The political leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Alexander B. Cummings, has described Liberia as a country that has lost its moral compass toward prosperity.
According to Mr. Cummings, despite the resilience, tenacity and hard work, the conditions Liberians are living through do not reflect the age of our country, as Liberians continue to be onlookers and bystanders to their development.
“Despite the resilience, tenacity and hard work, the conditions Liberians are living through do not reflect the age of our country. We have not managed ourselves and our resources as well as we could,” Cummings said.
These thoughts were expressed in a special pre-independence day message on Thursday, July 22, at the headquarters of the ANC in Monrovia.
He added that since the Declaration of Independence, Liberia has not only lost its way, but has not invested in improving systems and processes for continued democratic governance, and guaranteeing Liberia remains an independent and inclusively developed nation.
He then lamented that it pains him to see too many Liberians, after 174 years of independence, living in worsening conditions without any hope of prosperity, with the unemployment rate increasing daily, making it difficult for people to care for their families.
“At 174, Liberia is in a difficult place, regardless of whom we prefer to blame. The truth is that we are all in serious trouble. Common and treatable illnesses continue to kill too many of our women and children. We are losing too many to the inadequacies and lapses of a broken system every day,” he said.
“God has blessed Liberia with an abundance of natural wealth. Yet, at 174 years, we continue to beg for budgetary support, including from nations far less endowed than we are, and whose public officials and legislators are paid way less than ours. We are so rich, and yet, we are so poor,” the ANC Political leader said.
“Too many are suffering with more than half of the population living on less than US$1.25 a day,” Cummings noted. “And at least 7 out of every 10 Liberians in urban areas lack access to improved water, improved sanitation, sufficient living space, or housing durability.”
Cummings described it as shameful that the country can still not feed itself; and a total disgrace for honesty in public service to be viewed as naivety, while, at the same time, allowing politics to be about tribes or religions. He blamed the government’s lack of independence, sycophancy, as well as systemic and leadership failures in transparency and accountability as some of the problems that continue to keep Liberia at a standstill and backward.
All of our tribes and experiences make us Liberians, and must never be used to divide us,” he said. “Instead, our politics must be about ideas -- ideas to improve and empower Liberians, ideas to build our country and manage our wealth better, and ideas to finally end the things that have continued to keep us down and backward.”
“It is a national shame that we have fallen so far behind other nations we assisted and inspired toward independence,” the politician said.
Meanwhile, Cummings has expressed hope of a better future despite the shameful and disgraceful state in which the country finds itself.
“I know we cannot change our past, but we can create our future.”
However, he said for such change to come, the people will have to adopt the mindset that put the country in such a situation, that involves adopting a new national perspective that Liberia belongs to all Liberians.
“All Liberians, therefore, owe a duty to the country to be good citizens -- to work as hard and as honestly as we can to make Liberia better for ourselves and for our children. Good citizens do not steal from the people. Good citizens do not deceive the people,” Cummings noted.
Cummings also warned that there are no shortcuts to success, irrespective of a tribe, family name, the name of the village or city in which a Liberian is born, or the choice of one’s religion. Success in Liberia must come to belong to every Liberian who is willing and ready to work as hard as they can to achieve success, he stressed.
He noted that too often, Liberians have wanted change, but have let themselves be frightened by the hard work required to get the changes they seek by compromising easily, rather than setting good precedence and examples.
“Unfortunately, as we have continued to settle for the easier road and look for the shortest cuts, change has never happened; promises of change have been repeatedly broken, and doubts about change ever happening now overwhelm us. We are overtaken by negative self-fulfilling prophecies looking to give up when we should be standing up. In our national conversations, I hear echoes about what we cannot do instead of what we can, must, and should be doing,” Cummings noted.