By Julius T. Jaesen II
History of ancient political thoughts had long ago reminded us as aspiring contemporary political thinkers, philosophers, leaders and historians on the teachings of ancient Greek philosophical thinkers on issue of political leadership. Plato, a devoted student of Socrates who lived in Athens between 429-347 BC, was one of the greatest political philosophers who offered scholarly opinions on the concept of political leadership. Plato, an itinerant, sophistic and Socratic philosopher, insisted that the world problems would not cease to persist alongside man’s existence if philosopher-kings are not made leaders of the world. By this, one can infer that for one to be a leader, one must be a philosopher-king who carries superlative brilliance and intellectual pedigrees. Plato argued that a philosopher-king must be one that is virtuous and selfless, living simply and communally. Certainly, with such a person sitting at the frontier of leadership in any society, Plato averred that justice can be dispensed for the general good of society.
But dispiritingly, in African and some parts of the world, we are not projecting our best brains or philosopher-kings into political leadership. In 2017, Liberia, near the close end of Sirleaf’s administration, shocked the world when she lowered the bar of political leadership and passed the baton of leadership over to a footballer and a bottle-green leader to the Liberian presidency – which is the highest of all seats in the land. Disgustingly appalling, the footballing president has proven accurate what Socrates, Plato and their contemporaries all posited that political leadership should be preserved for only the philosopher-kings – those who are noble in character and intelligence.
Howbeit, as Liberians are searching deep for an alternative to the plethora of national disgrace the country now suffers under the leadership of a footballing president, Mr. Alexander Benedict Cummings, is one that a portion of our population seems to be gravitating to in their search for genuine leadership to the governance malaises confronting Liberia. According to political pundits and commentators, Mr. Cummings, as an opposition leader, has shown leadership and maturity over the last 8 months as Chairman of the main opposition CPP – thus proving his critics wrong that he lacks the qualities deserving of a good leader. Many supporters and people who are gravitating to the CPP as a pathfinder of hope to bring an end to the governance mess, and take our country from in the rabbit hole Weah has placed it since 2018 when he assumed the nation presidency, believe that Mr. Cummings stands tall amongst the constituent parties’ political leaders or flagbearers who is mentally and morally fit to lead the new Liberia our people envisage. They believe that Mr. Cummings, amongst other leaders in the CPP, has made lots of compromises for the CPP to be where it is today amid the rude and arrogant outbursts of some of the leaders and members of constituent parties in the arrangement.
Many believe that when one talks about the qualities of philosopher-kings spoken of by Socrates and Plato in the Republic, that a leader ought to possess, there is no peradventure that Mr. Alexander Benedict Cummings fits in that position. They believe, far away from the average politicians who just criticize leaders in power without valid policy solutions to the problems, Mr. Cummings offers authentic solutions to Liberia’s economic woes – something which sets him apart from his peers. He possesses a very strong intellect.
There is no molecule of doubt that during the 8-month tenure of Mr. Alexander Cummings as Chairman of the Collaborating Political Parties, the CPP has witnessed a wave or chronicle of achievements. During the turning over ceremony of the Chairmanship of the CPP to Senator Nyonblee Kargar-Lawrence of the Liberty Party, Mr. Cummings outlined several achievements the main opposition CPP scored under his leadership.
Below is a full address attended by a chronicle of achievements highlighted by Mr. Cummings whilst turning over the baton of leadership to the Liberty Party.
Today, I turn over the gavel of leadership to Sen. Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence and the Liberty Party after my 8-month tenure. It has been an absolute honour serving you all. Please see below brief points on the CPP achievements and activities under my leadership:
- CPP Accreditation by NEC
- Formation of all CPP Committees
- Formation of CPP Legislative Caucus
- Formation of CPP Legal Team
- Formation of CPP County Structures in 8 counties – Rivergee, Cape Mount, Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Grand Gedeh, Margibi,
- Launched CPP COVID Response/ Food Distribution Committee
- Met and exceeded the 30% women representation on parties’ tickets
- Successfully selected CPP Candidates for 2020 Bi-elections
– Held VPS in 3 counties
– Settled Nimba county Primary dispute
- Won 6 senatorial seats so far, 3 independents aligned with CPP, and 2 disputed counties pending the outcome of the legal case.
- Collaborated with Rainbow Alliance and CSOs on rejecting Referendum
- Conducted Southeastern Tour to support CPP Candidates and hard to reach counties
- Gave a National Address to the Nation on issues affecting the Nation
- Advocated for the Cleaning of the Voters Roll – VR significantly cleaned by ECOWAS Technical Team
- Advocated against the Referendum – Referendum was rejected by the public, and all propositions failed.
- Unexplained Deaths of Auditors
- Archie Ponpon Self-Emolution – contributed towards Ponpon’s medical bills and called for the salary payments of all civil servants
- Withdrawal from the National Food Distribution Committee for Irregularities- advocated against the irregularities and lack of transparency associated with the food distribution and withdrew CPP representatives from the process.
- Press Statements – Over the course of eight months, the CPP issued a dozen press statements and held a few press conferences to address issues of national concern to include:
– Statement in support of Edith Gongloe and Nimba Elections
– Statement Against Press Freedom – Threats against Radio Bushrod
– Statement of December 8 Preliminary Results
– Statement on Election Victory
– Joint Statement by CPP, Rainbow Alliance, and Civil Society or Referendum and VRU
– Statement on Cape Mount Electoral Violence Statement
– Statement on Supreme Court Grant of CPP Petition
– Statement/Letter to ECOWAS on Electoral Irregularity
– Statement on Grand Gedeh Violence
– CPP Protest Statements/letter to \NEC on unclean Voters Roll, tainted VRU, etc
– July 26 Statements
– CPP Response to 2020 State of the Nation Address
- Legal Actions– as a collaboration that promotes the rule of law, the CPP utilized the courts to action against egregious violations of our laws by the government. Paramount among these actions were a writ of mandamus to conduct the elections, clean the voters roll, and against the illegality of the Referendum.
- Payment of dues – financial difficulties faced by parties prevented the payment of stipulated dues and fees
- Nimba County primary – posed a risk to the cohesion of the CPP but was handled by the leadership.
- Fundraising- due to COVID, it was difficult to raise funds for the operations of the collaboration and funding for our candidates during the elections.
I pledge my full support to the Liberty Party and Madam Karnga Lawrence as they take the CPP forward. I will remain engaged with the CPP and the Liberian people and recommit to the process of ensuring the wellbeing of our people and nation. Thank you all.