5 October 2017

Liberia: Mr. Cummings, How Realistic Is Your Pledge to Provide 100,000 Jobs in the First 100 Days?


As part of his platform promises to the Liberian people, the political leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Alexander B. Cummings, said that if elected, he would provide 100,000 jobs in the first 100 days of his administration.

Outlining in his platform some areas of concentration, Mr. Cummings further promised that his government would concentrate on agriculture, the economy, education, health, governance and rule of law and infrastructural development.

Also in the first 100 days, he said his government would immediately begin the reconstruction of the Kesselly Boulevard to connect Gardnersville to Central Monrovia, and launch a US$20 million empowerment fund to support women, youth-owned businesses and farmers.

One thing for which candidate Cummings' promises should be lauded is that he is one presidential candidate who has made his platform available to this newspaper, unlike so many others who, despite repeated requests, have failed to do so.

Even so, what Liberians yearn for now are promises that will be realistic and fulfilled.

Since Liberians began active participation in politics in Liberia in 2005, unfilled promises have continued to fill their ears. This unfortunate, habitual failure of politicians to fulfill their campaign promises has caused some people to accept money, rice and other campaign goodies and satisfy themselves with the slogan, "We will eat our own." This simply means that they no longer trust politicians and their promises, and are prepared to settle for whatever becomes available during the campaign, reckoning that "a bird in hand is better than a thousand in the bush."

Everyone--and that includes the international community-- remembers President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's inaugural promise in 2006 that "corruption will be public enemy number one." Not only did she fail to keep this promise in her first term, but in the middle of her second term she admitted that she had failed to keep this promise. She also promised, at the beginning of her second term, to create 2,000 jobs monthly for Liberian youths but this promise, too, has remained unfulfilled.

This, coupled with numerous other failures, has caused undecided voters to consider such political promises as a mere rhetoric, even if they have reason to believe that a particular politician, like Mr. Cummings, might be sincere and honest.

That is why we are posing to the ANC political leader this question about his 100,000 job promise within the first hundred days of his administration.

In the face of such an ambitious promise, the question that immediately arises is HOW--how will he do it? Also, will they be professional, semi-skilled or unskilled jobs? What sector will provide the jobs--the public, or private sector--or both?

Mr. Cummings has to realize that when the word JOB is pronounced, people tend to believe that they will soon be employed for monthly salaries and allowances. But there is yet another form of employment -- self-employment. Is this the kind of employment Mr. Cummings is talking about?

While we appreciate Mr. Cummings for unveiling his platform, we believe he would do well to tell us how he intends to keep this promise of 100,000 jobs in his first 100 days in office.


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