Liberia: “The Joke Is On Cummings”

Minister of Information, Ledgerhood Rennie (left) and the opposition Collaborating Political Party (CPP), leader Alexander B. Cummings,

.... Says President George Weah Information Minister Rennie as he described the CPP political leader as a joker for the fact that he (Cummings) does not see anything positive happening since the inception of the Weah administration.

The government of Liberia has sharply reacted to the political leader of the opposition Collaborating Political Party (CPP), leader Alexander B. Cummings, for his damning reactions to President George Weah's latest State of the Nation’s Address (SONA).

A practically enraged Minister of Information, Ledgerhood Rennie, at a press conference in Monrovia on Wednesday, frowned on the blind eye that opposition leaders in the country, especially Cummings, are playing to the great strides the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) government is making developmentally. 

Rennie described the CPP political leader as a joker for the fact that he (Cummings) does not see anything positive happening since the inception of the Weah administration.

“The fact that we are here sitting in a peaceful atmosphere and tranquility shows that the Weah-led administration has done something to maintain peace for five years without UN troops on the ground,” the Information Minister said.  

Rennie’s outburst was provoked by Cummings’ stinging reaction to the President’s 6th and final SONA of his current term.

At a press conference on Tuesday, the CPP leader, who is a fierce critic of the President, noted that unless Liberians vote out Weah, the country is doomed to sink deeper into poverty, with more suffering, stealing and wasteful spending of public resources.

He noted that Weah's five years of rule has rendered Liberia weak, with no jobs, broken promises, while dumping Liberia in a deep hole with nearly “US$1 billion borrowed” and spent mostly among themselves.

“In the last six years, too many dreams have been shattered, too many hopes dashed, too many promises broken, too many lives lost mysteriously, while too many families continue to grieve and are hurt with no hope of closure for the deaths of loved ones, some of whom were breadwinners for the family,” Cummings said.

“It is frustrating that even after graduation, Liberians cannot find jobs, amidst broken promises by the President of creating one million jobs,” he added, “while the President's six-year rule dashed the hopes of Liberian businesses, not only making them spectators to their own economy, but threw them outside the stadium.”

He said under Weah, too many young people have continued to be at risk and have lost their future to drugs and crimes, while Liberian businesses continue to unfairly struggle and many are denied opportunities and left to suffer.

But during a panel discussion with radio talk show hosts held on Wednesday, Minister Rennie described it as, “shameful that Mr. Cummings and his likes chose to react the way they did to the SONA. It seems to me that the country is divided into two. Because from where we sit, we see progress while they in the opposition see nothing. The initial argument we heard around here before the ascendency of President Weah was that he was incapable of maintaining peace and security. But here we are, the country has been peaceful throughout his reign.”

“So, it is shameful and pitiful for Mr. Cummings to say the President is joking. I think the joke is on him. What has he done for Liberia? Rennie blasted with a rhetorical question.

“Do you have to be president before you help your people? No, it doesn’t have to be. So, when somebody says the President is joking, I think the joke is on him because he refused to see the progress that this President has made in his administration over the last five years of his tenure. What are you talking about?” 

On the issues of stable electricity, Rennie assured Liberians that the Government of Liberia will do everything possible to ensure that they don’t experience power outages for a long period of time as was done in previous years. 

He said the government is doing everything possible to bring long lasting solutions to the country’s energy sector. 

Rennie also revealed that the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Liberia Electricity (LEC), Monie R. Captan, has signed a US$96 million agreement in Sierra Leone to construct an additional 20 megawatts solar energy system to enhance the Mount Coffee Hydro Power Plant to address power shortages in the country.

He added that although the LEC is currently doing load shedding across the country because of the dry season, it is on a moderate level where people will be out of power in a particular locale for at most five hours.

“I can say for sure that the load shedding you suffered 12 months ago, you will not suffer this year,” the spokesman of the Government of Liberia stated.

However, Rennie attributed the issue of load shedding to the number of households that have been recently connected to the electrical grid.

“On the issue of the LEC and load shedding, we inherited about 49,000 households but we have added about 150,000 people or households connected on the grid,” Minister Rennie noted.

He emphasized that the 27 megawatts power that was purchased through the CLSG line has led to more people being connected on the electrical grid.

The official spokesman of the Liberian Government further stated that the LEC did approach its partners in Ivory Coast to beef up the 27 megawatts power that was initially purchased by Liberia, but lamented that the partners turned the request down on grounds that there was no available power.

Meanwhile, the MICAT boss stated that despite all of the above difficulties being experienced by the country's energy sector, works are in progress to address the issue.

He indicated that the country is gradually making progress in the sector, citing that some Liberians are now thanking God in their respective areas about the availability and affordability of power.

Minister Rennie recalled a time in the history of the country when community members would block roads and burn tires because of the lack of electricity which, according to him, is not the case now.

He maintained that today, other areas have been connected to the grid through the Monrovia consolidation program, where transmission and distribution are making progress.