By C.Y. Kwanue
The opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC) has clarified that its standard bearer Alexander B. Cummings’ candidacy for the office of the president is in no way impacted by the Code of Conduct (COC) Act of 2014.
ANC Chairman Layfette Gould told a news conference on Tuesday that amid the Supreme Court ruling on Friday, March 3 in the case: Selena Mappy-Polson v. The Government of Liberia, there has been several false reports and rumors about Mr. Cummings’ ineligibility to contest in the October Presidential and Legislative elections.
On Friday, March 3, three of the five justices of the Supreme Court favored the 2014 National Code of Conduct Act with the remaining two going against the ruling.
The three reached their decision with reference to Part V sections 5.1 of the Code of Conduct that states that “(a) Any Minister, Deputy Minister, Director-General, Managing Director and Superintendent appointed by the President pursuant to article 56 (a) of the Constitution and a Managing Director appointed by a Board of Directors who desires to contest for public elective office shall resign said post at least two (2) years prior to the date of such public elections and any other official appointed by the President who holds a tenured position and desires to contest for public elective office shall resign said post three (3) years prior to the date of such public elections.”
Mr. Cummings in March last year was appointed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to the BWI Board with the Ministries of Agriculture, Finance and Development Planning, Youth and Sports. Mr. Cummings did not resign his position up to the time he became the standard bearer of the ANC.
Mr. Gould said that appointment did not in any way suggest that such “a person is working for the government and should therefore be barred from contesting the upcoming elections in accordance the COC.”
Gould denied Cummings has ever worked for the Liberian government in any capacity up to the present, but said his affiliation with the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) in Kakata, Margibi County, was to help the institute improve its learning capacity.
He said the Political Leader of the ANC is in full compliance with the law and all National Elections Commission (NEC) regulations.
The ANC meanwhile assured its many members and sympathizers that its standard bearer, Alexander B. Cummings, will contest the October presidential and Legislative elections.
The party also refuted claims elsewhere that Mr. Cummings is an American citizen, arguing that an American citizen does not carry a Liberian passport, and neither registers as an eligible voter in any country, especially in Liberia.
On Tuesday, March 7, another opposition party, Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE), whose standard bearer Dr. J. Mills Jones was widely mentioned by news reports, even though he was not mentioned in the Supreme Court’s decision when it was announced, said political surrogates and detractors were responsible for the false interpretation of the ruling.
“The detractors are insinuating that the political leader and standard bearer of MOVEE will be stopped from contesting the presidency in the ensuing presidential elections in October as a result of the High Court ruling on the COC,” he said.