Acceptance speech by Alexander B. Cummings, Standard Bearer, Collaborating Political Parties of Liberia
My Fellow Liberians:
A few months ago, a man, who is himself battling cancer, asked me to run for President. I told him that I was already running. And then he said, “Yeah, but I need you to promise me that you will not give up, and that you will run for my son.” What does your son want me to run for, I asked him. He said, “I think my son and his friend would want you to become president of our country so that no child leaves this world as they did.” I was deeply touched and got to know the heartbreaking story of Allen as he told me that he had lost his son and his son’s friend in a way that no parent should. They were both six years old.
Allen’s son and his friend were playing along the beach. They had walked from their home which was nearby. When the disturbed mother went out in search for them, she found them struggling to breathe on the sand. Screaming for help, and cuddling the boys, she rushed them to the hospital. She had no money on her to register the children. The hospital said they had no oxygen machine and needed to try to get one, but that the worried mother needed to register the boys.
She desperately called the father who she knew had no job but went out to hustle every day to provide for his family. I imagined that she prayed that his hustle on that day was not just for them to eat the next day, but to save the lives of their son and his friend. Allen said he credited from money changers at 25% interest, and ran as fast as he could to the hospital. When he got to the hospital, he met his son’s mother weeping uncontrollably. As she watched, prayed and awaited the father, the mother saw her son and his friend stopped breathing. They were later pronounced dead.
Allen’s family loss is a loss for Liberia. Two six-year old boys who could have one day run for president, or be doctors, or engineers, or teachers, or lawyers died because their parents could not afford the cost of registration in a hospital, which could not afford to treat them because the government is spending more on the president, vice president, speaker, pro-temp and deputy speaker than they are spending on public hospitals and schools. This is not just wrong, it is wicked!
CPP, our mission is to change this wickedness. Our mission is to right this wrong. Our mission is to fix the broken and corrupt system that continues to cause too many of our children and loved ones to leave this world without fulfilling their dreams and potentials.
Allens’s story is the story of many Liberian families all around the country. We can grieve for the two boys, as we should. But grieving alone is not enough to change the living conditions of the suffering Liberian people. Our griefs must move us to change not just people but mindsets. We must not just change political parties, we must also change governing principles.
And yes, we must reward consequences. If anyone chooses to steal from the suffering Liberian people, no matter who you are, we must have no hesitation in choosing to punish them severely. Until we do, we will not stop stealing from hospitals and threatening the lives of ordinary families who cannot afford to travel for treatment abroad.
My people: Liberia’s poverty problem is not a curse by God. God actually loves our country. He has richly blessed us with more natural wealth than He has blessed many nations. And so, Liberians are not suffering because our country is poor. We cannot feed ourselves because our soil is too dry to grow food. People are suffering, and we cannot feed ourselves because our leaders are too corrupt, too wicked, too selfish, and lack vision. I promise you that we will fix the mess. Fixing things da my area.
And so, today, in Gompa, the city which never sleeps, and whose people reminds us of the resilient character and entrepreneurial spirit of Liberians; against the beautiful rolling hills of Nimba that is showing the vast natural wealth and potential of our country, I, Alexander Benedict Cummings, humbly accept the honor of your nomination, to bear the standard of our Collaborating Political Parties in the October Elections, and to be the next President of the Republic of Liberia.
My entire family whose head is my wife of over 40 years, Teresa, who will make a great First Lady, and I are thankful for your trust and confidence. I promise you that I will not let you down. I will not lower the standard and values of the CPP. We will not fail. Together, we will march to victory in October, and we will change Liberia for the better.
My fellow citizens:
To me, the presidency is more than a powerful job. It is a humbling responsibility to set good examples, to demand higher standards for stewardship, and to deliver on promises to the people. The presidency is a responsibility to fix the broken, corrupt and discredited system that continues to keep Liberians poor. The presidency is a responsibility to unite and lead our people to a better, secured, peaceful and more prosperous future. The presidency is a responsibility to return our nation to a place of respect in the international community.
