— Boakai warns as crowds swarm in support of his presidential bid
“First and foremost, let me make it abundantly clear and assure you that any plans or attempts to thwart the will of the Liberian people by stealing these elections will be forcefully resisted by us, the people of Liberia, and the international community, which has invested so much in the peace and stability of this country.”
These are the words of Former Vice President Joseph Boakai — the main challenger to President George Weah — spoken in no uncertain terms as his opposition Unity Party overflowed the iconic Antoinette Tubman Stadium, during its official campaign launch on Sunday, September 17, 2023.
An exuberant Boakai, who is contesting against Weah in a rematch of 2017 elections, told the crowd that the “people-centered Unity Party Alliance” would win the October 10 polls and alter the “direction of our multiparty democracy in an election victory as never before seen.”
“And as I said before, we will also leave no stone unturned to work with international prosecutors to expose and arrest those who would foster electoral violence and derail our hard-won peace,” he declared.
Boakai who lost 2017 elections to Weah by a whopping margin in the runoff — capturing only one county out of 15 — is hoping that yesterday’s crowd of supporters, dressed in green and white and who defied the heavy downpour of rain, would go out and campaign vigorously to “rescue the county” from the Weah administration, which he claims has failed the country.
According to Boakai, demonstration of support he received from supporters during his campaign launch would have the biggest impact if it translates into votes.
The former VP Boakai has constantly claimed on the campaign trial over the last few weeks that he has the support to win the election in its first round, which is only possible if he can inspire an unprecedented turnout in his favor — far beyond his ‘support base’ — to reach the constitutional threshold of 50 percent plus one vote in order to win the election.
“As we all know; this demonstration of support will have its biggest impact when you go to the polls on October 10 to vote and vote massively for the Unity Party Alliance to see the change that you demand. Knock on doors, take your children, your parents, family members, friends, and neighbors to the polling stations to vote, and be vigilant to protect the votes.
“As we embark on this campaign, I ask for your trust, your support, and your vote,” Boakai said. “Together, we can create a future that we can all be proud of — a future that upholds our shared values, protects our freedoms and promotes the well-being of every citizen. Let us march forward, hand in hand, towards a brighter tomorrow.”
He added that he is of the belief that the Liberian people, who have started a revolution and a mass movement, will rise and mobilize “our people to vote for the Unity Party,” and “ensure victory” come October 10.
The former Vice President also noted that when given the mandate to lead Liberia, his administration would make transparency and accountability as cornerstones of his people centered administration.
He pledged “to be a leader who listens, who engages, and who values the input of every citizen,” so that every Liberian can have the opportunity to actively participate in the “decision-making process” of the country.
“Your ideas will shape our policies, and your feedback will hold us accountable. Together, we will establish a government that fosters trust and encourages dialogue.
“We will not allow the resources of this country to be mortgaged by a few people for their selfish interests. The people of this country and their government under our stewardship will be equal partners in the judicious exploitation of national resources for the good of the people,” Boakai said. “If there must be economic growth from the exploitation of our resources, that growth must be equal for our people and must come with development.”
According to Boakai, whose supporters made their presence felt across Montserrado County, his administration’s transformation agenda would be driven not just by the people, but value for education, which he says is key to achieve a thriving society.
He promised that if elected President, his administration will invest in schools, teachers, and students to ensure that “quality education is accessible to all.”
“By equipping our young minds with the knowledge and skills they need, we will unlock their potentials, drive innovation, enhance their dignity and secure a prosperous future for our nation.
“We will not allow the resources of this country to be mortgaged by a few people for their selfish interests,” the former VP said. “The people of this country and their government under our stewardship will be equal partners in the judicious exploitation of national resources for the good of the people.”
He added that his presidency would restore Liberia’s
“respect among the comity of nations” and reverse the country’s image “as a narco-state, where it is gradually becoming a transshipment point for illegal drugs and a place of attraction for transnational criminal enterprises.”
“Liberians will be proud of their country again, and this country will once again be the destination for people in Africa and around the world.
“Our country has never been at a worse point since the restoration of democratic governance in 2006, and at this juncture in our history, there can never be a better time than now for Liberians to make one of the most important decisions to save the future of their children. I am encouraged by this great show of support,” Boakai added.
“There can be no patriotic duty but a determination to democratically unseat this regime, curtail corruption, stop the relentless pillaging of the national coffers, and usher in a responsive and responsible government,” he urged.
Meanwhile, the Boakai campaign launch, which was held in similar fashion across the country, saw his supporters, particular those in Montserrado County, chanting slogans like “we are tired of kush; we don’t want you”; and “We gave you six years and you were dancing buga dance.” These were directed at Boakai’s opponent.
The parade for the launch kicked off with officials from the Unity Party Opposition alliance walking with large crowds of supporters from various locations in Montserrado County to the iconic Antoinette Tubman Stadium, located at the corner of UN Drive and Lynch Streets.
Although the National Elections Commission declared campaign season opened in August, Boakai and Weah began canvassing for the Presidency earlier than most other presidential candidates with political rallies disguised as “Thank You” rallies.