Liberia: “Boakai’s Painful Act of Betrayal”

Henry Costa, left, speaks  at a press conference yesterday accusing former Vice President Joseph Boakai of Painful Betrayal.

…. Costa withdraws support from UP standard bearer

Henry Costa, a staunch supporter of former Vice President Joseph Boakai, has announced that he and the All Liberia People Party were no longer supporting Boakai’s presidential bid. 

Costa, who for the last five years has been vocal in his support for Boakai, is now accusing his former ally of betraying the hopes and aspirations of the Liberian people and that of the All Liberian People Party, which stood by him during the darkest moments of his post vice presidency life.

You do not treat your allies”

In scathing public statements, Costa highlighted several reasons for the withdrawal of support from Boakai and cited the Unity Party political leader’s alleged association with corrupt politicians and his failure to distance himself from those who have been implicated in corruption scandals.

“You do not treat your allies and supporters with the level of disdain and malice that the ALP has been treated with over the years,” Costa said yesterday.  “If we were true partners to the Unity Party [and Boakai], such a critical decision as the selection of his running mate would have been done in consultation, considering there was no immediate rush for the April 28th announcement of Jeremiah Koung.”

“Boakai and the Unity Party have quickly forgotten the tremendous amount of sacrifice that ALP and its leaders, including myself, have made over the past decade standing against the ills in our society. Therefore, we will never compromise our values to support any and every thing just because we want power or to win an election.”

Boakai, in a quick response to Costa, wrote on Facebook that “Henry P. Costa is my son, and I hold nothing against him.”

“I forgive him, and I am always willing to work with every well-meaning Liberian to accomplish our mission to rescue Liberia,” Boakai wrote. “I would advise all to focus our attention on the mission to remove the nightmare we have presiding over our country. Let’s Think Liberia, Love Liberia, and Build Liberia.”

It however remains unclear how the breakup could impact Boakai’s election chances but it contains some damaging allegations that his opponents can use against him.

“We shall continue to stand up”

According to Costa, the former vice president’s actions were detrimental to their shared political agenda.  He claimed that the betrayal had been painful, and as a result, he and the All Liberian Party were severing ties with their former ally.

He added that the All Liberia Party, which in time past never wavered in its support for Boakai, is not going to support the Boakai’s presidential bid which has been hijacked by people who want power at all cost. 

Costa added that he had personally informed Boakai that he would discontinue his support if Koung, whom he  believes “stands for nothing, and has spent all his years in the House and Liberian Senate busy enriching himself,” was picked as a running mate.

“My fellow Liberians, Boakai [told] me that he would never make the mistake of selecting Jeremiah Koung as his running mate as it would be devastating for the country and he had the responsibility to pick someone with shared ideals. But of course, he would ultimately break his promise a few weeks later. 

“We shall continue to stand up for what we believe is right and only support a ticket we believe that has individuals with the same ideology as we do, to change the direction of our country for the betterment of all Liberians,” Costa added. 

“We did not abandon Boakai” 

He claimed that Koung, who had voted for every bad deal that came before him and never once stood up for the Liberian people’s interests/

Costa said he told Boakai Koung is a “political puppet of Prince Johnson’s, a very dangerous warlord who is under U.S. sanctions, would be deemed as a slap in the face to the United States, our oldest and most important partner.”

According to Costa, the All Liberian Party did not stand firmly over the years, only to dance with the ‘devil’ today for the sake of power and “feel very sorry that Boakai” would put himself through “this out of desperation.”

“My fellow Liberians, let me tell you all the truth, we did not abandon Boakai as they would have you believe, but rather it was him who abandoned us,” Costa said. 

“Even worse, he has also abandoned his own vision for the Liberian people. The All Liberian Party is no longer allies or partners with Boakai and his Unity Party. We no longer share the same ideals, vision, or values.”

The 30 Million Saga

On January 13, Costa claimed that he met with representatives of powerful individuals at the Royal Hotel in Liberia who offered him a substantial sum of money to run for presidency, citing a nationwide survey that showed his strong favorability.

However, Costa noted that he turned down the offer, as he was fully committed to supporting Boakai's candidacy. He added that if he had accepted the offer, it would have been a profound act of betrayal, and instead proposed that the monetary package be given to Boakai's campaign while he focused on running for the senate seat of Montserrado County.

“When it was my turn to speak or give an answer to the proposition that had just been made to me, I respectfully declined it.  I told them that I could not accept their money to run against Boakai for I was fully committed to his candidacy and I believed it would deeply devastate a man that I had come to love, admire, and enthusiastically support. 

“It would be the most painful act of betrayal, I believed at the time. The gentlemen were deeply disappointed by my answer, but ironically, they were also blown away and impressed by my loyalty to a man who is not even a remote relative of mine,” Costa claimed. 

“Considering the serious money problems that Uncle Joe was facing, which I am very well familiar with, I then passionately pleaded with the gentlemen to convey my humble and fervent request to their superiors that I wanted them to kindly divert and give the entire 30-million-dollar package to Boakai for his presidential campaign, while I would then focus on my already-declared bid for the senate seat of Montserrado County.” 

“When I delivered their terms”

In the weeks that followed, Costa claimed that as they waited for news from the financial backers, Boakai was putting him under considerable pressure for updates.  

On February 11, Costa said he received a response from the financial backers who expressed their disappointment in his refusal to run for president but agreed to support Boakai on one condition — that Boakai must choose him (Costa) as running mate. 

Surprisingly, Costa said, Boakai readily accepted the proposal, praising Costa’s loyalty and commitment. 

“When I delivered their terms or request to Amb. Boakai, he readily accepted and agreed. I was stunned. He went on to tell me how brilliant, loyal, patriotic I am, and what a godsend I have been to him over these past years and much more.” 

On March 16, Costa noted that Boakai and a delegation flew to Accra, Ghana, for a meeting with his financial backers. It was during this meeting that Boakai, in a shocking turn of events, spoke negatively about him to the financiers, Costa alleged. 

Boakai even promised the financiers additional favors, including the gift of the Wologizi mountain in Lofa County, Costa said.

The financiers, Costa claimed, were taken aback by Boakai's behavior, rejected his request and promptly informed Costa.

“I was hoping that the news of Uncle Joe’s betrayal was not true. But sadly, he confessed on the call that he did indeed betray me. After confessing his cruel action, he went further to apologize. He said, ‘Henry, I am not too old to say sorry when I have wronged someone, and what I did to you was very wrong, I am sorry. Please forgive me.’”

“On that call, I even told him that he did not have to select me as his running mate, but that we needed to find a way to bring the people back on board so as to not lose the golden opportunity. There were many other things we discussed on that call,” Costa disclosed, in his speech containing lots of allegations against Boakai.