Monrovia — The National Youth Congress of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) has termed as a complete "mockery" to President George Manneh Weah and a "display of childishness", a call made by the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel McGill, to hold a debate with CPP's Chairman, Alexander Benedict Cummings, on the governance and achievements of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led-government.
The CPP is a political alliance that comprises of four opposition political parties, including the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Liberty Party (LP), All Liberian Party and the former ruling Unity Party (UP).
Speaking in an interview with Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) TV recently, Minister McGill challenged Mr. Cummings to a debate.
"I want to challenge the opposition chairperson to a debate. Let's go to a debate; let's be very civil, respect each other, let's go to debate. It's an open challenge to Mr. Cummings to a debate on the president's performance, and let's discuss," said Minister McGill.
The minister continued: "He must bring no paper. He must not let anybody to write for him. I want to challenge his IQ on governance. I ain't say he must bring Coca Cola trade. I'm talking about running the government. Because you not sit in the chair, you not understand how to run the government, you just talk. Some of the things he talking, he thinks that small children talk! He thinks to run government is to sit down in one corporate office? We talking about real politics where you confronted with people's problems.
"We not talking about corporate problem where you just make decision, bossman tell you say do this, people run to Coca Cola factory, everything happening, you not part of the manufacturing, other people doing production you just sitting down there... when you ask how many money they make the people give it to you."
But reacting to the latest challenge proffered to Mr. Cummings by the former Chairman of the governing CDC at a news conference held in Monrovia Tuesday, August 18, the National Youth Congress of the CPP, through its Chairman, James P. Morris, claimed that the challenge is a "huge mockery" to the Liberian Chief Executive who boycotted numerous debates during the campaign period of the 2017 general and presidential elections.
President Weah, on two consecutive times, boycotted separate debates organized by the Deepening Democracy Coalition (DDC), which was made up of the Liberia Media Center (LMC), Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding, Press Union of Liberia (PUL), Center for Transparency and Accountability (CENTAL), Angie Brooks International Center and the Liberia Women Media Action Committee.
The debates were held at the Paynesville City Corporation, outside Monrovia.
At the time, hierarchies of the ruling party and supporters of President Weah defended his decision to stay away from presidential debates on grounds that "debates have not help to move Liberia forward; debates cannot win elections", amongst others.
"The Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, one of the ringleaders in George Weah's criminal enterprise, Nathaniel McGill, held another comical show in which he threw out a challenge to debate with an economist par excellence and leader of the largest opposition block in Liberia, Papa Alexander Cummings, on governance and his boss George Weah's performance. What a huge mockery he is making of his boss who escaped all the debates organized by independent and local organizations during the conduct of the 2017 Presidential and Representative Elections" the CPP National Youth Congress stated.
The group ruled out any possibility of Mr. Cummings submitting himself for a debate with Minister McGill, but encouraged him to debate another staunch partisan of the CPP, instead of their Chairman.
"If Weah's office boy truly wants to debate, we gladly accept his challenge and urge him to go beyond loud talking and come with readily available facts. The debate will be between him and the Chief of Staff in the office of our Political Leader, Atty. Moriah Yeakula.
Atty. Yeakula, is a proud graduate of the nation's premier law school, the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, and is scholastically a practicing lawyer and a leading voice for girls and women empowerment".
The CPP Youth Congress called for the debate between Minister McGill and Atty. Yeakula to be organized by international partners with a focus on "governance, Covid 19 response, healthcare delivery, infrastructure development, leadership deficit in the country, rampant corruption",
Increase in pandemics
"Today the Indomitable National Youth Congress of the mass-based Alternative National Congress has statistically discovered that the number of pandemics in Liberia has sharply increased from three to five. In addition to the Rape Pandemic, the poverty Pandemic and the Covid 19 Pandemic, we now have a leadership deficit Pandemic and a Rampant Corruption Pandemic (RCP). Simply put, we have a government that is headless!"
Lack of leadership and maturity
The call made by Minister McGill comes in the wake of mountainous challenges, including economic constraints, extreme poverty, and lack of access to basic social services, amongst others, vast majority of Liberians are currently faced with.
The CPP Youth Congress alarmed over the habit of some government officials, who they did not name, to continue to show their lack of understanding of governance by engaging into the "constant display of childishness".
"In the midst of mounting economic challenges in our country, as the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and other pandemics mentioned earlier ravages through the livelihood of largely poor and marginalized Liberians under the leadership of a thoughtless and reckless government, officials of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) are further exposing their lack of understanding of governance by their constant display of childishness, while the country has stopped progressing and taken a backward trend for nearly three years"
"What compounds our problem is that this lack of leadership and immature overtures sadly begins with President Weah and extends to all Coalition for Democratic Change executives both in and out of government. Indeed, we are in dreadful times! A time when the president still lives wastefully and spends millions he acquires daily through dubious and questionable means on his personal projects. In fact, he goes around town merrymaking while our people are grappling with the despicable effect of Covid-19, Rape, Arm robbery, poverty and an ever-increasing absence of leadership".
According to them, Liberia is "gradually slipping back into the era of the civil conflict and Liberians are gradually becoming a laughingstock amongst the comity of nations in the sub-region".
The group indicated that while other countries in the West African region are making tremendous strives to take their people from poverty and ensure they live in better and improved communities, the CDC led-government remains predominantly focused on getting most of its supporters elected to the Liberian Senate on December 8, 2020.
"Even though the government repeatedly complains about the lack of funds to effectively address poverty that has increased astronomically, since Weah became president, because corruption is thriving and it is having a romantic affair with the CDC-led government, sitting representative candidates for the ruling party in several counties"
The CPP Youth Congress further urged citizens to cast their votes to ensure the full independence of the National Legislature during the ensuing senatorial election.
"We want to urge you to reject anyone being supported by this government to ensure that we have an independent Legislature. What impact can a CDC senator make that the President cannot do currently? Reject Weah and his people if you want to change the backward trend our country has taken".
Call on Weah
The group, however, called on President Weah to responsibly "conduct the duties constitutionally assigned to the Liberian presidency".
They maintained that the Liberian leader should bring an "immediate halt to the acquisition of questionable wealth all over the country".
"The nearly three years of unchecked looting of public funds must stop this moment. The CDC-led government must begin to work assiduously to unify our country and people. The anti-peace rhetoric and threats of violence against members of the Liberian opposition will only serve to further undermine the gains we made collectively under the previous governments".