My Fellow Liberians:
Monrovia-August 5, 2023: Official campaign begins today. For some people, October 10 Election is just another chance for politicians to get power, abandon the people, and corruptly enrich themselves. I understand why many Liberians feel this way about politics and leadership in our country. I do, too.
Although the pictures of politicians may be on the ballot, the life of every Liberian is at stake. The direction of our country and the future of our children will be decided by each vote cast. The decisions of October 10 can worsen the conditions we are living in today, take us backward to a past of “squandered opportunities”, or move us forward into a brighter future.
Liberians are ready for real change. Counsellor Charlyne Brumskine and I are ready to work hard, lead differently, and by good examples, bring real change to our country. We bring a new mindset, vision, energy and a combination of unique leadership perspectives that are needed to move our country into real 21st Century transformation.
Over the next 66 days, we will move all across our country, knocking on your doors, to ask you for your votes. This election is about all of us. For Liberians who have continued to suffer, especially through the last six years, we want to make October 10 the beginning of the end to the worsening hard times.
We know that Liberians do not want to beg. Our people want to work. We want jobs. A Cummings-Brumskine administration will create jobs, decent and high-paying jobs.
Under President Weah, no serious international investor has come to Liberia to help us create jobs. In fact, some investors left because the government is too corrupt. Officials act lawlessly, and the president either does nothing or acts in a 419 way to cover up stealing and abuse of public offices by his friends and closest officials. Decent jobs do not get created in countries where drug traffickers are allowed to walk free, accused persons are never prosecuted, and promised investigations for alleged crimes are never held.
Today, I promise you that a Cummings-Brumskine administration will fix this lack of leadership that is hurting our people. We will restore international confidence in the new leadership of the Liberian government, and attract serious international investors back to our country. With your support and vote, October 10 will be the beginning of the end to stealing in government, abuse of office, mismanagement of public resources, and the sale of Liberia’s wealth by government officials while Liberians continue to remain poor.
Your vote and support on October 10 will be the beginning of the end to wickedly cutting Liberian salaries while the costs of food, school fees, rent, transportation and medicines are all going up. Our educational system will improve. Our hospitals will not be neglected while the president, vice president, speaker, pro-temp and deputy speaker take the lion share of the budget for themselves. This is selfish, irresponsible, wrong, and wicked. We will fix it.
We promise to reform, resource and professionalize the administration of justice in our country. Impunity for crimes will end. Victims of rape and other sexual and gender-based crimes will be protected. Our courts will not have to take too long to decide cases. Our judges and justices will no longer feel intimidated or have their judgments interfered with by the political branches. Access to justice will not continue to be too expensive, especially for ordinary people. With Counsellor Brumskine by my side, we will fix it.
After October 10, with your vote and support, no child needs to go to bed hungry in a country blessed with fertile soil and abundant rainfall. Liberians are not cursed by God to be so poor in a country He has blessed to be so rich. We promise you today that we will pave our main roads and ensure our roads are passable all year round. We will push the reach of technology into our villages and towns so that no matter where you are born, you, too, can be connected to the internet and the world, with the endless possibilities of reaching your dreams.
My fellow citizens:
There is something that is even more dear to my heart and will be a major focus of our presidency. After October 10, with your vote and support, we will not rest until we see the success of Liberians prioritized in our country. If you have a dream, and you are willing to work hard to make it come true; in Liberia, there will be no reason why you should not be able to turn your dream into reality. From business to entertainment, we will apologize to no one for Liberians succeeding in Liberia. In fact, we will make it easy for Liberians to succeed.
Let me be very clear: There are businesses that are exclusively for Liberians by law. Not only will we enforce the law, but we will provide additional opportunities for Liberians to succeed in business, sports, music, movie, literature, and other forms of arts. It is a disservice to any people for their government to not prioritize their success. This is why, to promise that Liberians will not be spectators in their economy, only to end up throwing them outside the stadium, is a national disgrace. We will fix this, too.
I believe in Liberian entrepreneurship. I am who I am largely because my mother was a midwife who also sold women undergarments. I feel deeply indebted to my mother, and to all Liberian mothers, many of whom, like my mother, are selling to send their children to school, and to help fathers put food on the table.
Every year, in a Cummings-led administration, we will provide a 10-million-dollar loan facility for Liberian women businesses. Additionally, we will provide training, mentorship and other opportunities to guarantee the growth and success of Liberian businesses. We want to see Liberian retailers becoming importers and wholesalers. We want to see Liberian waiter markets becoming shops, and shops becoming stores. If you have a dream and the drive, together, we will find the means to let you thrive. This one, dah my area!
If a pekin from Gbeken, who grew up in Point Four and Fiamah, and attended Demonstration Elementary School and CWA, can reach the top of a giant international company; and if a Bassa girl, born in Yekepa, can learn law so well as to teach it, manage her own law firm, and dux her admission to the Liberian Supreme Court Bar, after advising governments on how to reform; I promise you that any Liberian child, born anywhere in Liberia, should be able to reach any heights and achieve any success, in Liberia, and anywhere else in the world.
