Barely a month following the resignation of two Unity Party (UP) stalwarts, former Liberia Ambassador to United States, Canada and Mexico, Jeremiah C. Sulunteh, yesterday officially announced crossing over to the Alternative National Congress (ANC) of businessman turned politician Alexander B. Cummings.
Sulunteh’s decision yesterday laid to rest speculations that he was on his way to the opposition Liberty Party (LP) of Charles Walker Brumskine.
Political observers say the ongoing exodus from the UP is not a good sign for the party as the October elections is less than eight months away.
Sulunteh had served as senior national vice chairman of UP that successfully concluded with the re-election of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2011.
Former FDA managing director Harrison S. Karnwea and Dr. Kadiker Rex Dahn tendered in their respective resignations from the UP in February, joining Musa Hassan Bility, who defected to the LP from UP late last year.
Sulunteh resigned from the governing Unity Party on February 15 following the footsteps of Mr. Karnwea, who also joined the LP.
Sulunteh told a news conference yesterday at ANC’s headquarters in Monrovia that his decision to quit the UP is primarily to maintain Bong County’s oneness, noting, “Because some politicians have created an artificial rift between Internal Affairs Minister Henrique Tokpa and I for a possible vice presidential pick for the UP.” The two men hail from Bong County.
Although Sulunteh already carries an ANC membership card, he told reporters yesterday that his decision to join the ANC was based on the leadership ability of Alexander B. Cummings, the party’s political leader.
At the colorful ceremony that characterized Sulunteh’s crossing over yesterday, the former ambassador promised to support Mr. Cummings throughout the length and breadth of the country until victory is certain at the pending October polls.
“The leadership and dedication of Cummings to Liberians over the years has inspired me to join the ANC,” Sulunteh said, adding that structural cohesion at the ANC has impressed him as well.
“I have come to say, ‘send me,’ and have come also for us to sail Liberia to the destination where our children and children’s children can be proud of,” Sulunteh declared to the beat of drums and traditional songs.
A teeming crowd of Sulunteh supporters under the banner, “Friends of Jeremiah Sulunteh,” also joined the ANC according to Othello Frank, head of Friends group.
Amb. Sulunteh told the ANC that his decision to joining the party will make his mother “turn in her grave,” because he has made the right decision.
He told ANC partisans that winning the elections is not only about making statements, but by actions from the party.
Liberians, he said, are tired of politicians who are “noted for talking only” but could do nothing for them, and are instead moving over to politicians who can make things happen. He said Cummings’ track record convinced him to promote the ANC head as the one the people should desire.
The ANC, he added, is the vehicle that can transform Liberia, and pointed out that he hopes that partisans can uphold the party’s values.
He called on party partisans to “get prepared,” because they will have to go across Liberia to bring about the change Liberians have been yearning for.
Meanwhile, ANC party chairman Orishall Gould welcomed Sulunteh to the party and said the ANC does not have all the answers, but through dialogue the party can do more.
He said Sulunteh’s performance in government speaks for itself, and explained that his decision to leave the Unity Party of President Sirleaf’s was due to differences in opinions and ideology.
Chairman Gould described Sulunteh as new wine in a new bottle coming to the party, stating that Sulunteh is “a man of impeccable character, uncorrupted, and a clean person.”
In response, Mr. Cummings said it was a great honor and privilege for the ANC to have Sulunteh as a partisan.
He praised Sulunteh for his decision, and described him as an educator, scholar and a diplomat who he is proud to work with to transform the country.
Cummings assured Liberians that he will transform the country for everyone, “because Liberians deserve better; a better Liberia than today after 169 years of independence,” adding that hard work will make the party the next ruling establishment.
Meanwhile, Cummings has said that the Code of Conduct does not concern him, adding that his legal team will handle that aspect, while he will focus on the electioneering process.