Cummings Questions CPP Readiness to Lead

Alexander Cummings: “The CPP must do better. Liberia deserves better. If CPP cannot be the change the Liberian people seek, then we do not deserve to lead the country.”

The Collaborating Political Parties has come under fierce criticism from the political leader of the Alternative National Congress Alexander Cummings who thinks that the repeated violation of the CPP framework agreement raises lots of questions about its ability to lead the country lawfully.

In the last few days, Cummings has gone to great lengths to rebuke other CPP constituent party leaders for repetitive violations of the Framework Documents rules.

But Cummings’ claims have been countered with accusations of him having tampered with the framework by the other political leaders in the CPP, including former Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai of the Unity Party, Benoni Wilfred Urey, political leader, All Liberian Party and Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence of the Liberty Party.

However, Cummings seems resolute on calling out his colleagues over violation of the CPP agreement, even if that will cause him the presidency. He vows to remain skeptical, firmly challenging the CPP to obey the rule of law if the Collaboration should succeed against President George Weah in the 2023 presidential elections.

“How can we be trusted to obey the laws of the country when we cannot obey the CPP Framework Agreement? Breaking laws have real consequences just as real change is a deep commitment to be different,” Cummings wonders. “The CPP must do better. Liberia deserves better. If CPP cannot be the change the Liberian people seek, then we do not deserve to lead the country.” 

"Either we believe in what we agree to stand for, or we don’t. We simply cannot have it both ways. To change our country, we must choose, as hard as it sometimes will be, not to stand, even with friends, when we know they are wrong. I have made my choice, and it is to stand with anyone who is trying to stand right. I know I will have to stand alone sometimes or anger some friends and allies by doing so. This, too, is a price I am willing to pay for the change I believe we must make to better our country," Cummings noted.

Although Cummings had promised not to quit the CPP, he, however, called on his good friends in the CPP to work for the true idea of giving Liberia a better leadership, should the opportunity come after the elections in 2023, which called for respect of the rule of law, first stating with the actions.

“A wrong is wrong regardless of who commits it, including me. Recognizing and correcting a wrong is not a weakness. It is an attribute of leadership, and is honorable,” the ANC political leader said. “Doubling down on wrongs is dishonorable and a product of undemocratic leadership. Either we believe in what we agree to stand for, or we don’t. We simply cannot have it both ways.”

At a press conference held yesterday at his party’s headquarters in Monrovia, Cummings argued that while it is true that President Weah is performing poorly, for which the need exists for a better option to succeed him, it will be worthless doing so if the opposition is found to be repeating the same mistakes.

He continued: “We owe the Liberian people an obligation to do things differently; to be better than this government. If not, how are we the alternative?” 

His statement added “Change is hard. Real change is even harder. It will not make everyone happy at the same time because some are too used to the old ways of doing things. Real change is giving the country a new chance to become better. Real change is not just saying the right things, but doing the right things the right way.”

CPP Problems

Internal wrangling has long been ongoing in the CPP, presenting itself as the only alternative to succeed and correct the alleged ills perpetrated by the Weah administration. It can be recalled that Cummings rejected his colleagues' decision that Sen. Karnga Lawrence, the outgoing chairperson of the CPP, should continue for an additional one month into the term that should be taken over by Mr. Boakai. 

Sen. Lawrence, whose tenure as CPP chair expires on October 1, 2021, was granted an extension by the four political leaders of the CPP, including Cummings, during a meeting at a resort in Monrovia.  However, Cummings, who had agreed to the extension a day earlier, wrote Sen. Karnga Lawrence, rejecting her stay at the helm of the CPP beyond October 1 and calling on her to avoid setting a dangerous precedent.

Cummings argued that the eight months allotted to any political leader within the CPP to lead has expired and it is time for Boakai to take the chairmanship, a mandate which Boakai appears to have forfeited. But the UP political leader and Urey said it will be better for Senator Lawrence, the political leader of the Liberty Party (LP), to continue chairing the CPP, leading to the determination of a standard-bearer for the Collaboration because she is not contesting the primaries for the role.

Boakai has the backing of Benoni Urey, political leader of the All Liberian Party (ALP), and it appears that the LP leader may also be content with steering the affairs of the CPP for a while in Boakai's stead.

Cummings has condemned their action, terming it as a blatant violation of the rule of law that has brought them together as a unit. The following day, September 10, he walked out of a leadership meeting with his colleagues from CPP, in Protest against repeated violations of the framework agreement.

Such action, according to Cummings, was deemed necessary after he failed to get his colleagues to self-correct and reverse their course of action in extending Sen. Karnga-Lawrence tenured. Citing violation of the CPP Framework, he turned down an invitation to attend the Unity Party endorsement of Ambassador Boakai as its candidate for the CPP standard–bearer position, held on September 11th.

In his letter, addressed to Amin Modad, Chairman of the UP, Cummings said the UP action to derive an aspirant for the CPP standard bearer position through a process outside of a national convention falls short of the core values of the CPP as stated in Section 3.1.2, “Good governance; including in particular, inclusiveness, participation, accountability, and transparency.

‘Criticizing Weah’

Meanwhile, Cummings has said that it is not enough to criticize the government, as they do in the CPP, but the CPP leaders should also demonstrate that the CPP is a better alternative by holding themselves “to a higher standard of democratic leadership and accountability.” 

Cummings, who claimed that Liberia is in free-fall under President Weah, noted that he did not enter politics to see things remain the same in Liberia but to manage change. He added that, though he is not perfect, he is also not willing to align with anyone who wants to see Liberia remain down as “people are suffering in the country and the onus is upon the CPP to redeem the masses who are in desperate need of real change.”

"I can only hope that this internal crisis if it is one, will provide the CPP much-needed space for reflection on how we better position ourselves to respond to the needs of our people for real change. It is not enough that we criticize the government, as we rightly should, but also that we continue to demonstrate that the CPP is a better alternative by holding ourselves to a higher standard of democratic leadership and accountability," Cummings added.

He added that "the membership of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), and my own participation in the CPP, impose an obligation to help to keep the CPP’s actions within the framework of its agreement. Of course, my preference is not to commit a wrong, but where it is brought to my attention, with supporting evidence, that I participated in the commission of violations to the Framework Agreement by our decisions to extend the tenure of the Chair and constitute an Investigative Committee, it becomes my duty, as a democratic leader, to ensure the wrong is corrected, and the illegal action reversed. "