alexander Cummings is unqualified and unfit to be Commander-in-Chief of the Arm Forces of Liberia. He is a tragedy waiting to happen.
T. Ralph Brown is a Student of Pennsylvania State University, and Executive Director, Media United to Enhance Democracy
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