Liberia: Cummings Confident of Running against Weah in 2023 Elections; Says CPP Will Evolve
MONROVIA – Alexander B. Cummings, standard-bearer of the Alternative National Congress, says he is the sole candidate for the standard-bearer of the CPP, despite the CPP being conflicted with two ongoing litigations.
By Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]
According to him, by default, with the withdrawal of the Unity Party’s Joseph Boakai, who was to contest against him to head the CPP ticket, it now implies that he, Cummings, would lead the ticket to the 2023 presidential and general elections.
It was implied and understood that the two candidates for the CPP nomination were the former vice president and myself. Of course, the former vice president has announced that he’s leaving so he’s no longer a contender for the standard-bearership… I was endorsed by the Liberty Party for the standard-bearership and that they’ll not field a candidate. Given those two circumstances, I would say I would be the sole candidate for the standard-bearer of the CPP,” Cummings said.
He, however, said, should the Liberty Party, which had earlier endorsed him for the CPP ticket, reconsider its decision and put forth a candidate for the standard-bearership position, he’ll be willing to go follow the selection process.He made the statement on Tuesday during an interaction with journalists.
Cummings is confident that the facts in the forgery and criminal conspiracy trial would stand out in his favor as he maintained his innocence and allegation that the government is using the courts to suppress formidable opponents.
Cummings is currently being tried by state prosecutors led by the Solicitor General, Cllr. Syrenius Cephus, on behalf of the All Liberian Party, alleged that Cummings forged the signatures of its leaders. He along with the party chairman and secretary-general are, therefore, being tried for forgery and criminal conspiracy.
Cummings wondered why those now “persecuting” him did not raise concerns about the CPP Framework Document being tampered with for the past two years under which they operated and even went to by-elections and won six seats in the Liberian Senate.
He said as proof that he is being “persecuted”, it is clear on the minutes of the court that the prosecution extracted the evidence that exonerates him from the allegation.
According to him, the WhatsApp messages that were left out of the evidence clearly show that the revised CPP Framework Document was shared in the chatroom for all the leaders of the CPP to review and for acting upon it for onward submission to the National Elections Commission were all discussed and they commended him for the job.
“They came back and they claimed it was inadvertent, but of course, it was deliberate. The facts are on our side. The government is using the judiciary to persecute a political opponent. This is not good for our democracy, this is not good for our country, it is first of all unacceptable and they are making a mockery of the judiciary,” he said.
According to him, what he is being tried for is a misdemeanor and it’s being heard by the Monrovia City Court, one of the lowest courts, however, the Solicitor General is the lead lawyer for the prosecution, even though there are more serious cases like rape, corruption, armed robbery, among others, that he is not paying attention to.
“Everything was okay until we began approaching time to select a standard-bearer; that’s when they discovered that there were issues with the Framework Agreement, until then there were no issues at all. It is because there was an expectation that somehow, there will be a coronation of the former vice president as the standard-bearer of the CPP and all we have consistently said is let’s follow the agreement we all signed up to, let’s follow the process and whatever the outcome of that process is, we’ll support.
“I was willing to support the outcome of the process, whatever that outcome was going to be. That outcome was not for me to automatically become vice standard-bearer. That outcome was to go through the process, delegates vote on whom they want their standard-bearer to be and the standard-bearer, whomever he or she was would select whom they wanted to be their vice president,” Cummings said.
The CPP Will Evolve
According to Cummings, the CPP in its current state comprises the ANC and the Liberty Party. However, he said, the CPP is in talks with other political parties who will come and complement the two existing parties.
Questioned whether he now acknowledges the exit of the Unity Party and the ALP and if so, why the complaint was filed with the NEC, Cummings said, the two parties have made public announcements of their withdrawal from the CPP, therefore, their intentions have been clearly stated. However, both parties have failed to exit properly as per the agreement they signed up to, therefore, it is a matter of respect for the rule of law.
He explained that the objective of forming the CPP was to unseat the Weah-led administration which he believes has been mismanaging the country. He said, that objective has not changed, and the CPP will now bring other political parties and actors on board to accomplish that objective.
According to Cummings, he has no regrets about joining the CPP, rather, he is disappointed that the other participants of the CPP did not live up to the obligations they signed up to.