The ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) responds to recent criticism against the CDC-led government by opposition leader Alexander Cummings, describing the former presidential contender as a “corporate ganister” and someone whose sole intent is to steal hugely from the country if entrusted with state power.
Mr. Cummings, a former Coca Cola executive and leader of the opposition Alternative National Congress sharply criticized the government of President George Manneh Weah, accusing the administration of broad day corruption and amassing personal wealth at the expense of the people less than a year in office.
He specifically accused President Weah and his officials of looting state coffers. But the chairman of the ruling CDC Mulbah Morlu says attention of the ruling Coalition and the Government of Liberia has been drawn to degeneration of public discourse by recourse to non-factual, baseless, unsubstantiated and unprovable allegations, comments and statements emanating from some political personalities and media surrogates and sponsored commentators.
Addressing a news conference in Monrovia on Monday, 14 January chairman Morlu counters that if anyone should be branded as criminal or looter, said individual is instead, the ANC political leader.
He claims Cummings raised US$10 million from corporate partners for his 2017 Presidential bid with the ANC but deposited only US$200,000 into the party’s account thereby, rendering the party as the lowest performer from the elections that won no legislative seat.
Responding to Cummings statement of ‘leaders eat last, Morlu argues the assertion is a clear indication that the ANC leader’s plan for Liberia is to loot the country, saying, “For our President does not eat first or last; instead, his desire is to serve and provide the needs of the Liberian people. Those who want to eat last are already being corrupt and [it is with] criminal mindset they’re coming. Thank God they and their followers were rejected by the Liberian people at the ballot box during the elections.”
He says while Liberia has made great strides in fostering an environment of free press, free speech and free assembly over the past decade, an unfortunate outcome of this positive evolution is attempt to ground public discussions and debates on falsehood, unbalanced news coverage and unwarranted allegations against the Government and some of its senior officials, noting “ In a free democracy and media culture such as ours, the only policy response against this creeping menace is to alert citizens and devise vigorous mechanisms to buffet untruth, propaganda and lopsided news coverage. The Government will continue to uphold and sustain an environment of free press and free expression.
Five days ago, Mr. Cummings said, “The stealing has got to stop. You cannot have a leaking pocket and try to add more water. There is a leaking pocket because of the stealing and corruption in government and that has to stop. By every economic measurement, the economy is failing. It is not working for the people of Liberia. Inflation is everywhere. Prices are going up. This government has made an ‘F’. I don’t have to say it for the Liberia people, they are feeling the pinch and what makes it worse for me, there seems to be no plan to fix it by the government.”
However, the governing CDC says it will no longer officially dignify lies, baseless allegations, and unprovable assertions from political leaders who do not hold any legislative seat. Morlu says the Montserrado County Youth League of the Coalition for Democratic Change has been designated to respond to lies and rumors, and that journalists and media organizations asking questions on baseless claims from politicians will be directed to the Montserrado County Youth Wing for official response.
“To the extent that these false claims purport to injure and malign the reputation of Government officials, such officials will minimally debunk the lies and refer the press and other interested persons to the Montserrado Youth Wing for more detailed discussion”, he concludes.
The Weah administration is under increased pressure to demonstrate transparency and accountability in the governing process amid reports of missing money, financial transaction outside the banking system and rapid depreciation of the Liberian dollar against rising prices.
Suspicions are even exacerbated by the President’s simultaneous construction of several private properties, including resort, multiple duplexes and a family church edifice as well as acquisition of lands across the country in less than a year.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Editing by Jonathan Browne