As December 30 Protest Draws Closer: ANC Rejects Weah Step Down Campaign, Says It Is ‘Unconstitutional’

Mr. Alexander B. Cummings, ANC political leader

The leadership of the opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC) has publicly distances itself from the planned December 30th protest, noting that it is unconstitutional on the part of the group calling for the removal of President Weah.

In a statement Sunday, the party, through its Secretary General Aloysious Toe said when a planned protest  is in the  best interest of the people, it will support it overwhelmingly.

“The ANC however expressed its opposition to plans wishes to re-emphasize its commitment to the Coalition Political Parties (CPP) and will continue to work with the group and other democratic forces in protecting the rights of the Liberian people,” the party said.

“We will support any effort that will rouse the hopes of Liberians, and mobilize the collective outrage of our people to demand better paying jobs, schools and clinics, asset declaration by the president, reduction in official salary, better living conditions, action against corruption, accountability and responsiveness.”

The ANC says it is aware that the current economic hardship, massive unemployment, open theft of public resources by government officials, abuse of state power and the destruction of Liberia’s economy by the incompetent Weah’s administration are necessary and sufficient reasons for peaceful mass protest. “We are also very concerned about the fast-declining state of our country, and agrees that Liberians have legitimate reasons to protest and demand reform in governance.”

The ANC says while it encourages the rights of citizens to peacefully protest and express their grievances to government for redress, it does not endorse and will not support the “Weah Step Down” Campaign on December 30, 2019.

The party further said, “The Weah Step Down” protest, intended to use mass pressure for the sole purpose of effecting regime change and seeking the removal of a constitutionally elected president, is unconstitutional, undemocratic, and repugnant to Liberia’s desire for sustainable peace and democracy through competitive electoral politics. It was wrong then with the Ellen Step Down Campaign and it is wrong now.”

This latest development from one of the would be organizers of the pending December 30, 2019 seems to be a division in the Council of Patriots (COP) which grouped opposition political parties.

However, the ruling Coalition for Democratic Congress (CDC) says the ANC’s October 26 press release rejecting the futile and already failed ‘December 30 ‘Step-down campaign’ is welcoming but belated and should not been seen as any great step, since this is what the ANC should be doing in the first place: rejecting treasonable actions that tend to destabilize the country.

It is known that the ANC was a major sponsor of the June 7 protest whose aim was to destabilize and unseat the Government of President George Manneh Weah. Owing to the deft handling of that failed protest by the CDC-led Government and the robust and lawful shut down of hate-radio roots FM, the ANC now knows that the CDC Government will not take kindly to opposition elements and mercenaries bent on destabilizing our hard-won national peace!

So it is ANC’s recent recognition of the impossibility of bringing down the CDC administration and the ANC’s acknowledgement of the CDC-led Government’s firm response to this threat that have forced it (the ANC) to issue this press release. Other factors pertain to the current feud between leaders of the ANC, including Alexander Cummings, on the one hand, and Henry Costa, the brainchild of the failed December 30 protest who also faces an arrest warrant on various charges, on the other hand. The timing of the ANC press release speaks volumes to the fact that it was forced to issue such a release and that the release is not an outcome of any organic commitment to peace and national stability.

So this press release scores no point for the ANC because the party should not be in the business of joining meaningless protests and planning instability or insurrection in the state.

The bogus charges of ‘corruption and ‘incompetence’ in this release are just that: bogus. As the CDC and the Government have time and again stated, evidence to back these outrageous and baseless assertions are lacking. When asked to adduce evidence, the ANC and others of their ilk point to ‘ new buildings put up by the President,’ to ‘ 16 billion missing,’ or to ‘25 million mop up.’ Although none of these instances involves any act of corruption done by officials appointed by President George Manneh Weah, the likes of ANC will continue to harp on these fictions to deceive the Liberia people and believe they are scoring political points!

These propaganda concoctions are what the ANC refers to as corruption. How can the CDC government ever be corrupt when it is doing far more with less resources? It is a fact that the fiscal flow of Government has faced some shocks from external assistance and domestic revenue but we still see the CDC Government deliver wonderful projects. The Government has denied itself of more than USD 26 million annually in untouchable, non-discretionary budget commitments that can not be manipulated —salary for some 2000 health workers and pay increase for medical doctors, free tuition for public college attendees, payment of WASSEE fees for high school students and budgeted coupon payments on the USD$65 million bond issued to commercial banks. This is US$26 million the previous UP administration had available annually to use discretionarily. The CDC administration is still asking how these resources were used, since the Global Health Pool Fund was paying for doctors, since students were paying for their own exam fees and since the Government did not have to pay for public college education.

Beyond these non-discretionary commitments, the CDC administration has spent an additional US$20 million to build more than 40 kilometers of community roads, pay US$9 million of LEC debt owed by the previous administration, built a new military hospital for the army, gave students of the University of Liberia means of digital registration for the first time ever, provided US$$1 million for pro-poor loan scheme housed at the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment, plus several more projects. How can such a transformative Government be corrupt?

How can the CDC Government be judged as incompetent when it is the Government that is reforming our horrible wage system developed under the previous administration to use government resources to discretionarily pay workers with similar skills at different levels? Despite several calls by international partners to reform this wage bill, the previous governing party, that now defends several meaningless protests, was unable to reform this system, paying workers as high as US$20,000 a month. Which party has shown incompetence? The one that is reforming or the one that wasted public money and failed to reform?

How can the CDC be incompetent when it is the Government that is now working to deliver a new monetary framework that will help bring down inflation; a Government inaugurated on January 22 does nothing

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About Joel Cholo Brooks 13504 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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