“Weah Needs No Strategy to Govern”

15
1947
Presidential Press Secretary Sam Mannah addressing a news conference Photo Credit: EXECUTIVE MANSION

-Presidential Press Secretary Mannah debunks Cummings’ claims

Presidential Press Secretary, Sam Mannah, has indicated that President George Manneh Weah does not need a strategy to effectuate his robust governance plan to govern the Liberian people because he is no stranger to the plights of the people.

The presidential spokesman was reacting to what many proponents of the ruling establishment have termed as a negative attack on the administration of the Coalition for Democratic Change by the political leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Alexander Cummings.

Serving as a guest speaker at a Rotary event in Monrovia over the weekend, Cummings said though the administration is still very young, it has taken many questionable decisions that bring the CDC’s ability to govern into question. He also questioned whether CDC understands the enormity of what they have taken on.

The ANC political leader made specific references to the quality of the appointments made so far by President Weah and the recent loan agreements that the government has brokered with companies.

But reacting to these comments in a commentary on Wednesday, Press Secretary Mannah said, delivering people one has live with for long, like President Weah has with the Liberian people, does not require a strategy.

He added that President Weah has been providing for the needs of the ordinary Liberian people “unlike Mr. Cummings who will need a strategy because he doesn’t understand the plight of the Liberian people owing to his protracted absence from the country, and as such lacks the proper understanding of the issues confronting the average Liberian.”

Throwing a jab at the former Coca-Cola Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Mannah noted that governance is quite different from selling a bottle of Coke. “Governance is about putting the right mechanism in place to ensure that the needs of the citizenry are addressed,” he said.

“It’s bemusing that with all the strategies Mr. Cummings put forth during the just ended elections, he was massively rejected by the Liberian people and his party was not able to win a single legislative seat. Gone are the days when we will have people use Liberia as a retirement farm. Lest he is unaware, Liberians need true patriots, not tourists,” he said.

Football Not a Credential for the Presidency

Mr. Cummings seems to have further exacerbated the argument with an apparent jab directed at President Weah when he appeared on a local radio late Wednesday afternoon where he indicated that playing football is also not a credential for the presidency.

The ANC political leader might have been constrained to have a short stint into what some would refer to as the uncomfortable terrain of gutter politics in reacting to Mannah’s commentary in which he (Cummings) was labeled as coke seller.

Responding to Talk Show host Smith Toby question, “Mannah says running government is quite different from selling bottles Coke?”  the former Coca-Cola Executive said, “playing football is also not a credential for the presidency either.” He also indicated that he was not prepared to comment on the Mansion’s response to his earlier comments as it is not his nature to engage into vitriolic politics.

The presidential Press Secretary ’s commentary garnered a lot of reactions across social media with many indicating that Mr. Mannah, like his boss, does not understand governance or leadership.

Liberty Party Vice President for Political Affairs, Abraham Darius Dillon, said on his Facebook page, “Sam Mannah has completely made this clear to Liberians that pro-poor had no strategy to run Liberia.”

“While this is wishful thinking on the part of Mr. Cummings, I wish to inform him that governance is quite different from selling a bottle of Coke.

“So, for the sake of argument, can we say the same about Pres. Weah, that governance is different from kicking a football?”

Another commentator, James Milner, noted, “How can you say that a government does not need a strategy to govern? This is baffling to come from such a top official. Even the manner and form in which the President delivers to the people is a strategy and Sam must understand this.

“Is Sam saying that Weah has lived with the Liberian people for a very long time and as a result understands their plights, as such, he needs no strategy to govern? This is just very ridiculous to say. What are these guys thinking?” Milner asked.

Williet Werner noted, “This is one of the worst pieces of communication that have come from the pinnacle of political authority in our country. Which administration/government does not need a strategy to govern?”

“Sam will continue to embarrass himself. One has to comprehend before uttering anything…Sam, thanks for exposing the incompetence of you guys,” Ms. Werner noted.

15 COMMENTS

  1. A lot of these newly appointed GOL officials are just a bunch of amateurs placed on a “space flight mission project” , that will make a lot of mistakes in both speaking and acting in their official capacities! As a spokesperson , most especially a “Presidential one”, one should chose their words carefully because whatever you say will haunt you for the rest of your career!.

    Ofcourse! President Weah needs a strategy to govern, no matter how well he knows the plight of the people!

  2. Over the weekend, Alexander Cummings fired a political salvo in the CDC camp. In essence, Cummings questioned whether Weah will succeed as president of Liberia.

    There are two brief ways to look at Cummings’ strategy:
    1. Cummings is testing the waters for the
    Presidential elections that are
    approximately 5 years away and

    2. Cummings wants to know whether his
    free speech is protected.

    I am not a Cummings’ acolyte. I will never be a supporter of his although I am a Maryland county Liberian. During the 2017 election year, Cummings claimed that if he became elected, he’d hire up to 100,000 eligible Liberians in his government. Cummings was badly mistaken. In order for him to have done that, Cummings would have bullied the Liberian legislature to borrow 5 billion-plus dollars. A risky move that would have mortgaged Liberia’s future away.

