6 December 2018

Liberia: 'Serve the People First, Be Last to Eat'

Opposition leader, Alexander B. Cummings

ANC Political Leader Cummings cautions Weah administration

The political leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Alexander B. Cummings, says it is good for government officials to serve the people first and be the last to eat, citing the wave of scandals involving government officials who are on trial for the abuse of their leadership privileges and those who are reported to be involved in land purchases and building mansions.

He said President George Weah and his government officials need to be conscious of what they can do to fulfill their promises to the people instead of building their own properties first. Cummings also emphasized the reported purchasing of properties by government officials, including the President, as a situation that does not signal confidence in the government.

He also said he prefers to remain a critical opposition politician in order to constructively criticize the ruling party and ensure that it meets up with deliverables it promised the Liberian people.

Mr. Cummings' comment comes following public concerns as to whether or not he would contest for the Senate in 2020, in order to begin his experience from there as he pursues the presidency through a democratic election.

In a live radio talk show on December 4, 2018, the ANC political leader could not state if he would contest the special senatorial election; however, he said the three collaborating parties -- the Liberty Party (LP), Unity Party (UP) and the ANC are preparing for the 2020 election to ensure that they have an adequate representation in the Senate.

For him, he said being in the Senate may get him not to discuss issues as an opposition politician because he will be in government and his voice may not adequately be heard based on the conduct of the Senate.

Therefore, he said he feels better remaining an opposition to keep watch on the government, to criticize ills and provide solutions than to be in the Senate where some policies and situations will prevent him from doing what he ought to do.

Mr. Cummings noted that from the time the government took office in January this year, he has been commenting on national issues and providing solutions for the government to follow, but the more he and others do, the more the ruling establishment brand them as "enemies of the state."

As an opposition politician and well experienced former world-class business executive, Mr. Cummings indicated that the system of governance here has now cast a dark cloud over the investment prospects of the country.

The ANC political leader, who earlier this year criticized the manner in which two loan agreements (ETON Finance and EBOMAF) with others were arranged, emphasized that unfolding events of recent do not signal good governance and trust in the country.

Among those issues are the missing 16 billion printed Liberian notes; pronounced infusion of US$25 million to mop up liquidity in the Liberian dollar, the controversial impeachment of Justice Kabineh Ja'neh; recently leaked information about bribes at the National Housing Authority (NHA), mounting speculations about tension between the President and the Vice President, and the recent election riot in Montserrado District 13 that left some wounded, with one person reported to have died, though the Liberia National Police later issued a statement that there were no deaths, except serious injuries.

He said the growing tension between the vice president and the president and the one between the Legislature and Judiciary involving Justice Ja'neh, are complete distractions that the government need not give attention to except corruption issues that affect the economy and which have the propensity to undermine the credibility of the government.

Cummings boldly stated that the government is not in the position to fight corruption, neither is there an attempt by government to do so.

On calls for justice that have been trumpeted since the beginning of the year, Mr. Cummings said he is quite convinced that Liberians do need justice, which will bring an end to impunity and foster a healthy reconciliatory process for all Liberians.

Meanwhile, an Executive Mansion press release announced yesterday that President George Manneh Weah has, with immediate effect, suspended the Managing Director of the National Housing Authority (NHA) Mr. Duannah Siryon, Deputy Managing Director for Administration, Mr. Tugbeh C. Tugbeh and Deputy Managing Director for Technical Services, Mr. Isaac Roberts for time indefinite.

The three officials are being investigated in connection with their roles in an alleged act of fraud at the NHA, involving U$92,000 kickback, the release posted at the Executive Mansion website, said. Also, the President has mandated them to turn over all government properties and relevant documents in their possessions.

Authors

Joaquin M. Sendolo

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