"Good Journalism Makes Democracy Works"

A Retort to Strong Gbana Pekin’s Open Letter to Cummings

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By Julius T. Jaesen II 
Gbana Pekin, I read your letter to Mr. Alexander Cummings. It caught my attention to help you unpack the manifest flaws, inconsistency, dishonesty, moral hypocrisy, and intellectual laziness, I believe the letter publicly communicated. You claimed from numeric indicators, opinion polls conducted and conversations held with stakeholders and eligible voters point to Cummings presidential aspiration in 2023 to be “far-fetched”. But like many Facebook “intellectuals” who are desirous of being recognised as leaders of public opinions, your letter failed to pass the most basic test of intellectual or political credibility in its inability to refer to any credible source or authority that conducted said polls, or held non-partisan conversations with so-called eligible voters, which informed the decisions you sought to communicate. Until you do, the conclusion in your letter is limitedly partisan, a botched attempt at a political hack job, and unsupported by any credible analysis informed by verifiable evidence. It is intellectually lazy and dishonest to publicly present yourself to be considered a spokesperson for Liberians at home, from the comforts of your home in Canada, and offer reliance for your self-proclaimed position, your claim of being in touch with the reality back home.  


Interestingly, just three months ago, you asserted, and I quote verbatim: “Cdcians are actually afraid of Cummings; not Boakai. Their so-called favoring of Cummings is a pretense to make the CPP resolute to elect Boakai which would be an easy ride for them. Howbeit, my choice for 2023 is going to be between incumbent Weah and Cummings. Who proves the better in the next two and half years will have my support. I will definitely support one of them but that depends.” No later than 20 days ago, you again comically wrote: “Cummings, we beg you, please don’t be the cause of somebody Grandpa kicking ley bucket. Just allow him to head the ticket yah.” Suffering Liberians are right to now ask: Are you trying to get this failed and corrupt George Weah you voted for in 2017 reelected in 2023? 


The stark quality of your charitable inconsistency leaves the conclusion that you are either altogether clueless about “sociopolitical happenings in Liberia, or publicly colluding to return a bankrupt, kleptocratic and failed leadership of Liberia to power. I grant you that you may be arrogant in your false claim of being vested with sociopolitical happenings in the country, but your self-righteous arrogance alone cannot pass for facts – right now, it can hardly pass for a credible opinion. 


I hold no disagreement that politics and elections are about “numbers”. But numbers are never static. They are influenced by circumstances, messaging, and momentum. So far, the weaker and sick Boakai is short on, and cannot deliver on either, as time begins to draw its inevitable curtains on his long political career. 


Let me now react to your assertion that you spoke with Cummings recently and was highly impressed with how he cleverly articulated his policy prescriptions for our troubled country. You even claimed that it has been decades since you heard a Liberian politician impress you about his development plans for our country. How can you then be asking a man with unmatched clarity about the changes our country needs to subordinate himself to another older and sicker individual admittedly without a vision for the future of our country?


How can you be so weak and distrusting? What does it say about you that you are convinced an individual is a better candidate, and yet you ask him to pause his vision for our country for the convenience of another? Is it not a big part of the problem of our country that are ready to lower our own expectations and compromise against the best interests of our country because we obviously lack the courage and fortitude to challenge the claims and ideas of others – claims and ideas we know are pulling our country in the wrong direction? How dare you suggest that Cummings could be unforgiving by Liberians for fighting for the change he believes in, and you know to be right for our country?


If you know that a Cummings victory will be best for Liberia; should you not be in the front of the queue banging on doors and speaking our people for a new way and a new day for our country which you convincingly found in Cummings? Where is your patriotism? Where is your love for country? Do you really think this is only about Cummings, Boakai and Weah?


I thank God for the likes of Alexander Cummings who dare to challenge not just the leadership of our country but all of the supercilious myths about who is politically knowledgeable and entitled to leadership by reason other than the capacity to lead and govern justly and accountably. I find special inspiration in Cummings challenging Liberians not to settle for naysayers and armchair critics who profess to know it all but will give nothing to fight for what they know or believe. 


“Cummings can’t win”, some of you who are too lazy to stand up for your country are screaming in surrender. I prefer to fight next to such an honorable Cummings, and to lose fighting and giving my all and best for my country than to follow another into the abyss and down a known path of no change and regrets, only because, “Boakai can win”. Win to do what? Repeat failures? Gbana Pekin, shame on you, and the likes of you who know what is right for our country but are  surrendering in temerity and lack of fortitude to embrace and accept what is wrong for our country. For the sake of our country, let us pray and work as hard as we can to see Cummings succeed as opposed to sucking ourselves into the same tired and discredited thought process of easy surrender and dangerous compromises which have combined to ensure our country has remained backward, corrupt and poor. Liberia will always lose with this sense of hypocrisy.


If you are truly convinced that Cummings offers the best ideas and visions for Liberians, get off your rockers in Canada and beat the bushes across our villages and towns and help him get elected. The changes he seeks is for our country and not personal. Stop the hyperventilating quarterbacking and self-seeking sand-cutting in the usual ways that will only keep our country poor and corrupt, and you choosing to continue to live abroad while Liberians at home suffer the wrath of wretched thievery and incompetent leaderships. This is what every true Liberian worthy of any love for country should be doing. By the way, it’s what true Gbana Pekins would be doing.


To draw such an unfounded conclusion like you have done in your letter renders yourself inconsequential to the determination of Liberia’s future and insults the collective intelligence of our people who shunned Boakai overwhelmingly in a runoff with Weah in 2017, and opted for a change. There has been one voting constant in Liberia – change. From electing a woman for the first time in 2005 to opting for a grass-rooter and ranked outsider whose footballing exploits and ascent told the tale of a love for country; Liberians have overwhelmingly tried through our votes to change our country. Undoubtedly, the results have not matched the expectations of the people. But Liberians have not lost faith in the need for change. In 2023, neither Boakai nor Weah will represent real change. Cummings will.  


As we move to 2023, we must not agree to settle for mediocrity. Liberia deserves to move forward not to remain chained to its past. Asking Cummings you considered far more qualified and competent than most of those aspiring for the nation’s presidency or any Liberian similarly situated in his shoes to wait for another six years, is like asking not just Cummings but our country to suspend its desire for change, and wait for six more years before electing a competent leadership to deliver on changes our nation craves.  


A more detailed and instructive analysis of the 2017 numbers was recently done by Ricardo Nimely. I urge you to find time to read it. It will amaze you discredited your claim to 2017 numbers is. Suffice to say, as a function of the period of each of the candidates’ time in politics and “knownness” to the electorate, the first round numbers of 2017 has Cummings easily flipped from fifth to runaway first, and Boakai topped by statistically insignificant Urey.  Running on his years of experience, the power of incumbency and bearing the standard of an experienced and recognised political party, and at the apex of his political career, Boakai’s first round “number” was disgracefully poor and dreadful, even if one accounted for the “curse” of incumbency. In real political terms and analysis, Boakai performed the least, and Cummings outperformed everyone including Weah.


I have already spent enough time dealing with this intellectual laziness of Gbana Pekin. Let me conclude by saying Liberians are not looking to elect anyone for their “humility and selflessness”, the seeming measure of which is to waste the country’s time or return us to the decadent past. Liberians will vote for change – real change in leadership, policies and direction of the country. Anyone who thinks otherwise, it really doesn’t matter how loud you scream or from where you scream, you are wrong, do not know Liberians, are likely swayed by the noisemakers and anti-change elements, and will be proved wrong in 2023.
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