Liberia: Weah Takes On Cummings – Says Sanctioned Officials Deserve Due Process

Monrovia — Dismissing three sanctioned officials of government is far from Pres. George Weah’s plans despite numerous calls for him to do so. He says, he would rather grant them due process as also suggested by the U.S. government.

His disclosure was contained in a response to the political leader of the Alternative National Congress, Mr. Alexander Cummings, who also in an open letter to the President stated that the “mere suspension” does not measure up to the weight of the allegations leveled against them.

“Your response, Mr. President, is not commensurate with the magnitude and gravity of this international scandal and national shame. Mere suspension of these officials is tantamount to thumping your nose at the United States and our most important development partner. Those involved are your close confidants and partisans. Your lack of decisive action could raise suspicion of your personal involvement in these activities and receipt of benefits from the thievery and abuse. It has serious implications for yourself and smears the image of our country,” Cummings stated in the open letter.

President Weah reminded Cummings of the allegation of forgery brought against him by other political leaders in the opposition but he was accorded the opportunity of due process.

Pres. Weah: “Now, you are saying that others should be deprived of that same opportunity to due process. Let me remind you that the very U.S. Government that you referenced called for due process and the application of Liberian law as was stated by Ambassador McCarthy when he unveiled the designations “we stand ready to support the Government of Liberia in pursuit of its own investigation of corruption in its jurisdiction, understanding that you will apply Liberian law in an appropriate, transparent and timely manner”.

Cummings who believes the President is taking the sanctions and fight against corruption lightly said his “weak and indecisive” actions which do not equal the gravity of the allegations would scare investors away from Liberia.

However, President Weah intimated that the United States and other international partners recognize the strides that his government is making toward consolidating democracy and good governance.

He stated that in recent years, his government has instituted more measures to fight corruption.

He stated: “Two years ago, we convened local and international stakeholders to discuss ways in which the historical menace of corruption can be tackled. We also sponsored a major gathering of Liberia’s Judiciary to ponder over statutes that have tended to inhibit the fight against corruption.

“Suggestions from these gatherings were included in the new LACC Act recently passed by the Liberian Legislature. This has given us much international acclaim, including from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which positively appraised my administration’s efforts at fiscal prudence, macroeconomic stability, projected growth in spite of global inflation, and other good governance measures in its recent statement on Liberia.”

President Weah also took time off to distance himself from the Liberian Senate’s recent decision to amend the election law and call for all current magistrates to resign and reapply.

His reaction to this matter was in response to Mr. Cummings statement that he said, “The recent decision of the Liberian Senate to remove and replace all electoral magistrates who are trained and experienced. This decision is not recommended by the National Elections Commission and is unsupported by any reasoning that advances our nation’s need for increased fairness and improved credibility in our electoral processes. Even worse, it positions the Senate, if not the entire Legislature, to meddle in the employment of election magistrates, which is the duty of the NEC. This, therefore, leaves the unfortunate impression that it is unhelpful, if not even hurtful to the conduct of free, fair, and credible elections in 2023, a process that is pivotal to the consolidation of peace, security, and democracy in our country.”

Cummings called on the President to veto the bill when it reaches his desk for signing.

However, countering Cummings on the matter, Pres. Weah stated that the bill did not emanate from his office, but rather from the Senate and would require the concurrence of the House of Representatives before it reaches his desk for signing or veto.

“As a former Senator, let me take this opportunity to school you in the workings of the Senate, the Legislature in general, and its relationship with the Executive in the passage of laws. A vote by the Senate on any bill does not come to the desk of the President. A vote by the Senate requires concurrence by the House of Representatives before it is submitted to the Office of the President for his signature or veto,” Pres. Weah stated.

President Weah further informed Cummings that he has over the years dedicated his life to peace to the extent that he cut short his career to helping bring an end to the war in Liberia and carry out disarmament. Therefore, there would be no way he would support the utterance of Rep. Solomon George who said he would ensure the disappearance of individuals who criticize the President if he were made the Inspector General of Police.

“I do not condone violence in any form whatsoever. It runs contrary to my beliefs. I have made that clear in all my public statements. It is therefore malicious that in your seeming desperation to be President, you would trumpet anything and everything that comes to mind, including your disingenuous posit that I condone violence,” Pres. Weah stated. Cummings had reminded Pres. Weah that there have been many suspicious deaths and mysterious murders under his leadership, therefore, such utterances call for concern and must be condemned by him, the President.

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