Mr. Alexander B. Cummings’ “Soft Power” Style May Be The Way Forward For Liberia


Politics in Liberia is a unique vocation. Unlike anywhere in the world, most Liberians seem to prefer people who are bombastic in their utterances; people who speak loud, wild and erratic. So, individuals like Yekeh Koluba, Henry Costa, Samuel Tweh, Prince Y. Johnson and ProphetKey are viewed as good leaders because of their overblown and emotional utterances.

By Nya Bowman, [email protected], Contributing Writer

Consequently, a seasoned chief executive like former Coca-Cola Executive, Mr. Alexander Cummings is viewed as not tough enough or lacks the political muscle to govern a country like Liberia. But this is far from the truth; Mr. Alexander Cummings’ “soft power” approach may be the way forward for unity in Liberia and antidote for the change we want.

Bombastic utterance or Hard Power politics has not solved Liberia’s problem in the past and will not solve it in the future. This approach is antithetical to modern governance style and will not work for Liberia, just as it did not work in other countries around the world. Moreover, Liberia has had its share of hardballers, yet the country remains trapped in the throes of backwardness. As cliché as it may sound, “we cannot keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results”.  If Liberians truly desire a future that places importance on citizens, and a future where citizens are respected as custodians of the nation, they must shift their mental modules and embrace soft power to solve their problems, collectively.

Soft power approach to governance is void of coercion and overt breach of the law. Instead, it seeks to shape ideas and policies through appeals, persuasion, and consensus. It is a subtle mitigating force that neutralizes aggression and promotes unity within a nation and between nation-states. In today’s contemporary global politics soft power approach is the most effective and efficient concept, in part because of its endurance and sustainability. Aggressive utterances and muscular exertion of powers are now seen as contemptible approaches to governance and a relic of the past. Nowadays no leader gains respect by muscling others; rather, collaborative measures and consensus building are the new and effective governing modules. In Liberia, past leaders who experimented with hard powers and sought to crush the rights of citizens themselves reaped catastrophic dividends of their actions and the cascading effects brough about suffering of the masses.

Accordingly, a new approach to governance is needed in Liberia to extinguish the many schisms that have impeded unity within the country. Mr. Cummings’ tone and tenor may be just what Liberia needs in these fluid times. Furthermore, unlike Mr. Urey, Mr. Boakai, Mr. Dillon, and Mrs. Kanga-Lawrence; Mr. Alexander B Cummings’ executive performance has been tested and proven in higher places in corporate America. Anyone who knows and understands corporate America will attest that no one leaps to Executive level positions without demonstrating some admirable leadership qualities. It becomes much difficult when the subject of elevation is a black man or black woman. The level of discipline and moral rectitude Chief Executives are expected to have in leadership roles in America are enough to prepare anyone for other leadership roles anywhere in the world, including a society like Liberia.

Contrary to pundit’s description of executive roles as nothing more than boardroom manager, a chief executive is versatile in many skills. In addition to running the day-to-day affairs of a company, a good chief executive builds institution by bringing onboard the right people and cultivating the talents of appointees to suit their responsibility; this often leads to institution synergy. Mr. Alexander Cummings’ incorruptible performances as a Chief Executive at many Fortune 500 companies in America (Bain Capital, Pillsbury, and Coca Cola), couple with his mitigating soft power style of leadership, makes him the ideal leader to move Liberia forward.