In a Cummings-Brumskine administration, names, gender, religion, and tribe will only identify Liberians. It will never be used to measure the capacity of Liberians, nor the potential of a Liberian child to achieve anything they dare to dream. Dividing our people along lines of tribe, religion and gender must come to an end, if we are serious to change and build our nation together. United we will stand. Divided we will fall.
I know that we can overcome our division. I also know that Liberians are industrious and hard working. After October 10, with your votes, we will support Liberian farmers to grow what we eat, eat what we grow, and sell our surplus to the world. Farming with hoe and cutlass may get us to feed our families, but it will never be enough to get us to feed our nation and export to the world. To fix the economy and grow the budget, we will have to invest more than we have been doing in agriculture.
We have talked about ‘going back to the soil’ and about ‘the green revolution,’ yet we still cannot feed ourselves. We have to act. We will make the required investments in agriculture and provide the necessary training in modern farming methods and technology, so that we finally shift from an import-based economy to an export-based one. We will also add value to our produce in agriculture. Through agriculture, we will add value to our land, increase production, create jobs, increase exports, and make Liberia food secure.
Today, let me put all of us on notice. Shipping out Liberia’s raw materials will no longer be good enough for our country. Our cocoa can make chocolate. Our rubber can make medical gloves, condoms, and car tires. Our palm oil can make good creme and other health products. And our iron ore can make steel rods. We will look to open factories to make these things here, in Liberia. Let us look to stamp ‘Made In Liberia’ not only on bags of plantain chips but also on boxes of computer chips.
Dream big, my people. A new dawn is upon us. A new daybreak is before us. Don’t let anybody tell us that Liberians can’t change. We are Liberians. We are winners. We can do anything.
I have worked in many foreign capitals around the world. I have built, managed and led teams comprising citizens of many countries. I know that Liberians are smarter and hard working. I know there is nothing we cannot do once we put our minds to doing it. We are Liberians.
We are winners, my people. We set records. We overcome. We always find a way.
Too often, what we have lacked in our country has been the visionary leadership and right mentality to truly put Liberia and Liberians first. We will provide that leadership and mentality. We will demand more from ourselves, and our friends and partners. We will encourage innovation and competition. We will set higher standards for leadership. We will win!
Now, let me say a few words to our young people. More than any group of Liberians, this election in October is about you, our young people. You are the ones to help build and inherit the new future whose shaky foundation we are looking to fix.
We know that today, many of you are feeling let down, frustrated, and betrayed. It feels like you are struggling alone, and no one cares, no one understands, or wants to help you. Some of you correctly understand that failure in leadership today will hurt you tomorrow. The current leaders have to stop putting too much debt on you with nothing to show for it. Doing the right things today, which we are committed to doing, will make it easy on you tomorrow. We therefore need your support. Join our real change movement because it is about you.
Charlyne and I understand some of the disappointments and frustrations. We care and desire to help. This is why we invest in education as private individuals, and will lead the government, with your support, to invest way more in the national budget to fix the broken educational system in our country. We are determined to fix Liberia so all young people feel involved, included, and empowered to chase their dreams.
We will support and expand technical and vocational education to produce graduates who will be ready for immediate employment. We will provide technical and vocational school graduates with soft loans and management training to open and manage their own businesses. We will reintroduce vacation jobs and mentorship programs for our high school students. No young Liberian needs to be left out or left behind.
I know that because of the lack of job opportunities, some of our young people are forced to risk their lives recklessly driving keh-keh and pehn-pehn. Others are selling in the street just to have a day’s meal. These young people have dreams, too. Many are working as hard as they can to make ends meet. They just need a government that can help them empower themselves. Today, I promise that a Cummings-Brumskine-led government will help young people. From driving keh-keh and pehn-pehn that are owned by others, for example, we want to see our young people owning their own cars and homes, tomorrow.
We want to give young people second, third and even fourth chances to be the best that they can be. For those struggling with addiction and are drawn to a life of crime, help is on the way. If you do not give up on yourself, I promise you that we will not give up on you.
My people, the CPP is the best bridge to inclusive generational change in our country. We believe in the hopefulness of young people. This is why we will continue to empower and include young people in all that we do because they are the cornerstone to the future we are looking to build.
Finally, my people, Liberia will not change overnight. But under a Cummings presidency, real change will happen in Liberia. It will be hard because real change is hard. But it will positively affect the lives of all Liberians.
We will obey the law, demand that all others do the same, and restore honor, dignity and respect to public service, beginning with the presidency. We will be thoughtful and consultative, but never afraid to make tough decisions and judgments.
We will never ask any Liberian to do what we, as leaders, are not also willing to do. We will seek international assistance, but we will not ask anyone to do for Liberians what we can and should be doing for ourselves.
After all, my people, we are Liberians. We are winners. Join us to win for Liberia. Together, let us fix our country. Real change is coming. Liberia deserves better. Liberian deserves better.
God bless you. God bless Liberia.