Opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC) political leader Alexander Cummings says if elected president, based on the facts, he will prosecute President George Manneh Weah and go after people who steal from Liberians.
“Let me say very directly to you and the Liberian people, Costa, uh, everybody here, the answer is absolute yes,” he said Thursday, 10 January in response to Montserrado County Rep. Yekeh Kolubah’s question via mobile phone if Mr. Cummings would take the courage to prosecute President Weah if elected president.
“If we going to end the culture of impunity we got to prosecute people,” he says further on the Costa Show in Monrovia.The ANC political leader says he does not want to prejudge what will come out of U.S. experts’ investigative report on Liberia’s alleged missing [$15.5] billion Liberian Dollars, but he warns that there has to be consequences for bad behavior.
“We should not let this 16 billion dollars, the 25 million US that was supposed to be to mop up excess dollars. We want to know what happened to our money, that it didn’t end up in people’s pockets because it appears to have done that …,,” he says.
Mr. Cummings expresses hope that the report is released soon and it is not watered down or tampered with on the basis of geopolitical reasons, saying it must be given as it is.
The former Coca – Cola executive- turned politician recalls that the civil war was a horrible period in Liberia, but he believes that economic crimes and corruption have had the most devastating impact on Liberia today.
In the wake of this argument, Mr. Cummings insists that anyone who wants to lead Liberia has to commit to go after “people who have stolen and looted” when given opportunity to lead Liberians.“By any economic measure, the economy is failing, the economy is not working,” Mr. Cummings says.
He says unemployment is increasing, businesses are either making less [money] or losing money, while looking at inflation, he says prices are going up.
“Fiscal deficit is increasing, revenue is dropping, so by any measure, the economy is failing,” he continues.The ANC political leader says if you were going to grade this government on the economy, “it would make an “F”.
Further, he says if you were to [make comparison] relative to others after one year, this would be the worst performance, noting this government would have a zero.Cummings indicates that the economy is in very, very bad shape and Liberians are feeling the pinch.
More besides, he says Liberians are feeling disrespected by the Weah administration, citing the alleged disregard for the public procurement process, commissioning of ambassador who has not been confirmed by the Senate, among others.
He describes the government as “inept and incompetent,” promising to increase his tune in his criticism against the Weah regime while equally advancing recommendations to help with solutions.
According to Mr. Cummings, there appears to be no plans, solutions or strategies by the government to solving the problems that the people are facing as a result of government’s “very poor performance” on the economy.
He claims that there is “a false sense of arrogance,” noting that the government is almost ignoring the plight of the people, and it is not following up on recommendations he has made on radios and other forums.
He additionally argues that excluding him, other people did attend President Weah’s meeting with the opposition and suggestions were made there, but nothing has happened.Advancing recommendations to the government, Cummings says the corruption and “stealing has to stop,” urging Weah’s government to hire people who know what to do to resurrect the economy.
He says government has to start to pay people consistently so that demand is created, urging the regime to focus on a more medium term, look at agriculture by making investments to support farmers to help create jobs.
He also asks government to look at the tax and regulatory environment to make it simple and conducive, as some practical solutions and value addition to assisting commodity production.He urges the government and its officials to stop looking after themselves and begin to focus on the Liberian people.
By Winston W. Parley