The presidency is not a play-play bisnay, my people. This play-play bisnay has to stop, if the lives of our people will improve. It’s ok to have a singing and dancing president. I myself like to dance sometimes. But when you spend too much time singing and dancing then we need to move you from the mansion and maybe put you in a studio where you actually belong.
My people, the presidency is also not the office one tries to get only to retire. Electing a president who will not work is putting our country on pause. Putting our country on pause is denying our people who are already suffering from getting the help they need to improve their lives. Putting the country on pause will stop serious investors from coming to create high-paying jobs for Liberians. If we reelect play-play, or we choose to pause the future of our country, one thing will surely happen: The hard time people are facing will only get worse.
The CPP is not about play-play or pause-pause. We are about serious work-work. We are about real change. People who have become used to doing the wrong things for so long will not understand why we are determined to do the right things the right way. But we are leaders and will not follow the wrong things even if it is easy to do. This is why, in January of next year, we will begin the hard work to fix our country. Liberia deserves better, my people. The time for Real Change through hard work, honesty, integrity and principled leadership has come.
From the rolling hills of Nimba to the Wologisi in Lofa; from Cape Mount to Cape Palmas; all across the length and breadth of our dear Liberia, let the word go forth: The CPP is ready. I am ready!
We are ready to change store boys to store owners. We are ready to raise waiter markets to shops and transform shops to stores.
We are ready to graduate yana boys and yana girls to business leaders and tycoons. We are ready to give Liberian businesses, especially Liberian women businesses, the chance and resources they need to succeed.
We are ready to change the hopelessness and lawlessness of today into the hopefulness and lawfulness of tomorrow. We are ready to change high unemployment to high employment. You cut people pay while the cost of living is going up; we are ready to raise people pay and bring the cost of living down.
We are ready to fix what you have spoiled. We are ready to lead Liberia differently, accountably and honestly to a new future of equality and prosperity for all.
Finally, my people, our country is in a deep hole. Too many families are carrying way too much burdens than they can bear alone. Drugs and crimes have overtaken our streets and communities. Too many people are jobless. Too many people need to be helped. But we did not get here, today, by accident. A past of corruption, marginalization, division and the lack of responsible leadership, which has been worsened under the Weah administration, brought us to our current difficulties. Today, we are living in the future we built years ago. This is why, we cannot continue to go backward pretending to ourselves that by doing so, we will somehow arrive in a new and different future. It really doesn't matter how hopeful you may be, walking the same road every time will only take you to the same destination.
Just as we cannot bring Allen’s son and his friend back, we cannot also change our past. But today, I promise you that together, we can recreate a new future. In that future, rather than tears of sorrows for children dying from preventable and treatable illnesses, fathers and mothers will greet each other with tears of joy as they get to be told by doctors and nurses that their children made it through complicated surgeries involving modern medical equipment to be found anywhere in the world, right here in Liberia.
Today, I promise you that in that future, six years old boys and girls will grow in the safety and protection reserved for children to live out the fullness of their earthly journeys.
Today, I promise you that in that future, our little boys and little girls will attend schools that will inspire them to dream big dreams, and to realize their dreams, if they are willing to work hard to achieve it. I promise you that in that new future children will grow into adulthood and to have their own children, as they can, to extend the lives of their families, as God designed our cycle of life to be.
My dear CPP, as we bring our convention to a successful close, never forget that we have gathered because of the future of our country — for the future of all Liberian children, for all Liberian mothers and fathers, and for all single parents who are doing their best to see their children live better lives. It is for all Liberians that I accept to run for the presidency of our country.
I know that Liberia is too rich for so many to be jobless, beggars and hopeless. Liberia is too rich for families to go to bed hungry. We will change this wickedness. It will not happen overnight, but I promise you that together, we will fix the mess.
If not us, then who? If not now, then when?
Thank you CPP. Thank you Nimba. May God bless and protect you on our way to victory for the Liberian people!