Cummings (right) and Sulunteh. The Alternative National Congress (ANC) has named Liberia’s former Ambassador to the United States, Canada and Mexico, Jeremiah C. Sulunteh as running mate to the party’s standard bearer, Alexander B. Cummings (nicknamed ABC), barely two months after Sulunteh resigned from the governing Unity Party (UP).Cummings announced Sulunteh as his running mate, shortly after he was formally endorsed as standard bearer by members of the party’s executive committee.The ceremony, which was witnessed by party delegates from Liberia’s 15 counties, was held last Saturday at the Kakata City Hall in Margibi County.Since he crossed over to the ANC last month, Sulunteh has been accompanying Mr. Cummings on his trips across Liberia – the most recent one being to Gbarpolu and Bomi counties where the ANC held primaries that endorsed Cummings as standard bearer.Shortly after the Cummings-Sulunteh ticket was announced, executive committee members of the party described Mr. Cummings’ election as historic, “because of the political trend the ANC has illustrated. It is the first of its kind in the country’s political history for the political leader of a party to be elected standard bearer through a county-by-county primary election,” they asserted.The ANC is one of Liberia’s newest political parties, having gained full-fledged party status in 2013.Cummings said, “The party is dedicated to creating an inclusive government that will work for Liberians at all levels.”Meanwhile, Sulunteh served as senior national vice chairman of the ruling Unity Party that successfully re-elected President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2011. He resigned from the party on February 15.After his endorsement, Sulunteh expressed gratitude to the ANC and Mr. Cummings. “I am honored by my election as Cummings’ vice standard bearer. I believe and trust in Cummings’ leadership capacity and I am also inspired by Mr. Cummings and by his leadership. He is the best alternative Liberia has longed for due primarily to the many challenges the country faces. He is a reformer and achiever. The leadership and dedication of Cummings has inspired me so much, and the structural cohesion at the ANC has impressed me as well,” said Sulunteh.“With me as your pick, send me, because we will both sail Liberia to the destination where our children and children’s children can be proud of,” Sulunteh added.A crowd of Sulunteh supporters, under the banner, “Friends of Jeremiah Sulunteh,” also joined the ANC activities on Saturday.Mr. Sulunteh rose through the ranks of Liberia’s public service from senior commercial aide at the Bong County Agriculture Development Project in 1981, to the position of Liberia’s Ambassador to the United States, Mexico and Canada.He has held several cabinet positions, including Minister of Transport, Minister of Labor, Transport and Post and Telecommunications. Following his first appointment as Transport Minister, Sulunteh undertook a project to build an elementary and junior high school in his hometown of Gboimu.In addition, Mr. Sulunteh taught Economic Development at the Cuttington University Graduate School, his alma mater, and Public Finance Administration at the University of Liberia. He and his wife, Kabeh, are blessed with three children.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
By Devina SamarooPresident David Granger has completely disregarded calls made by the Alliance For Change (AFC) for the powers entrusted to Minister of State Joseph Harmon to be reduced, noting that his duties and responsibilities are not at all too burdensome.The AFC, the smaller partner in the A Partnership for National Unity/AFC coalition Government, believes that too much authority has been given to Minister Harmon.In this regard, the party called for Harmon’s powers to be trimmed. The AFC had explained that the concentration of the powers of the office of the Cabinet Secretary, the Minister of State in the Ministry of the Presidency and the effective Head of the Presidential Secretariat in a single person is a matter of concern and that in fact, the powers should be separated.Responding to these demands, President Granger appeared to be in full support of the duties and responsibilities assigned to Minister Harmon.“I don’t think that they are so burdensome that he cannot take all three responsibilities. I am standing by the duties which were assigned to him last May and this is what we have been working with for the last 11 months and this is what was explained to the Cabinet retreat in January,” the President said.He also posited that he was surprised that the AFC now seemed to find fault in the distribution of duties and responsibilities among Cabinet members.“We had a retreat of the Cabinet earlier this year and we put out a very clear statement on the responsibilities of all 14 Ministers and the Ministry of the Presidency. So there is a book and it is stated, and nobody made any objections to the duties which were assigned to the Minister of State then and it would be surprising that after two months, people feel that the duties are being misused or they need to be trimmed,” he explained.Notwithstanding his firm position in defence of Minister Harmon, the President said the matter would be extensively discussed when Cabinet meets today.“I have to wait to find out from our colleagues what they actually mean, but as far as I am concerned, there is no overburdening of the Ministry and I don’t see what powers they need to be reduced,” he stated.