The nearest Mr. Alexander Cummings, former Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Coca Cola International, came to talking about the Liberian presidency—at least in Liberia—was when few months ago, before his retirement, he gave an exclusive interview to the Daily Observer in Monrovia.
In that interview he told the newspaper that he had received two petitions to run for Liberia’s highest office. But he did not tell us he was running. He only said that obviously, if he decided to run, he would have to resign his post at Coca Cola.
The Daily Observer was not privy to Mr. Cummings’ September meeting with Liberians in Minnesota. We only received a dispatch reflecting a report from that meeting, which we published in Tuesday’s edition.
We regret any misrepresentation that may have been made in Tuesday’s story.
We, however, wish to make it crystal clear that if it is true that Mr. Cummings does hold an American passport and that he is an American citizen, there was absolutely nothing sinister about that. In most parts of the world, probably except Liberia—because in this country we do not respect our laws—no one can rise to any lofty position, such as Executive Vice President of any company in whatever field, without first pledging allegiance to the home country of that particular company through naturalization.
That is the case in most Western countries, because the people have laws and systems in place. The Americans call their home “a country of laws, not of men.” That is because the law takes precedence over everything else. See how their very own President, Richard M. Nixon, because of his deceptive and criminal activities over the Watergate scandal, was forced to resign.
In Liberia, at least one candidate who ran for president of Liberia in the past two elections and at least two who ran for the Senate in December 2014, had foreign citizenship. When it was found out that these candidates carried foreign passports, which they themselves denied in the face of glaring evidence — a violation of the Liberian Constitution and a treasonous act of deception — these candidates were still allowed by the relevant authorities to fully participate in the elections.
We would like to acquaint this generation of Liberians with a Kakata-born Liberian, Fred Corbin, Jr., who became a general in the US Army. Fred, Jr., eldest son of Fred and Bertha Corbin, was sent to the USA, the birthplace of his mother, for further education. Mrs. Corbin was herself a born American and, like her West Indian-born husband, became a naturalized Liberian. After high school in the USA Fred, Jr. joined the American Army, and just as he began to show signs of eligibility to enter the officer corps, he must have been told that he needed to naturalize. And that he did, rising to the rank of general. Fred, Jr. never returned to Liberia.
Alex Cummings is not a product of Liberian naturalization. Both of his parents, like himself, were natural born Liberians, his father a scion of the famous Cummings family of Maryland County and his mother of Monrovia families.
Yet despite the exalted position he achieved in corporate America, Alex never forgot his home, Liberia. Remember, during the heat of the Ebola crisis, he flew to Liberia with several of his top Coca Cola executives from several parts of the world to identify with Liberia. During that visit he told President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf that Coca Cola Liberia would NOT lay off a single employee, despite the serious economic and financial downturn the company had suffered due to the Ebola epidemic. To the contrary, he said, the company was proceeding with plans to expand its production with a new product line and with the creation of a technical school on Du Port Road, Paynesville.
True to his word, he again flew into the country earlier this year, accompanied by several senior Coca Cola executives, to unveil another product and to open the technical school.
In all fairness, Mr. Cummings has not declared his candidacy for any political post in Liberia. He only told the Daily Observer that he had received “two petitions.”
If he is perchance an American citizen and does have any political ambition in Liberia, then the first thing Team Cummings for Liberia should do is to explore the legality of his ambition. The Liberian Constitution clearly states that anyone running for public office should be a citizen of Liberia. Does the Liberian Constitution prohibit a natural born Liberian who naturalized in another country and later regained Liberian citizenship, from running for President of Liberia?