    In the latest episode of Weah’s press secretary’s response to Cummings, the stakes are too high for errors to be made. Mannah the press secretary should not waddle in the pond with Cummings. Doing so prematurely will definitely enhance Cummings’ strategy. Mannah is mistaken. Of course, Weah needs a strategy. For sure a strategy that is unlike the best contrast Cummings has out there.

  3. Every government needs a strategy to govern effectively. To say that the president needs no strategy to govern is a disservice to the presidency. Strategy form the basis of policies and government decision are based on policy. Stop talking like this!!!!

  4. You Liberians need to stop taking every statement literally. “Not needing a strategy” could simply mean not having to sit down and connive, have planning sessions, draft all sorts of scenarios etc. The statement could simply mean that President Weah and his team already have a roadmap for what Liberians need, and don’t have to have strategy sessions, like Cummings or anyone not familiar with their condition

    • I do agree with you “painstakenly!” from a private point of view and within a non official context, but REMEMBER , this is a PRESS STATEMENT from the President’s Press Secretary (representative of the President’s point of view ) “designed” to counter an opposition’s STATEMENT. For all purposes, this should be worded carefully! Unfortunately that is how politics works, one wrong statement ,an your “opponent” will use it against you! Are you following the reactions now ? Anyway, I hope he learned his lesson!

  5. You need a strategy to govern your own home let alone an entire country!!!! I will give you the benefit of the doubt, you misspoke. Be more careful with future utterances. This is a political arena, amateurs are not given a free pass!!!

  6. Of course “strategy” or “blue print” is totally needless when one´s intellect, conscience, sensibility, or will, has actually assimilated a problem and the solution for that problem! That is the super-wonderful power-dynamic of basic instinct or intuition! And this is exactly inter alia what Presidential Press Secretary Mannah has articulated or is propounding!

    But of course, after one has succeeded (as bound to be the case of His Excellency President George Manneh Weah), theorists would exercise their rights to freedom of belief, expression, etc. etc. and write that such achievements were realized via “this or that” strategy. But that can never alter the reality that the hero or captain needed to go back to the drawing table to save the ship from sinking! IN SHORT, FOR ONE WHO KNOWS WHAT HE WANTS, TACTIC OR STRATEGY IS A MERE RHETORICAL AND ABSTRACT CONCEPT!

    The fact of the matter is that Cummings simply does not actually know what is the political or national security definition of strategy (from the greek generalship)… a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim or goal. Hence he is ignorant to the reality that in many instances, whether in leadership or personal endeavors, one does not need a strategy!

    Thus, he not surprisingly, confuses “strategy” with “tactics”..a plan of action designed to achieve a short-term objective aim or agendum/agenda. Hence, as a political toddler (or as Press Secretary aptly describes him a “coke employee and tourist”), he stutters about “blue print” “early signs”, and all such disgusting craps!

    Any intelligent and or objective mind can see that the national security strategy of President Weah is to AMELIORATE the lives of the majority who are the poor!!! And this can be no other, taking into account the threatening predicaments as the result of bad roads or no roads! Accordingly, or indeed, the tactics required for such national security strategy are:

    (1) attaining the cooperation of relevant stakeholders and power brokers as the legislature, the citizenry, and international partners as Eton etc.etc. in making that national security strategy a reality without impairing our sovereignty and mortgaging our resources nor sacrificing our governance and institutiona , as would have been the case had we sought the loans from say IMF or other international actors or states! Accordingly, this is:

    (2) exactly what is happening with even the traditional elders and chiefs consolidating nationwide support and cooperation for the Weah Administration! While:

    (3) funds for ensuring the national security strategy are in principle now available for the nationwide reconstruction of roads which is bound to boost the economy in terms of inter alia “farm to market road” etc. etc. And these are:

    (4) far realistic than, and far far superior to some rhetorical in fact laughable “blue print” by one´s (Cummings´) whose posture is that of “A TOURIST” ignorantly “questioning the legitimacy of the entity from which the US$536 million loan is being sought”; even after the Legislature and the entire citizenry have ratified and applauded such tactics towards the Administration´s or the President´s (which one may rhetorically conceptualize as “national security strategy”.

  7. Kulah,

    When you say that we Liberians ought to quit “taking every statement literally”, are you suggesting that we should shut up and put up? Or are you trying to deprive us of our right to express ourselves?

    There’s a bait out there. The bait was thrown out there by ANC’s Alexander Cummings. As you know very well, Cummings was Weah’s rival during the 2017 elections and he’ll remain a formidable thorn in Weah’s back throughout Weah’s presidency. What could trigger a destabilization in Weah’s government is precisely what’s being done by Cummings. I am dubious as to whether Sam Mannah committed a freudian slip. Otherwise if not, Mannah should be extremely careful according to how he articulates Weah’s economic, political and social agenda. In other words, Mannah should mean what he says and should say what he means.
    The hope is that Weah will succeed.

