‘Let the Lady Lead’

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Madam Edith Gongloe Weh will lead the CPP's foray in the Nimba Senatorial mid-term election in December.

“I am mostly concerned about saving Liberia by keeping the CPP together,” Cummings said, endorsing Edith Gongloe Weh’s Nimba Senatorial Bid.

It is no secret that the violence that ensued from the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) primary on September 6, 2020 and the reported attending flaws that characterized the process emitted a sense of utter dysfunction in the opposition conglomeration. What should have been a moment of celebration for for the biggest opposition bloc to produce a strong female candidate in the vote-rich county ended up in a bitter war of words that many described as downright distasteful. After much venting and weeks of standstill with no sign of a compromise, the Alternative National Congress, whose prized candidate, Taa Wongbe, was bested by the Liberty Party’s Edith Gongloe Weh, has conceded to let the lady lead the CPP’s effort in Nimba in the December 8 Senatorial polls.

“I, Alexander B. Cummings, have agreed to let Edith Gongloe-Weh represent the CPP in Nimba. This will ensure that we have candidates in each of our 15 counties in the upcoming elections, that the CPP and especially ANC is committed to women empowerment and increase of female representation,” Mr. Cummings said in a release on Saturday.

He noted that his candidate, Taa Wongbe, has agreed to subordinate his ambition to that of the Liberian people and the CPP as the ANC joins the other three constituent parties, UP, LP and ALP to carry the former Nimba County superintendent on the ticket of the coalition.

The ANC political leader had initially rejected the outcome of the Nimba primary, noting that it was characterized by frauds and violence. He described the situation as “disheartening” in his initial response to the violence and the winning result achieved by Madam Gongloe-Weh.

“We, as the CPP, cannot claim to be different and act the same. Violence is never the solution and will not be the solution in the CPP. We cannot conduct ourselves in such a manner and expect to win the confidence of the Liberian people. We must do things differently,” he said in a social media post. He added, “As I consistently say and quote, ‘we can’t keep doing the same things and expect different results.’ What happened in Nimba reflects exactly that – doing the same old things the same old ways and expecting different results.

Mr. Cummings stated that everyone deserved to be given a chance to participate in the primary process in a safe, free, and fair environment — a chance he believed was not accorded the ANC candidate, Wongbe.

Sacrifices

Call it what you want — clear-hearted or costive — the endorsement of Madam Weh by Mr. Cummings, who is also the chairman of the CPP, aims to restore hope in the opposition movement. His decision to endorse the Liberty Party candidate, he explains, comes out of the desire to save Liberia and keep the CPP on a unified front for more meaningful and realistic ventures.

“As Political Leader of the both the CPP and the ANC, I am mostly concerned about saving Liberia by keeping the CPP together and redirecting our energies toward our real challenge — the corrupt and inept leadership of our Country, while being mindful of the special political interest of the ANC,” he said. “There comes a time when leaders must make sacrifices, devoid of selfish political motives, for the common good of a country and people. I recognize that this is not an ideal situation and is tough.”

He said stakeholders must be willing to make compromises to keep the CPP together and strong. “I am therefore grateful that Taa Wongbe of the ANC has agreed with me and consented to put Liberia above ourselves and make the sacrifice while he makes decisions on his next steps. Under this circumstance, I, Alexander B. Cummings, have agreed to let Edith Gongloe-Weh represent the CPP in Nimba. This will ensure that we have candidates in each of our 15 counties in the upcoming elections, that the CPP and especially ANC is committed to women empowerment and increase of female representation.”

He warned members of the other constituent parties of the CPP that the ANC’s numerous compromises on many occasions within the coalition should not be construed as a sign of weakness, but a determination to keep Liberia’s opposition together, despite attempts to break it apart.

“We are committed to redeeming Liberia through a united fight against the CDC. To our partisans in the ANC, we have made several compromises in the interest of keeping the CPP together, and in many instances hurt the ANC. But let us remember that Liberia is greater than us all. We assure you that Liberia will win and the ANC and CPP will triumph,” he noted.

The action from the CPP chairman might have brought some level of relief in the opposition community that is now focused on ensuring that most of its candidates, if not all, get overwhelming victories at the polls in December.

Perception, Reality

Prior to being announced as winner of the contested primary on September 6, 2020, Madam Weh had earlier won the CPP Primary Voters Perception Survey (VPS).

On the back of the Sanniquellie violent incident, the CPP constituted a committee to probe what might have gone wrong. The investigation declared the primary as a ‘violent and fraudulent,’ process that fell short of meeting the requirements of the National Elections Commission (NEC) for a free and fair primary.

