By Our Staff Writer
MONROVIA: Not long after the National Elections Commission (NEC’s) announcement of Presidential candidates, any of whom could emerge as Liberia’s next president, the electoral body and citizens received a statement from none other than Alexander Benedict Cummings of the opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), seeking the support of the citizens for the Nation’s Presidency.
However, as votes from the crucial polls held on 10, October, 2023, are being counted by NEC, the opposition CPP released a formal statement which indicated that: “From all across the country, partisans and supporters of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), are informing us of troubling concerns that places where they voted, including in large numbers, are reporting ridiculously low numbers for the CPP’s presidential ticket. This is also true where CPP down-ballot candidates are projected to win.”
Since the October 10, 2023 crucial elections, Mr. Cummings and his CPP appear to be gaining unimaginable low number of votes from the provisional results being released by the National Elections Commission (NEC), relative to the Presidential contest.
Some political commentators, via social media are of the view that the CPP’s Campaign Strategies seemingly disadvantaged Cummings by effectively blocking his chances.
However, some of Mr. Cummings die-hard supporters, via social media and other platforms, have accused the NEC of manipulating his (Cummings poll results) by allegedly redirecting his votes to another Presidential Candidate, whom, by votes-accumulation, is fast proving himself to be a new political ‘Kingmaker.’ The above assertions by commentators are yet to be supported by any irrefutable evidence.
Amid the various assertions by individuals believed to be Cummings supporters via social media, the CPP, in a formal statement issued recently in Monrovia appeared to have corroborated the various social media claims when the Party told the Liberian Nation: “We are troubled by the preliminary results being attributed to the CPP by the National Elections Commission (NEC).”
The Campaign Committee of the CPP, headed by Liberia’s former Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Lewis G. Brown, in the statement, alarmed over the preliminary results released so far by the NEC.
As of Saturday, October 14, 2023, ‘Day Fourth,’ the presidential race results released by the electoral body, Cummings is visibly lagging far behind former Finance Minister, Lusinee Kamara, of the All Liberian Coalition Party (ALCOP), and Edward Appleton of DGM party.
Saturday results amounted to 54% of the total votes cast in the fifteen (15) counties of the country.
Although Mr. Cummings did not attend the series of presidential debates organized by media and civil society groups, for the 2023 polls, he was regularly seen campaigning from house-to-house in various communities around the country, wearing rain coat.
Interestingly however, many voters, especially students from various high schools, colleges and universities and other scholars, among others were of the view that Cummings may have missed a rare opportunity aimed at outlining the CPP’s 2023 Campaign Platform and other development policies and plans at said presidential debates.
They, nevertheless, acknowledged that the CPP Standard-bearer conducted several public campaign events in Monrovia, the Nation’s Capital, and other parts of the country, and climaxed his Campaign at the famous Antoinette Stadium in Central Monrovia with thousands of CPP supporters and well-wishers in attendance.
Remarkably, other keen observers are of the view that Mr. Cummings and his political team spent months, working behind the scene to build alliances and contingency plans with key opposition members, seeking to twist the ‘crowd politics’ debate in their favor.
Howbeit, all these, according to other social media commentators seem to have been stepped aside by voters after Unity Party’s Joseph Nyuma Boakai and incumbent President George Manneh Weah of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) engaged each other via the ballot box in what one political analyst termed as ‘seesaw battle’ for the coveted Liberian presidency.
Moreover, the CPP lamented recently that the results currently being released by NEC are taking “undemocratic trend,” adding that “it is happening at every polling station” across the country.
“We are assessing these troubling reports and alarming concerns and urging all Liberians to be peaceful as we do so. We are determined to ensure that the true will of the voters are upheld,” the CPP added in recent statement.
Other analysts opined that for the CPP to have made such claim without providing any cogent evidence raises more questions than answers.
According to another commentator, the votes accumulated on October 10th are deeply personal to Mr. Cummings after he was apparently outnumbered at the polls by the likes of Edward W. Appleton Jr., Cllr. Tiawan Saye Gongloe, and Lusine Kamara.
Another voter opined that Mr. Cummings results from the ballot box reflect the extent at which he and CPP had been politically x-rayed by voters across the country on 10, October, 2023.
“This is the kind of stuff that is not talked about,” said a local election observer of the 2023 Presidential and Legislative elections in Liberia. “Indeed, it is important to know whether a candidate is formidable or not,” added a woman, 26, who only identified herself as Martee.
CPP, in its previous statement, asserted that: “The outcome of the October 10 Elections must be seen by the people of Liberia to freely and fairly reflect their will, nothing else can be acceptable.”
On Tuesday, October 17, 2023, NEC released 100% of the provisional polls results as Boakai and Weah positioned themselves as forerunners for the Presidential race.
