Africa-Press – Liberia. The Alternative National Congress political leader, Alexander Cummings, has admitted that it would be difficult for a single party to easily unseat President George Weah in the absence of some opposition unity.
Cummings, in a speech yesterday noted the opposition community’s ultimate goal of defeating the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change and Weah in the 2023 elections requires leaders of the opposition to put aside personal grievances.
He added that the result of the Lofa County by-election, in which the CDC- sponsored candidate, Joseph Jallah, won is an important reminder to the opposition community that Liberian people are more willing to trust “us if we are together.”
“However we try to interpret the results, one message to all of us who desire change in our country should be clear: Together, we are stronger. The Liberian people have shown us that they are more willing to trust us if we are together,” Cummings said.
“In 2020, together and under our leadership of the CPP, the opposition won. The CPP itself won 6 senatorial seats in the Midterm Elections including in the so-called CDC stronghold of Montserrado and supported five other successful candidates. The ruling CDC fought and spent as much as they could but the opposition victories could not be denied.”
Cummings noted that while it is true that Liberians want to change, they are also tired of the division and disunity among opposition leaders — rather than moving forward, boldly, differently, and reconciling.
He added that Liberians do not just want a change of individuals; they want a change in the system which, for too long, has kept the country corrupt, and the people poor, and that breaking promises in the case of CPP, is not the way to change the country.
“We will continue to keep the doors of the CPP wide open because we know that our country needs all of its citizens to work together to rescue it. To do this, as an opposition community, we need to put aside our grievances. This is why, once again, I extend an olive branch of peace and friendship to all opposition parties, other CPP stakeholders, and the broader Liberian opposition community. I also ask for reconciliation in the Liberty Party.”
“The truth is that my heart bleeds to see where our country is, how Liberians continue to suffer, and how President Weah and his government have continued to dig our country deeper and deeper into a terrible hole. President Weah can spend his time playing around and dancing but it will not change the fact that lifting our country out of the Weah hole will require hard work and collective effort.”
His appeal for unity comes a day after the Secretary-General of the opposition Unity Party, Mo Ali insisted that his party does not regret leaving the CPP.
“We don’t regret leaving the CPP, it was a conscious decision we took,” Ali said during a radio interview on Sky FM. “We made a conscious decision and UP does not regret leaving CPP. There were already serious fights within the opposition bloc and there should be no issue since the Unity Party left.”
But Cummings and many people in the opposition community believe that the UP losing Lofa County should serve as a wake-up call to rekindle the bond that existed between the four parties that comprised the CPP.
This call was made in the aftermath of the UP losing Lofa County, its stronghold, to Jallah, a proxy candidate of the CDC. Kortimai, the UP candidate, lost the election with less than 800 votes.
The CPP marriage achieved a significant electoral battleground victory during the 2020 senatorial elections, including the popular Montserrado County, which has long been a bastion of the CDC.
The CPP won six of the 15 counties at the time, compared to the ruling CDC’s two seats; the other seats were won by independent candidates.
Until its disintegration, many Liberians saw the CPP as a light of hope that would seize power from President George Weah and his party come 2023, which has been accused of failing the Liberian people.
However, political infighting among the leaders of the four parties that originally comprised the partnership resulted in a split, with three of its members — the Liberty Party (LP), the All Liberian Party, and the Unity Party — quitting the alliance, leaving it with the Alternative National Congress.
The LP is divided between its political leader Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence and its chairman Musa H. Bility. The UP, before the June 28 by-elections, won Lofa County during the 2020 senatorial elections but that was under the CPP umbrella.
However, the CPP’s candidate, former Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, could not take his seat due to his criminal conviction of having misapplied more than US$1 million from a private pension fund for soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia.
Meanwhile, Cummings has warned his colleagues in the opposition community of serious consequences for Liberia if Weah gets a second chance — as that could “further corrupt and mismanage our country, will be very bad for the Liberian people and our country and will take too long for all of us to recover from.”
“Already, President Weah and his administration have done more harm and damage to our country than many could have imagined they could do in five years. And even worse, President Weah and his friends have shown that they cannot and will not change.”
“After 5 years of leadership of our country, the ruling CDC could not run in Lofa in its name and on its record. When one cannot stand on what one has done, one has to know that he or she has done nothing good enough on which to stand to run. President Weah and the CDC did not win in Lofa — the people of Lofa won.
He accused Weah of failing the Liberian people and being ashamed of their failed leadership, lies, and stealing the results, both in 2020 and now in 2022, showing that they are no longer interested in political strongholds.
“Liberians want their country released from the economic stranglehold caused mostly by corruption and mismanagement. Our people want jobs, foreign investments, better roads, better schools, and better hospitals. “
“Liberians want to change. Yes, people are suffering. And yes, things are only getting worse. But Liberians are also tired of the division and disunity. People want us to move forward — boldly, differently and reconcile. Liberians do not just want a change of individuals — our people want a change in the system, which for too long, has kept our country corrupt, and our people poor.”