When A VP Selection Process Becomes A National Celebration

Posted May 30, 2023
by Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh

Presidential candidate Alexander B. Cummings Jr. and his Alternative National Congress (ANC) political party did what most candidates would do when they don’t want to cede the spotlight to the opponent.

They generate a national buzz, a spotlight that gives them a brief momentum that shifts the narratives their way to make people talk good and bad about their chances of winning the presidential race.

It is a political strategy of knowing what you want as a candidate, and if you don’t win the election for other reasons such as appearing weak, inept, and uncharismatic, lack a vision, lack practical policy prescriptions, and the direction you want to take the country, your chances of winning the presidency are zero to nothing.

Known to be uncharismatic and dour, and quiet and at times uncommunicative, this guy, Alexander B. Cummings Jr. is George Manneh Weah 2.0; the crudely taciturn, unprepared, and inept President of Liberia whose nightmarish hold on the Liberian presidency has been a painful nightmare to a people and nation looking for a competent, visionary and compassionate leader.

On May 27, 2023, Mr. Cummings officially selected Attorney Charlyne Brumskine, a political neophyte and heir to the Brumskine political dynasty, whose late father Charles Brumskine was himself a former presidential candidate and founder of the Liberty Party.

As heir and carrier of the Brumskine name, Charlyne Brumskine became the public face of the Liberty Party, which made her the favorite to win the District #3 Buchanan City seat in the House of Representatives when she agreed to run for the seat back in 2022.

As is the case with most politicians (even though she acknowledges not being a career politician), the ambitious Ms. Brumskine got bitten by the bug and quickly converted from an independent run for the House of Representatives to being on the vp ticket of Alexander Cummings, who went looking for a running mate and got one.

However, like presidential candidate, Joseph Nyuma Boika who chose his running mate, Senator Jeremiah Kpan Koung a month earlier, on April 28, to much national fanfare and jubilation, Mr. Cummungs, not to be left behind, introduced his running mate to an enthusiastic partisan crowd that believed in him and his selection of Charlyne Brumskine as the perfect ticket to victory in October 2023.

Missing in the vice president selection process and the national hoopla and publicity that comes with it was the Liberian People’s Party’s presidential candidate Tiawon Gongloe, who ceded the spotlight to his opponents at a time when that group needed all the goodwill and free publicity to keep the candidate’s name on the front burner as a formidable foe who is willing to go toe-to-toe with any name in the race to win the Executive Mansion.

Playing a low profile and a wait-and-see attitude in a highly contested presidential campaign, playing second or third fiddle, and living in the past, as we all know, is delusional, not smart politics but a recipe for defeat.

A way to win elections is to be bold and energetic, creative and adventurous, and have enough funds to carry the campaign to the finish line, have brilliant political minds around, have a convincing political strategy, have a clear and convincing bread-and-butter message about creating jobs and investments, visibility and vision, believability, and hard work.

The Battle of the vice presidential selection process became a national talking point all across Liberia and in Liberian chatrooms – in a country where presidential politics is an insane obsession, as supporters and opponents trashed each other’s party pick as unfit and in the pockets of powerful political figures whom they believed will remotely control the eventual nominee who they also believe will be a powerless stooge and president in name only.

These concerns have weights and meanings and are reasons to think twice or thrice about the two presidential candidates – Joseph Nyuma Boikai and Alexander B. Cummings, Jr., and even think about the incumbent president George Manneh Weah, whose running mates or kingmakers have ties to figures with sordid pasts who are either in prison, is wanted for war crimes or is swirling in corruption charges that seemed not to go away.

Dubbed ‘Fixer 1’ and ‘Fixer 2,’ a nod to Boikai’s ‘Rescue Team’ moniker, Mr. Cummings’ Achilles heels are his association with the slippery former warlord Prince Johnson to whom he donated a whopping $25,000 towards his so-called education fund.

Mr. Boikai also embraced Prince Johnson’s choice of Jeremiah Koung as Boikai’s VP pick which drew suspicion from the Liberian political sphere and human rights activists. Musa Hassan Bility, a Boikai guy, has been associated with alleged corruption but has yet to be indicted, while Jewel Howard Taylor, the incumbent vice president is the wife or former wife of the disgraced and jailed former president Charles Taylor, who sits in a European prison for war crimes.
The question now is, what are Cummings and Brumskine trying to fix and what are Boakai and Koung trying to rescue, and how are these individuals going to fix and rescue anything in the country when they can hardly fix the mess around them and rescue anything in their own political parties, the Unity Party (UP), the Alternative National Congress (ANC), and the Liberty Party (LP), and even the Collaborative Political Parties (CPP), they proudly belonged to or once belong to?

If you cannot dissociate yourself from the shady figures in your own party and around you now, and you failed to rescue yourself from the mess in the country and the administration you once served faithfully and dutifully for 12 years, any discussion about fixing and rescuing anything in the country is just crazy talk to get elected.

Folks, it is presidential election season in Liberia, and the VP selection process just got started. Join the national celebration, or stay away.



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