The NEC, at its regular press conference on Tuesday October 17, 2023, also announced the completion in tally of the results from 5, 796, out of a total of 5,890 polling places across the country, constituting 100% of the votes cast.
Of the results announced by NEC, which accounts for 1,920,641 valid votes former Vice President, Joseph Boakai of UP accumulated 786,205, amounting to 43.49%; while incumbent President Weah took 791,661, amounting to 43.79%.
So far, NEC said there are 94 polling places left, out of a total of 5,890 polling places.
But, as the NEC results were being released Monday, October 16, 2023, the CPP Political Leader, Alexander B. Cummings, who, during the campaign era, vowed to make incumbent President George Weah a “One-Term President” again issued statement, categorically questioning the credibility and integrity of the 10, October, 2023 polls results. Below is Mr. Cummings’ statement:
“My Fellow Liberians:
Thanks to all of you who voted on October 10. The high turnouts from all across the country, should remind all of us that Liberians cherish their hard-won democracy, and will do anything to preserve it.
On behalf of my family, Cllr. Charlyne Brumskine and her family; on behalf of our entire CPP family, all of our down-ballot candidates, and the entire campaign team; from the bottom of my heart, I thank all of our partisans, well-wishers and supporters for their courage to boldly and proudly stand with us and support the patriotic cause to fix our country.
“As Cllr. Brumskine and I campaigned with you, we came to renew our own faith in a better future for Liberia. That renewal of faith has come not from any acceptance from the top of the political class, but from the hopefulness of the grassroots – market women,
Statement by the Standard Bearer of the Collaborating Political Parties motorcyclist, healthcare workers, teachers, civil servants, farmers, street sellers, amongst many others.
“Change will happen. Real change will prevail. The fight for real change which we have begun cannot and will not be stopped! This is not because of me or Cllr. Brumskine. It is because of you, each and every one of our supporters, well-wishers, partisans and Liberians from ALL walks of Life.
“This is why, despite the ridiculousness in results being announced, my faith in God and belief in our people remain strong and unwavering. Change – real change – is on Liberia’s doorsteps. A few may succeed to conspire against it happening now, but real change will ultimately and inevitably happen because Liberians desire, will work for, and deserve it.
“Like many Liberians, including our fiercest critics, we too, are disbelieving of the results being announced. When Liberians Statement by the Standard Bearer of the Collaborating Political Parties voted, they did so in believing their votes would be reflected in the results. This is how democracy is supposed to properly function. The announced results ridiculously defy common sense. This is sowing an unhealthy impression about our democracy.
“People are feeling robbed of their right to freely and fairly express their will and choice for leadership. The scheme to rob the Liberian voter of their right to choose their leaders may be sophisticated and difficult to trace and prove, but in the end, it undermines our democracy and risks the security and stability of our country. The evil geniuses involved, and their co-conspirators may believe they can demoralize our right to vote. They may be thinking they can crush our desire to be governed democratically and live in peace.
“They are wrong. They are underestimating the resolve of the Liberian people. Liberians are no fools. Our nation has paid dearly for our cherished democracy. Let there be no mistake:
“Liberians are determined to preserve our hard-won peace and democracy. I have heard from many of our partisans, well-wishers and supporters. I feel your disappointment. I share your pain. I understand your anger. But we must not lose hope – not in ourselves, and definitely not in our country. We must continue to remain peaceful and law-abiding. We will win in the end.
“Let me assure all of you that we will continue to do everything within our power to investigate and bring to light what has happened. I promise you that no matter how long it takes, everyone involved will answer. There will be consequences for seeking to undermine Liberia’s young democracy and acting against the interests of the Liberian people.
“Fellow partisans, sympathizers and supporters, we must never give up on our country. Because of what we have dared to do, because of the spark for real change which we have started together – business will never be “as usual” in Liberia. This country will be fixed, now or later!
Liberians deserve better. This is a fact that cannot be denied in any ridiculous election result. The Liberian people want change. I have seen it. I have heard it. I continue to feel it. And I believe it. One day soon, real change will come. It may be delayed, but our just cause for real change is not, and will not be lost.
“Finally, as I have consistently said and advocated for, I strongly encourage and urge all Liberians to remain peaceful. I particularly call on our supporters, partisans, well-wishers and sympathizers to stand tall, and walk proudly. Let us all always put Liberia first.
May God bless you, and may He continue to bless our nation. I thank you.”
Notwithstanding, Cummings has been in the center of Liberian politics when he took over opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC) during the 2017 Presidential Elections.
Cummings came fourth during that Polls and many of his supporters believed that he would have turned the table in the October elections.
With such results, analysts say it is difficult to think about Cummings returning for the 2029 Presidency.