The Alternative National Congress political leader Alexander Cummings has warned that the future of Liberia would not be different than it is now if the people do not realize that the country is bleeding with poverty and need a new direction after the 2023 elections.
Cummings added that his warning comes as Liberia becomes vulnerable to different economic shocks and aid-dependency — leaving the vast majority of the people poor despite the fact the country is richer and blessed with resources than some countries that “we beg for money."
The ANC leader noted that Liberia is in a very bad position with a deep hole, but the 2023 presidential and legislative elections present an opportunity for a change — one that will define the country for the generation to come — and if Liberians vote the right way, they will put an end to corruption, marginalization, exclusion, and poverty.
“Next year’s elections are not just another election. It is really a turning point year for our country. The elections in 2023 will define our country for generations to come,” Cummings said. Such defining elections cannot just be about the parties we like, the friendships we have, the desires of our tribes, or the aspiration of our religions.
“The 2023 elections are really about the country we love, a country that desperately needs all of us to rescue it and turn things around for the better. Liberia is hurting. Our country is bleeding. But we have an opportunity and that is in 2023, the time to rescue our county, the time for real change and to end the cycle of poverty,” he added.
He added that the 2023 elections will mark the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement to end the Liberian civil war. Since then, he added, all Liberians have done is sit and complain and accept excuses from leaders who are not working the way they should instead of choosing the direction of the country.
According to Cummings, Liberia is too rich for Liberians to be so poor and this is happening as a result of a lack of honest national leadership, which is manifest in the mismanagement of the country’s vast resources. This includes “giving it away cheaply and selfishly — a situation that is responsible for the sad reality of the poor living conditions too many Liberians continue to face daily.”
“If we do not change, we will continue to be poor, and beg other nations to do for us what we can, and should be doing for ourselves. I know that many of you do not need me to tell you that things are bad in our country. This is because, across tribes, religions, and political parties, Liberians are not living the sad reality of worsening economic hardship every day and everywhere in our country,” he added.
Throwing jabs at President George Weah’s handling of the country, Cummings noted that he is running for President to end Liberia’s bad chapter and change its sad story.
He added that Liberia cannot continue to fall behind because it “will not only lead us into harder times than we are already in, and harder times without solutions will risk our long-term peace and security. We can, and we must do better for our country, our children, and ourselves.”
“Right now, the hole is already very deep. Things are already very bad. The work ahead to take our country out of the Weah government hole is already hard enough. We, therefore, have to stop them, in 2023, from digging any deeper than they already have,” he said.
“For 5 years, President Weah and his government have shown that they do not know what they are doing and that they cannot and will not change. And in those five years, they have broken good things down, made bad things worse, and continue to increase the suffering of the Liberian people.
“For too long in our country, government and governance have been about government officials taking care of themselves by bleeding the country while ordinary people continue to suffer. We have to end this foolishness,” Cummings said.
The ANC political leader stressed that the mindset of just voting for a party’s interest and not that of the country needs to stop, as it continues to keep the government disorganized, incompetent, and corrupt. According to him, such a backward mindset has led to Liberia being counted amongst the most corrupt and poorest in the world, although God has blessed it with abundant natural wealth.
Meanwhile, Cummings has disclosed that the cornerstone of his administration will depend on the idea that the riches of Liberia belong to the people of Liberia and not exclusively to the president, lawmakers, or ministers.
Cummings said his administration, when elected President of Liberia in 2023, will build an accountable system in government and will lead by the required good examples so that others will follow,” We will end the stealing in the government.”
He noted that under his administration, no President, lawmaker, or minister will ever receive more than what is given to a public hospital or school in the national budget, whether such allocations be disguised as “security money” or “president project money.”
“It is unacceptable to me that in the 2022 National Budget, the offices of the President, Vice President, Pro-temp, Speaker, and Deputy Speaker take more money (US$15,470,394) while major hospitals like JFK, Phebe, and School of Nursing, Jackson F. Doe, Redemption all get US$10,731,784,” Cummings declared.
According to him, President Weah likes to excuse himself and his officials for the hardship in the country by blaming the opposition.
“The stealing business in the government is too much. It is embarrassingly turning people away from coming to invest in our country, at a time when we need serious international investors to help us create jobs that will pay decent living wages to our people.
“Many of you will remember President Weah promising that his government would create 50 thousand jobs every year for Liberians, especially for our young people. The President even named his government “Pro-poor” which means that the Weah government would work to lift Liberians from poverty,” Cummings alarmed.