Findings of the committee, which was headed by Liberia’s former head of mission to the United Nations, Amb. Lewis G. Browne and former LNP deputy inspector general for operations, Abraham Kromah, said the process failed to meet the minimum requirements for a free, fair and transparent process, rendering the process and outcome as unacceptable.

The committee, impeccable sources noted, even called for a rerun of the entire process. However, many were of the conviction that  the Nimba primary was very crucial to the opposition bloc, as it presented itself as the first test for the solidification of collaboration since the pact was consummated — it however had exposed the latent divisions in the collaboration. Now that LP’s Gongloe Weh has been picked to represent the CPP, she is expected to face the incumbent Thomas Grupee, former Senator Saye-Tayor Adolphus Dolo, former Superintendent David Dorr Cooper, former Representative Garrison Yealue and Representative Jeremiah Koung on December 8.

The ‘golden carpet’

The palaver has ended, or so it appears. But the road from bitter accusations of fraud against an “in-house opponent” to finally conceding defeat to them — especially politically — is no easy trek. There are bruised personal and institutional egos that may need to be nursed. Yet, more than anything else at stake is the cohesive integrity of the CPP to effectively challenge the current political status quo.

Usually, a reciprocal concession must be offered in order to facilitate the aforesaid concession of defeat. Negotiators call this a golden carpet on which to retreat.

It is believed that in view of the ANC relinquishing the Nimba slot to the LP, the other constituent parties have resolved to give the ANC carte Blanche in River Gee and Sinoe County. Top sources are also informing the Daily Observer that similar favor will be given Cummings’ party in the Montserrado County district #9 representative by election.

“The ANC has made a lot of sacrifices and concessions in this collaboration and we think it is just good we recognize that and act similarly,” a top LP official told this reporter. 

Many had fear that the hope of millions of Liberians who trust and believe in the major opposition bloc were at the verge of being dashed as every stakeholder, ANC and LP, holding firmly unto their stance. There were even whispers of the two candidates going solo in the event that CPP would not have featured either candidate in that County. Coming out of the melee at the Nimba primary, voters who are banking on the the opposition movement are still contemplating: Was this the beginning of the end for the CPP? Or, was it a test of the CPP’s focus and resolve to stay the course, come what may?

9 COMMENTS

  1. Are there any justification for violence to becoming a senator or representative in Liberia? Are these people, from the bottom of their hearts, actually seeking to represent the Liberian people or just seeking the money and benefits that comes with the position? From the past and recent observation surrounding senatorial elections in Liberia, these candidates are prepared to do whatever it takes to win. I supposed these senseless violence wouldn’t be happening in Liberia if lawmakers salaries were similar to our neighbouring countries, Sierra Leone and Guinea Conakry, at $2,500 U.S approximately after conversion.

    The worst of violence are yet to come if nothing is done about this nonsense that madam Sirleaf created involving this type of salaries relating to our lawmakers. Everyone now eye this as the way of getting better off in Liberia. It has become a springboard out of poverty in Liberia and that’s why everybody wants to be a lawmaker in Liberia, despite of their credentials and sacrifices involved. They are not going there to seek the people interest, rather their selfish interests. How many people will actually wants to be a lawmaker in Liberia if we, the Liberian people vote on to eliminate these few benefits. 1) housing allowance. 2) gasoline allowance. 3) vehicle repair allowance. 4) purchasing of luxury vehicles rather affordable ones. 5) unnecessary break from the job and lastly, cut salaries to $3,000 for representatives and $4,000 for senators.

    With such measures put in place, only those that care about their people will considered becoming a lawmaker in Liberia and the violence will be gone because the greasy part is gone and just the bone is left. My question to these sickening individuals terming themselves as lawmakers, is the cost of living in Liberia higher than our neighbouring countries, Guinea Conakry and Sierra Leone?answering this question correctly will justified or condemned what is happening in Liberia. Primary and paramount reasons why Liberia has stalled in terms of infrastructure development. Until we as a nation can stop this madness, senatorial elections violence will become eminent and deadly.

  2. Thank you for your selflessness, Mr. Wongbe!
    Let’s look at the bigger picture of what lies ahead. I hope to see you, hand in hand with Mama Gongloe, to run a civilized campaign to win the seat in Nimba.

  3. Speaking like a disorganized un-statesman, Alexander Benedict Cummings babbles, “I am mostly concerned about saving Liberia by keeping the CPP together”. Once again ladies and gentlemen, by making such a statement, Alexander Benedict Cummings proves his weakness and incompetence beyond a reasonable doubt. First and foremost, the CPP is very, very disorganized. And so if Alexander Benedict Cummings is “mostly concerned about saving” anything, that thing should be the CPP, not Liberia. Second, Alexander Benedict Cummings is not a neoteric person, but rather the same old troubled politician we’ve known since the un-glorious days of his presidential run. As his way of “mostly saving Liberia” Alexander Benedict Cummings made promises he knew he could not keep. Promises such as creating an untold number of jobs within a short time span if he became president. Thanks be to Jehovah because Alexander Benedict Cummings did not win the presidency the last time. Come 2023, a new battle with be intensified against Alexander Benedict Cummings. He will not be elected!

