6 October 2017

Liberia: LMA's Loyalty Split Between Cummings, Jones?

The support of the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA) in the October 10 presidential and legislative elections seems to be swaying in the way of the presidential candidate of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) if comments coming from the LMA leadership is anything to go by.

The ANC and its political leader, Alexander B. Cummings, appears to be wrestling the LMA, a very strong constituency in Liberian geo-politics, out of the grips of the political leader of Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE), who over the years has won favor in their eyes for his elaborate loan scheme which helps many Liberian business--though the scheme has received barrage of criticism as its critics thought that it was intended for personal gains.

Many had no idea how impactful the defeat of long serving president of the (LMA), Madam Lusu Sloan, might have been not only to she and her team but the presidential quest of the political leader of the (MOVEE).

It is no secret that the former Centra Bank governor's support to the marketers across the country, and the barrage of pledges of support to any endeavor in venture into, might have propelled his quest to contest the Liberian presidency. They trooped in their numbers under their various auxiliary groups during his petitioning ceremony held last year at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium, bringing Monrovia to a total standstill.

But the huge support accorded the former Governor seems to have dwindled, bringing to public glare again the hypocrisy of a fickle electorate.

However, the victory of the current LMA president, Madam Alice Yeebahn, seems to be a blessing for Cummings, who was received with wild celebration at the LMA headquarters at Rally Town Market on Thursday.

Cummings had gone to break ground for the construction of a state-of-the-art elementary school. At the ceremony, he donated US$10,000 to the construction process.

The new LMA president, Alice Yeebahn, said the group and its members will always welcome and support any well intentioned Liberian, like Mr. Cummings.

"Cummings is a man of his words. This is why I called him Talk and Do. He does what he says. He is somebody who is passionate about the future of this country. We as market women know what is good for us and on election day we will speak not just for ourselves but the future of our children for whom Cummings have come to help us build this school," she said. The heads of the 58 markets in Montserrado County were present at the ceremony.

She said Liberians should give honors to people who have them at heart, "Because when they are in power they will still think about you," she said, urging her colleagues to look up to those who will make the difference.

Many of the market women at the jammed packed ceremony, pledged to support the bid of the ANC candidate. "He could be the best person for this country," one said.

She added, "We see that Dr. Jones has no chance in these elections as his campaign seems to have no zeal. He was one person who was really helping us and so we decided to lend our support to his political quest. But things not looking too good for him, which I think it is because of the kind of people he got around him are not in his interest. So we resolved to support Cummings because he is the only alternative."

Mr. Cummings, in his usually soft tune, said that Liberian women and children deserve better, and modern markets and schools for kids are not too much to ask of a country that is 170 years old. He said the fund was a generous gift from the Cummings Africa Foundation and his family.

The ANC candidate, whose spouse was also present, said upon winning the polls, the ANC has a US$20M credit scheme for marketers across the country. "This is the time to make the right choice for Liberia. We must change the way we do things if we are to forge ahead as a country... .and this must begin now. All of those wanting to be president have been in government before and this is the Liberia they gave us. Please let us elect the right people for the future of our children," Cummings pleaded with the marketers. This is not a US$10,000 we have given but an investment in the future of our country, a future for which the CAF was established.

Under a Cummings administration, he intends to construct markets across the country which design would includes a concrete shelter with built-in tables, water and sanitation, storage facilities, literacy and business training, basic health services, especially in rural areas, and space for children to play or be occupied in a nursery school.

However, if any Liberian was happy to see Madam Sloan leave the helm of the LMA, it wasn't the hierarchy of the MOVEE which had established a strong rapport with her especially as the 2017 elections were fast approaching. But the loss of Jones seems to be a gain for Cummings.

Madam Sloan is also being accused of playing double-standard as it is being alleged that she has abandoned the presidential quest of Dr. Jones and is secretly supporting the presidential bid of the candidate of the ruling Unity Party, VP Joseph Nyuma Boakai.

Meanwhile, the Montserrado County's Women Wing, which is considered the stronghold for the Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE) has suffered a major blow, with the resignation of its President, Victoria Wrobeh.

Madam Wrobeh has since tendered her resignation from MOVEE on Tuesday, October 3, and two days after, in a formal colorful program yesterday declared her support to ANC. She brought along over 150 women.

The former MOVEE women executive said her departure from the party was based on several reasons, mainly "the party lack communication, coordination and activities."

"Dr. J. Mill Jones isn't ready, he is a good man, but he is not ready - also the party."

She added: "I have to resign - I can't say much, but I came here to join the ANC because, MOVEE and the ANC have almost the same vision."

"Let me just say, I came here because I was also talked to my Madam Aisha Conneh."

Also, prior before the former MOVEE women joined the ANC, hundreds of Nimbians pledged their support to Mr. Cummings.

Several business owners in Ganta, including Fatu Kehzie of F2 Business Center; Winifred Gussi of WINGUS Business Center; Ome Jallah, Salome Suah, Ma Yah Dolo, Everlyn Dolakeh, Musu Jabateh, Sekou Toure Kromah, among others, endorsed the ANC candidates.

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