Mr. Alexander Cummings, who recently resigned his post as the Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Office of Coca Cola to seek political office, has confessed to a gathering of Diaspora Liberians in the United States that he carries a US passport because he is a naturalized American citizen.
Mr. Cummings made the admission in September when he addressed a town hall gathering of Diaspora Liberians in the US state of Minnesota, where he revealed that he carries American passport, and insisted that he is a Liberian.
Cummings’ admittance that he holds a US passport may spark resistance from civic groups and ordinary Liberians that would question his eligibility to participate in the 2017 Presidential elections, the country’s highest office reserved for Liberians who have not sworn alliance to another nation.
The Liberian constitution and election laws only allow Liberian citizens to participate in an election for public office and, as a result, Mr. Cummings will not be able to contest. That is, until he renounces his American citizenship and gets his Liberian citizenship reinstated.
Though it is strongly held that several government officials in the current government hold foreign citizenships, it has been difficult to establish who has and who does not have. So by his open admittance of holding a US citizenship, Mr. Cummings does not meet the requirement to hold public office.
“Cummings lost his Liberian citizenship by naturalizing as an American citizen,” an Immigration official told the Daily Observer in an interview last night. Liberians are edgy at Liberians who hold other nationalities to hold office due to the country’s experience of corrupt officials who seem to enjoy and work to support families abroad, while Liberia remains undeveloped.
With bad road network throughout the country and poor transportation system; inadequate electricity supply and an economy that is in the hands of foreign businesses, many Liberians are not comfortable to entrust the future of the country into the hands of former Liberians, or Liberians with dual nationalities, many Liberians interviewed yesterday concurred.
Another case was the Ellen Corkrum saga, a Liberian who naturalized as an American citizen and sneaked into the country, got a top job at the Liberia Airport Authority, and reportedly made some decisions that caused Liberia in incredible amount of embarrassment, before she absconded to her adopted country, the United States, away from prosecution.
Ms. Corkrum also was able to get several government officials to make ‘poor and embarrassing’ admittance about their relationship with President Sirleaf.
“If she were a Liberian citizen,” said someone who spoke to the Daily Observer, “she could have been brought back to Liberia to face prosecution for the loss and embarrassment she caused the country.”
Reports from Minnesota indicated that many Diaspora Liberians applauded Mr. Cummings honesty for coming out clean with his current status, but many others stated that such transparency might slim his chances.
“It would be an uphill battle for him to conquer,” one said.