Liberia: Cummings – ‘I Promised to Work With Everyone Who Desires Real Change for Liberia’

Monrovia — Cummings’ 44-member 2023 team announced on October 4 did not settle well with all members of the public, especially the opposition community who criticized him for harboring alleged warlords on the team.

The ANC political leader and standard bearer of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) was heavily criticized for preaching accountability and justice, yet being in political bed with Lewis Brown, Yekeh Kolubah and Daniel Natheen, who are all accused of having links with the Liberian civil war.

He was also criticized for having on his team some ex-officials of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s regime who were deemed corrupt by the public and illy mentioned in audit reports.

Breaking his silence on the barrage of criticisms, Cummings said he is prepared to work with anyone who is willing to work towards real change for Liberia. He said is opposed to excluding citizens from the enjoyment of all of the rights and privileges of their citizenship, unless such Liberians are excluded by the law from doing so. This is why, as President, I will exclude no one, not even me, from answering to the law whenever required to do so.

Mr. Cummings said, while the unbiased dispensation of justice is key to the growth of democracy and ensuring equal rights for all, “the powerful in our society believe justice ought to be selective and should exclude them from its reach. They therefore wrongly conspire to weaponize “justice” against perceived political opponents.”

He further criticized the justice system for up for sale – only available to those who can afford it.

He said, “Over the years, our national journey has shown that the achievement of democracy has remained mostly aspirational. Our democracy, while deeply cherished, is fragile. It must be protected and sustained by higher commitments to justice, accountability, and respect for the rule of law. Unfortunately, Justice, that important pillar of democracy that ensures equality of all persons, continues to elude our nation.”

Cummings said he looks forward to a justice system that punishes wrong irrespective of who committed it and a judicial system void of political interference.

Cummings: “I speak of professionals rather than partisans in law enforcement so that investigations protect accusers and accused alike, evidence point the way, and victims are protected rather than overburdened with high costs for investigative attention. Here, too, I speak against ‘guilt by association’ or passing judgement on account of prejudice.”

He challenged the only appointed Chief Justice Sie-A-Nyene Youh’s leadership of the judiciary to resist all forms of political interference, especially as the country heads toward the 2023 elections. “I acknowledge that the system and administration of justice in our country are in dire need of urgent reforms. But this must not excuse our individual responsibilities to stand for what is right especially when preferred to do only that which is right for the nation,” he said.

Cummings, however, called for the end to impunity, describing it as wrong as it “paves the way for the commission of more crimes”.

He said, “Liberia ought not to be told that crimes ought to never go unpunished, or that persons with power must act responsibly and be fully accountable for the use or abuse of their powers.

“This is a duty of all lawful societies and democratic nations. Needless to say, we placed this duty upon ourselves back in 1847, when we publicly, and repeatedly thereafter, pronounced ourselves to be a free, independent and democratic nation of the world.

Liberia must, therefore, end the seemingly unending culture of impunity and exclusion. Our society cannot continue to be an environment where especially people with power believe themselves to be above the law, or that the law ought not to apply equally to them. The law must apply equally to all persons regardless of power, position, name, religion, connections, or tribe.”

He expressed his support for the establishment of war crimes court and said he would pursue such establishment with all determination when elected President of Liberia.

“I am therefore grateful to hear of the promised support of the United States Government for this effort. While it may be named “War and Economic Crimes Court”, especially for economic crimes, it is time to set the right examples that Liberia will be a country of laws and not of men,” he said.


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