“The CDC-led government lacks accountability and as such, the country’s vast natural resources are not benefiting the majority of the people and the country in general. And conditions under President Weah’s rule are becoming worse,” — Dr. Toga G. McIntosh.
A top gun of President George Weah's ruling Coalition for Democratic Change, Dr. Toga Gayewea McIntosh, has disclosed that the President has failed the Liberian people and is not worthy of being reelected.
McIntosh, a seasoned political strategist who has been involved in Liberian politics for decades, has become the first major ruling party stalwart to publicly back one of the President's rivals — Alexander B. Cummings of the Alternative National Congress — ahead of the 2023 presidential and legislative elections.
His loss wound is a major blow for the CDC and its governing Governing Council -- as he was a strategist who helped play a vital role behind the scene in shaping the campaign message that got Weah elected in 2017 while serving as a key advisor.
In endorsing Cummings, McIntosh reminded Liberians that the Weah government had dragged the country to its knees during the previous four and a half years, while rendering the country technically bankrupt in numerous sectors, especially the economy — and making the promised hope an “illusory hope”.
“My assessment of the presidential candidates shows that Cummings has most of all that it takes to adequately serve as captain of a well-prepared team to save our dear country, out of the doldrums of the woes and depression we are experiencing today,” he said of Cummings in his endorsement statement. “What is needed to get us out of this deplorable situation is a new and higher level of international and domestic confidence in Liberia that will lead to renewed investments, and respectability to begin the process of revitalization, growth, and sustained development.”
“The CDC-led government lacks accountability and, as such, the country’s vast natural resources are not benefiting the majority of the people and the country in general. And conditions under President Weah’s rule are becoming worse. It is against this conviction that I, [Dr. ]Toga Gayewea McIntosh, do hereby, through this platform, publicly endorse the presidential bid of candidate Cummings of the ANC and pledge my support in the real change revolution,” he declared.
With Cummings, he argued, the country will be in the hands of someone who brings to the table wealth of administrative and managerial experiences — a skill set needed to lift Liberians out of abject poverty and “take the country off the slope of underdevelopment.”
McIntosh added that Cummings has exhibited “uncommon wisdom, remarkable vision, and exemplary and purposeful leadership to bring about real change that would liberate Liberia and her people from the current strangulation.
“Liberians were yearning for change and flocked behind the movement of [Weah’s] ‘Change for Hope’ [political mantra] during the campaign. They demonstrated their burning desire at the polls, registering a landslide victory for the CDC. Elections are far gone, and the promise has become a lost hope.
“Now is the time for our people and country to experience real and positive change, and I do believe that [Cummings] can be our successful captain.”
Meanwhile, the former Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs under the reign of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is yet to resign from the Liberian People Democratic Party, one of the three constituent parties of the governing Coalition for Democratic Change — but has communicated with his party to “withdraw [me] from the ruling Coalition’s highest decision-making body -- the Governance Council.”
He became a member of Weah’s coalition after a fallout with his party, the former ruling Unity Party in 2017, which he accused of flouting democratic principles when it decided to select former Vice President Joseph Boakai as the party standard bearer for that year's election.
“[I am] not parting company with [my] party, a constituent political party of the CDC but, as an individual, I have selected to support Cummings rather than Weah who will be seeking a second six-year term.
“[I have ] formally communicated with the party to withdraw his membership from the ruling CDC governance council.”
While McIntosh may not necessarily be the typical vote-rich character, he is an individual who has circled the summit of public life as a seasoned technocrat and policy expert — a skill set that every politician needs.
He was instrumental in the crafting of former President Sirleaf’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) which was very ambitious and hailed as one of the best national plans in the history of Liberia. The current Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development of Weah is modeled after the PRS.
He once served as Vice President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for four years, where he coordinated the work of 13 Commissioners that were engaged in overseeing development work for the 15 member countries in West Africa.
On the national stage, he served in various technical, administrative, professional, and managerial positions for a total of 26 years — five of those years serving successively as Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs, and Minister of Foreign Affairs for Liberia.
On the international stage, McIntosh was Executive Director for two years, representing 22 African countries on the Board of the World Bank Group. He also worked for nearly ten years as a Senior Economic Officer at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), advising African governments and building senior-level staffing capacities for the better management of their development agendas.
And before he endorsed Cummings, he snubbed Weah’s nomination of him to head the Governance Commission, saying that the snub was based upon several factors, including the need to protect and uphold the Act that created the Governance Commission.
He further accused Weah of making the appointment without consulting him — only having heard about it after the President made the announcement. This was in May 2022.
On Cummings, who he promised to campaign and vote for in 2023, McIntosh said that the politician has proven and shown the spirit of hard work, commitment to duty, and a clear vision to lead the charge for Liberia to recover all the lost years that the country has experienced.
He added that Cummings’ consistency in the contents of his policy statements made over the past months has encouraged him (McIntosh) to reach this critical decision, making Cummings the man who can rescue the country — an opportunity that Liberians now have come their way in 2023.
“The future of our country is not buried in its past. Traveling the same road will never lead us to a new destination. Putting love of party over love for country will continue to see our country and our people suffer. To lift our country, and end the sufferings of our people, we must change. Change is hard, but continuing as we are doing to ourselves, or going backward, will only make our problems worse.
“We do not need to resign our country into being considered amongst the poorest, most corrupt, and dirtiest in the world. Liberians are proud people and do not deserve to be so poor with children sitting on dirt floors or standing under leaking roofs to learn; public hospitals in dire need of beds, medicines, modern equipment, and even the basics such as fuel oil to run a generator.”