  8. I don’t know him, but from what I’ve read of his credentials, the nation should be happy to have the likes of Mr. Cummings. His managerial skills acquired as a senior decision maker for the world most prominent beverage company with operations and/or products in over 200 countries, with 2017 revenue of $35 billion, revenue of $1.3 billion and capital flow averaging $2.1 billion can hardly be considered as incompetent to lead Liberia. There’s more diversity in the workforce, he had to meet code of conduct and ethical standards under U.S. laws and each of the countries he resided when he worked for Coca Cola. He was certainly involved in decisions making on allocation of resources to the vast locations of the firm, and is familiar with funding (e.g. offering of shares, syndicate loans, etc) for growth to meet consumer demands. So I’m surprised he’s receiving the kind of attacks I’m reading. From what I discern in his remarks, he is hopeful for the president to succeed, but it will be disingenuous on his part to ignore and not address what he sees as fundamentally missing lin executing any national vision or goal. He has practical experience as a global corporate leader. Leave out the personal attack and critique his policies factually.

  9. Emmerson,
    It’s been said time and again that Alexander Cummings was employed by the Coco Cola Bottling company for a very long time. That’s a credit to him and frankly, no one disputes that. What is of utmost importance is the fact that the effective use of one’s managerial skills does not immediately translate into being a good president of a country. On the positive side, Cummings is not a glutz neither does anyone think that he is a maladroit. To the contrary, Cummings is a very percipient person.

    Let’s not lose track of an important fact. The Coco Cola company is an American company. In most American companies, there are a set of rules or internal policies that are preset. Those policies must be adhere to irrespective of anyone’s managerial skills. If Cummings made world class decisions for Coco Cola, his approval came from above.

    During Cummings’ presidential run in 2017, he made some statements that I thought were a harbinger. Example, Cummings blatantly informed the Liberian audience that he would hire 100,000 eligible Liberians in less than a year. That amounted to a poppycock talk! A decision such as that was not made at Coco Cola while he worked there as a world-class executive. The question is why would he say something as scurrilous as that in Liberia? Come on man, that’s completely unrealistic.
    .
    I don’t want to spend enough time on this issue. I do not want to be perceived as a mean-spirited person. I would like to say that a political difference exists between us, but there is no need for hatred or confrontation. I am opposed to Trump, but I like him as a human being. Maybe, Cummings will end up being a good president some day when he gets elected. But I will not be won over. That’s not being personal.

  10. F. Hney. I’m glad you’re looking at his abilities and perhaps he can pursuade you one day. Your comment above doesn’t seem like you’ll hang on an opinion that one cannot convince you with some empirical data and facts. Though, as a corporate executive at his level, he was certainly involved in not only executing the strategic vision of his firm and its goals, but was a key person in helping shape those goals. I understand his firm’s operations and capital structure. I review entities, their structures and industries, and rules and regulations that impact my firm and its clients investing in such entities. That’s what I’ve done for at least 13 of the more than 20 years in the Financial Services. I understand the depth of skills acquired in the role Cummings held. I have no doubt he has the wherewithal to implement strategies, working with the legislature that could’ve generated 100,000 jobs. I have no reason to suggest he or anyone with his background can lead the nation. In fact, in the U.S., every president always goes after corporate executives to help develop strategies and help operate the government. I think the issues he raised should not be brushed aside. That is operate within the constraints of the law, be transparent and have a strategy. I can’t argue against that. He’s not against taking loans. He would know that. Corporations often go through variety of financing in order to invest in growth and new products to meet demands. I will be writing the same for any other Liberian I become aware of with similar credentials.

  11. Emmerson,
    Good try! But, regardless of your friendly persuasion tactics, you and Cummings cannot win me over. I can assure you, when or if he ever becomes president, I will behave like a good gentleman. No destabilization tactics!

    A good number of Liberians have been fortunate to have held middle-level to top management positions in the US. I was fortunate to have worked for Wal-Mart, (the world’s largest retailer) as an Assistant Store manager in Hanover, MD and other companies many years ago. During my time at Wal-Mart, I tried to pursuade Wal-Mart’s top brass in Arkansas to consider doing business in Liberia. Surprisingly, the authorities at Wal-Mart were very receptive to the idea. As I plan a trip to Liberia, God willing, I intend to meet with some influential people in Weah’s government to discuss the Wal-Mart idea with them. I strongly believe that Wal-Mart is good for Liberia.

    Bottim line:
    Your experience in money matters is positive for Liberia. Cummings’ business background is good for Liberia. Also, the experiences of hundreds of erudite Liberians is in the best interest of Liberia. If all or most of us work hard to make Liberia a good country with our diverse backgrounds, Liberia will be a better country. There’s no need to brag.

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