In the small West African nation of Liberia, the Presidential candidate of the Alternative National Congress Mr. Alexander B. Cummings Jr. over the weekend asked Liberians to give him a clear mandate in order to begin the process of changing the trajectory of the country.
He told a massive crowd of hundreds of thousands of supporters who have travelled from far and wide to a local sports stadium that he has heard their cry for a new and better country and he is ready to deliver.
As a public service, West African Times brings you verbatim, the speech of Mr. Cummings.
“I ran complex organizations holding people accountable and consistently delivering results. I got there by working hard, making the right choices, smart decisions, and never letting anyone tell me I can’t do it. My fellow Liberians, I have traveled to every corner of the country.
The first and only candidate to visit every district, and I, have heard you! You want to work. You want jobs. You want your children to learn at school with free primary education, to have access to healthcare, good roads, water and electricity.
I have heard you. And I was listening even before starting this campaign.My family foundation has invested over 1 million U.S. dollars in Liberia, building schools, giving scholarships, renovating clinics and giving women micro-credit loans.
But I know that that is not enough to transform Liberia for all four million of our citizens.Indeed, I have been blessed with great opportunities and I want to make that a possibility for every Liberian.
I want to give every Liberian child the same opportunity I enjoyed. It’s not good enough for me to have my stomach full and everyone else around me is hungry.
I have a nickname now. Mr. Talk and Do! Everywhere I go people call me, Talk and Do.
Thank you for that. Thank you for letting me earn your confidence. And thank you for letting me show you who I am and what I can do. I will not let you down. I have always put actions to my words. And I always say the best predictor of future performance and behavior is past performance and behavior. I have the business experience and know-how to jump start the Liberian economy; I know how to create jobs and I have managed budgets many times the size of Liberia’s national budget.
My sole purpose in running in this race is to bring my experience to transform Liberia for future generations and give our children the same opportunities I had. I care for you and I care passionately for the Liberian people. Now I know, some people want to say I don’t know Liberian politics, that I’m new. I say yes! I do not know Liberian politics, I don’t know corruption, I have never chopped money from people I serve, and I don’t intend to learn those bad habits that our politicians here have.
But I will tell you what I know. I will tell you that I have Clean Hands. I have had Clean Hands throughout my career. And I will bring these same clean hands to government. I have no political scores to settle, I am free from any debts or political favors to anyone. I am free from any corruption charges or allegations. As you go to the polls on Tuesday, I ask you to ask yourselves, who can transform Liberia?
Who can deliver on the change you can trust? Who is here working and fighting for the Liberian people? Liberians have proved the world wrong before. We’ve found peace amid a war that they said would never end.
We conquered a disease that was supposed to destroy us. And after 73 years, we are going to vote in a new government, from one elected president to another. We are about to turn this country around and bring in the change we can trust.
We are going to do it with our children in mind, and we are going to show the world that we can make history again and do so peacefully. I am confident that we can transform this country, but this change that we want so desperately for Liberia, the change the Liberian people want to believe in, begins with you. Vote peacefully, embrace your neighbors. Even with our different views, we are one people.
On election day, I, Alexander B. Cummings ask you to trust me with your vote, and give Amb. Jeremiah C. Sulunteh and I the privilege to represent you, give us the mandate to change our country for the better, and allow me the honor to be called President of the Republic of Liberia.”
According to the West African Times Monrovia correspondent, the crowd of ANC supporters at the ATS sports facility shocked the other political parties and political observers outside the country. Over a hundred ANC supporters who displayed their voter registration cards and confirmed that they will be voting for Cummings on Tuesday, said that they made the decision made on his personal character and achievements and his message of change that he brought.
Amos Yallah, a political rally attendee who said he and 200 others were from the Brewerville area said, “Liberians will do the right thing. We will give Cummings the mandate. No more support for the same corrupt political class in Capitol Building and Executive Mansion. We believe in what Cummings stands for,” he said.
In a telephone interview, a high ranking UP executive told West African Times, that the UP did not plan for the massive show of force by Cummings and supporters on Saturday.
Asked if this was a sign of the difficult road ahead for the ruling party candidate Vice President Mr. Joseph Boakai, the source said it is still a huge challenge for them to overcome the perception that Boakai is ineffective and ill. Pressed to explain the illness of Vice President Boakai, the UP executive clarified that he did not mean to say that.
This was the first confirmation by an insider of the frail condition of Presidential candidate Boakai.
A Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) Montserrado County District Chairperson who was at the ANC’s political rally over the weekend and appeared shocked at the attendance number refused to comment on the crowd size and message that Cummings delivered. He referred our reporter to the CDC party headquarters.
All sea and airports and land borders in Liberia have been sealed a day before Presidential and General Elections on Tuesday.
Local and international elections observers are in place and are dispersing to various parts of the country on Monday. Campaigning ended overnight to allow a one day cooling off period as stipulated by the country’s National Elections Commission (NEC)
Cummings is tipped as the favorite to win the Presidential elections. A little over 2 million Liberians are registered to vote on Tuesday in General and Presidential elections.
Reporting by James Paye in Monrovia
West African Times