    Until then, thanks for giving me the opportunity to speak truth to power! Peace.

  4. My encouragements to the most progressive incoming president of Liberia, Alexander B. Cummings.

    “Negative and toxic people will drag you down with their insults, criticisms, and put downs. Try not to stoop to their level. It is their own insecurities that drive their behavior and it has nothing to do with you. Move on and away from that negativity…”

    Many Liberians evade excellence, competitiveness and intelligentsia yet they daydream to transform Liberia with mediocrity, ineptitude and mundanity. No nation on planet earth has ever succeeded on such path, my dear Liberian sisters and brothers, unless you want to prove me wrong.
    Let’s create love for excellence, be willing to face competition and revere the best of our intellectuals.

    It is sickening and heartbroken to see in the 21st century that most of our lecturers at our highest institution of learning, the University of Liberia, are bachelor and master’s degree holders. This one NEEDS URGENT FIX.
    I attended a school where TAs are people with doctorate degrees with less than 5 years of experience and lecturers are proven and seasoned career people, experts and consultants with PhDs of at least 10 years’ experience.

    It is sickening and heartbroken to see in the 21st century that our country Liberia will graduate students from high school who make a pass in 1 subject out of 9 on the WASCE exams. This one NEEDS URGENT FIX.
    Liberia graduated some of the brightest minds in the south region up to the late 90s. Why should our human rights groups, civil society organizations and awareness groups in Liberia stay silent on this plague that is even worse than giving a child the AK47? CDC, you are destroying Liberia more than any warlords!

    These are immediate fixes we (ANC) want to bring to our country, yet there are Liberians who insult, criticize and put down the altruistic leadership leading this noble biblical mission. Alexander B. Cummings has the resolve to changing Liberia for the better.
    For those of you who pay lip service love to Liberia but wish to see it under the honorary Grade 9 doctorate doctorate doctorate degrees’ graduate, I would pray that you begin to hate Liberia instead.
    Liberia prefers to be hated by you than getting your love. I hope henceforth, some of you, UN experts and US philosophers, WILL BEGIN TO HATE Liberia, this we beg of you!

    Peace unto all afflicted souls!

  5. POSTED AT 1:10 PM EST on Monday, September 21, 2020

    #1. Abandoning the senatorial race in the interest of CPP unity may be a good start but does it solve the underlying problem(s)? Is there really unity within the CPP?

    #2. Like Alexander B. Cummings, Taa Wongbe may also have to satisfy the public’s interest about whether he holds U.S. citizenship or not. It is very easy to resolve any controversy. All he has to do is show which passport he uses to enter and depart the U.S. immigration gates. If he’s using a U.S. passport, then then he has no business getting involved in our Liberian elections. Same thing for Cummings. Same thing for George Weah whose alleged U.S. passport was published during the last 2017 elections.

    #3. How can Alexander B. Cummings be branded as a “homosexual” when the record shows that he is married with two children? Where is the evidence that he is involved in a same-sex relationship, which may technically make him a “bi-sexual” , not a “homosexual”? Where is the evidence that he raped someone? Is Kou Gontee simply running with defamatory allegations or does she have credible information?

    #4. HNEY may be right in his criticism of Alexander B. Cummings’ promise to create jobs [ I think they were supposed to be 100,000 in 3 months]. However, the same can be said about Weah’s promise to eliminate tuition for students of tertiary institutions [ the University of Liberia and other county community colleges]. I have not seen such promise delivered. I have no details on cost and timetable.

    #5. Petarus Dolo is only highlighting SOME of the problems of the education system that many of us have observed. However, that doesn’t translate to policy prescriptions. Even a “Zogo” can complain about the failure rate in the West African examination. That doesn’t mean that he has a plan to reverse the trend.

    #6. I always like to return to my belief that political parties and leaders need to provide details on solving problems affecting various policy sectors like AGRICULTURE, COMMERCE, DEFENSE, EDUCATION, ENERGY, FINANCE, HEATHCARE, HOUSING, etc. Political parties and coalitions [ incumbents and opposition] need to spice up their websites and provide more details about HOW they would take Liberia forward. They should also tell us HOW MUCH it would cost and THE SOURCE of funding [foreign grant, loans, higher taxes, economic growth, etc.]

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