Gbarnga, Bong County - Thousands of supporters of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) took Gbarnga by storm as they defied the early morning rain on Saturday, August 12, 2017 to give a rousing welcome and support to the presidential candidate of their party, Alexander Cummings and his running mate, Jeremiah Sulunteh.
The carnival-like scene was enacted when the party’s presidential campaign train hit Gbarnga – the county’s capital – one of the major stronghold of the party in the county.
The David Kuyoun Sports stadium, venue of the rally, witnessed an unprecedented crowd of party faithful from all walks of life.
Partisans of the party from the 13 administrative districts of the county, legislative candidates of the party stormed the venue of the rally.
The Mandingo community in Bong County came in their thousands displaying old and new portraits of Cummings and Sulunteh.
Also in attendance were different groups of physically challenged people such as the deaf, blind and others.
The party supporters took over the football pitch to dance from music of loud speakers.
The old, young and disabled were not left out of the dancing game.
Some waved their broom chanting ‘change is coming’. ANC’s Bong County campaign manager, Othello Frank, while speaking with FrontPageAfrica, expressed appreciation that the county stood with Cummings and Sulunteh.
Frank stated that the mobilization committee worked day and night for a successful outing. “We have shown the people of Liberia that Bong County is wholly for Cummings and Sulunteh,” he said.
“We worked day and night apart from volunteer groups who indicated their interests in showing solidarity for our party and our candidates.”
According to him, the Bong County presidential rally of the ANC has displayed to the whole Liberia the total support of the county for Cummings and Sulunteh.
“We have shown today that we have great influence in Bong County.
The ANC has managed to touch the lives of the ordinary that’s why our people came out today in their numbers,” Frank said.
Cummings’ drive from the Far East junction, a community in Gbarnga to the stadium – which normally takes 10 minutes – lasted for more than 45 minutes as people thronged the route seeking a glimpse of the presidential hopeful.
Cummings, who snaked his way through to get to the podium, has said that economic and financial wastage in government have stalled development and progress of the country, maintaining that he will stop these so as to better the economy.
He said his administration would block all financial wastage and plough back proceeds derived from for educational, infrastructural and economic development of the country.
The ANC presidential candidate, who said his government would frontally address corruption, added that he had identified agriculture as avenue to provide employment opportunities for Liberia youths.
“About 60 per cent of Liberia youths are unemployed whether they have finished school or not.
The only way to ameliorate this unemployment is to go back to farming where we can absorb a lot of able-bodied youths, while in-depth study and plans are being made for the economy, to build infrastructure especially roads .
“And with whatever we realize from savings from wealth, we make sure schools are built, equipment provided and qualified teachers provided,” he said.
Commenting on the current status of the Bong County, Cummings said if elected he would, in his first 100 days, open the college so as to afford education for the young people of Bong County.
“The reason why the Bong County Technical College continues to receive setback in its ongoing construction is because of bad leadership.
If your leaders were sincere to you people the college would have been almost completed or even completed. My understanding is $6 million has been spent and the college is still stalled.
But you can rest assure when I am elected president, I will reopen the college in the first hundred days of my administration as president,” he said.
Speaking earlier, Cummings’ running mate, Jeremiah Sulunteh, a native of Suakoko District in Bong County, lauded the people of Bong County for turning out en masse to welcome him and his standard bearer.
“I want to thank the people of Bong County for demonstrating your love for me again.
I am not surprise by this turnout. You did it for me in 2005 when I contested as vice running mate to Winston Tubman and we won Bong County with 42.2 per cent of the votes.
By this turnout and the level of endorsements I have received in recent days, I am confident that you can do even more than that,” he said.
Sulunteh urged his kinsmen to rally behind the Cummings-Sulunteh ticket for the betterment of the country.
“This ticket is the ticket that you can trust. If you sincerely trust and love me as your son, vote Cumming and Sulunteh as president and Vice President.”
Sulunteh became a household name in Liberian politics during the 2005 presidential elections when he helped Counselor Winston Tubman win 42. 2 percent of the votes in Bong County, the largest percentage of votes in the county.
Sulunteh was Tubman’s running mate under the National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL). In the second round of the presidential election, Sulunteh supported President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a move that helped the Unity Party win Bong County.
Though Tubman didn’t win the presidency, but his success in Bong left many wondering how Sulunteh, who was then vice president of Planning and Development at Cuttington University, could win a county that was a stronghold for the National Patriotic Party (NPP) of former President Charles Taylor.