Liberia: ANC’s Political Leader Alexander Cummings Wants Government to Start Early Preparation for 2023 Elections
MONROVIA – Mr. Alexander Cummings, the political leader of the Alternative National Congress has called on the George Weah-led government to begin early preparation for the conduct of the 2023 general and presidential elections.
This, according to Mr. Cummings, is to avert the postponement of elections due to lack of funding for the National Elections Commission (NEC). He lamented that all elections and by-elections held during this regime had to be postponed due to lack of funding to the NEC.
“Conducting elections on time is the most basic test of any nation’s democracy. Our country cannot be failing this test and hope to be democratic. For our country, holding free, fair and credible elections, on time, is amongst the best ways to continue to keep our peace, and remain democratic,” stated Mr. Cummings in a recent Op-Ed.
He recalled and commended Senator Varney Sherman (UP, Cape Mount) who recently urged his colleagues to begin to apportion budgetary allotments each fiscal year until the election year.
“I agree with the Senator, and thank him for reminding the government about this important responsibility. It is really important for the country to not only hold the 2023 Elections according to the constitutional time, but that we do so in a way that makes the process, and the results, credible,” he stated.
He added, “No responsible government needs to be reminded about its duty, especially to provide money to the election commission. This includes the money they need for by-elections. Every other day by-elections are delayed, a district or a county is denied proper representation in the government. This is wrong.”
Cummings criticized the government for not being able to raise money for elections which is of democratic essence and a major priority but always find money to fund trips that he claims bring nothing back to the country. “When a country does not have money, its leaders will not waste the little that it has on things that yield no benefits to the people,” he stated.
“Even when countries that can afford are keeping their leaders’ home, during this COVID 19 period, our President is travelling and using money we don’t have. At the same time, our country is begging for help to pay civil servants’ pay that are already cut and so low,” he stated.
He added, “Of course, countries can ask for help; but when we start getting donations of hand pumps, we should be concerned and ashamed. This is not where our country needs to be. Liberians would say, when people have to beat drum behind you to do the things you are supposed to be doing, it means you are irresponsible. Irresponsible people don’t lead.
“This is why, I continue to say, we must work as hard as we can, and think as best as we can, to make Mr. George Weah, a one-term President. He and his friends don’t know what they are supposed to be doing, and by not doing what they are supposed to be doing, they are threatening our peace, threatening our democracy, and undermining the way the Constitution say we should be running the country.”
Review December 8 Elections
Mr. Cummings is also calling for the review of the December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial Election so as to avoid the mistakes and missteps in the conduct of that election.
He said even if the NEC is given all the money for the 2023 elections and the elections is conducted on time, the process will not be considered free, fair and transparent if the errors are not corrected. This, he said, could undermine the country’s stability and plunge the country into chaos.
“Therefore, as we start talking about money for the NEC, we also need to start putting everything in place to make sure every political party makes the minimum 30% quota for women on their party tickets. If a political party cannot do this, it should not be a party claiming to represent all Liberians. Enough with the talking about women participation in politics. It is time to actually do it. The CPP did not only meet the 30% quota for women candidates in the 2020 Bi-elections, but exceeded it by fielding five (5) out of fifteen (15) candidates. In 2023, let us all show that we mean this by actually doing it,” Cummings stated in his Op-Ed.
He also called for the improvement of the security of election materials, especially the ID Card machines and ballot papers.
Cummings: “We need to also improve the voter registration system. We have to make it harder, if not impossible, for anyone to register more than one time, and to make sure the voter roll is clean. To do this, we need to use the biometric system of registration others are using for registration, which ECOWAS recommended for us to use.
“At the same time, we need to stop the trucking and bussing of people who do not live in a district or county to register and vote there. It is wrong to truck people into a district or county from outside to register and vote for representatives and senators of places you do not reside. These trucked voters will not really care how the person they are voting for will represent the people who are actually living in the district or county. If we do not stop this, we will continue to end up with legislators who do not know their people, do not care about them, do not live with them, and in truth, do not represent them.
“More and more, we are seeing now that after elections, elected officials are moving out of and residing in places way outside their districts and counties they are supposed to be representing. As a result, they are caring very little about the people they are supposed to be representing. This is because they were elected by outsiders and not the people who actually live in those districts and counties.”