“Lead or get out”, Cummings tells Weah
Alternative National Congress (ANC) political leader and head of the relaunched Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), Mr. Alexander B. Cummings, has urged President George Manneh Weah to lead or get out of the way of Liberia’s democratic progress.
“Mr. President, lead, follow or get out of the way of Liberia’s democratic progress and sustainable development,” Mr. Cummings said in a statement released Tuesday, 30 August 2022.
Cummings’ statement is in reaction to President Weah’s alleged failure to act against Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS) officials who are allegedly “culpable for forgery and stealing the money designated” for the conduct of the census here.
Mr. Cummings alleged that President Weah has not taken action against these individuals because the current regime expects them to manipulate the census process to the regime’s advantage.
“President Weah should take immediate actions against the indicted officials at LISGIS because keeping them to lead the census process places a dark cloud of uncertainty on the census and undermines the credibility of the results,” he said.
He lamented that the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), has investigated and established that the leadership of LISGIS is culpable for forgery and stealing the money designated for the census.
He said the LACC named Francis Wreh, Director General; Lawrence A. George, Deputy Director General for Administration; Wilmot Smith, Jr., Deputy Director General for Information and Coordination; and Dominic Paye, Comptroller, as those culpable.
Cummings argued that the country has lost count of the number of times the conduct of the census had been irresponsibly postponed.
Among other important reasons, he said, conducting the census every 10 years is a constitutional requirement for the conduct of elections, including in 2023.
“We noted that the reasons given for the delay were equivalent to the President again failing to do his work, and therefore, risking the legitimacy of the 2023 Elections and its outcomes,” he said.
Cummings argued that the Liberian Constitution mandates the conduct of a census every 10 years.
The last census was conducted in 2008 when the country was still recovering from a devastating civil war, and with very scarce financial resources, he said.
Mr. Cummings claimed that there is absolutely no reason why “President Weah and his administration can find money to steal but cannot and will not conduct the constitutionally-required census.”
“From an ethical standpoint, the census requires a management team with integrity, credibility, and accountability. We have seen none of these qualities in the leadership at LISGIS,” he said.
Additionally, Cummings said conducting the census in the middle of the rainy season could lead to under coverage.
As such, he demanded that not only must the census be conducted in late November, or early December, but that it must be conducted under the right leadership.
He suggested that the process should commence at the earliest point of the recession of the rainy season and be concluded prior to the conduct of the voter’s registration to guarantee its integrity and intended influence on the elections.
Further, Mr. Cummings called on the international community which has made significant contributions to peace and stability in Liberia to apply additional pressure on President Weah to appoint a more integral and credible leadership at LISGIS.
Cummings noted that the international community has committed to the conduct of this census to the tune of $19 million dollars.
He warned that Liberians have fought and died for the betterment of their country and they continued to consolidate their peace, security, and democracy.
“It cannot and will not be derailed by the continued failures and irresponsible leadership of President George Weah without consequences,” Cummings warned further.