In reaction to his detractors, including opposition political parties and other Liberians, that he has had a long career in public service, Unity Party standard bearer and Vice President of Liberia, Ambassador Joseph Nyuma Boakai said that most leaders of the opposition are or were also government officials.
VP Boakai made the statement yesterday at the Deepening Democracy Coalition (DDC) presidential candidates’ debate between him, Benoni Urey of the All Liberian Party (ALP), Charles Brumskine of Liberty Party (LP) and Alexander Cummings of Alternative National Congress (ANC) held at the Paynesville City Hall.
According to Boakai, most of those who are pointing fingers at him for serving the Liberian people for over 40 years are also officials of government who have worked and are still working for the government of Liberia in different capacities.
When questioned about his long service in government, the VP said, “As a man with over 40 years of public service experience, I do not believe in mere talk, but rather actions. I don’t believe in NATO – No Action, Talk Only. We need to be very practical in what we say and do.”
The Unity Party standard bearer indicated that a Boakai led government will open up the country with roads, which will spur economic and infrastructure development in the country. “We need to open up this country with roads. Liberians should be empowered. I lived here all my life and have nowhere else to go, and will stay here to ensure that Liberia moves forward,” he said.
“Liberians will judge us by our track record. If we improve the sanitation of our people, we will be able to improve the health and wellbeing of our people.”
Speaking on the issue of tribalism, ALP standard bearer Benoni Urey told Liberians that Boakai has given him no reason to believe that he is a tribalist, and urged other opposition political parties to stop preaching the divisive politics of “Congo vs. native,” calling on them to put the country first. “We must be cognizant that during this campaign, people would say anything to win. If I told you that I am an indigenous person, you wouldn’t believe it. On Christian State, we never thought anyone would have considered such foolishness. Now even some Muslims are supporting candidates who are proponents of the Christian State, and this is confusing.”
Several Liberians interviewed by the Daily Observer called on politicians to remain peaceful in the upcoming elections for the sake of the country. Ms. Felicia Brown, who didn’t identify which party she supports, told this paper that young people depend on their leaders for the kind of change they need in the country. Addressing VP Boakai’s remark that other oppositions officials also work in government, she said “the VP has served the country for several years but my point is that all of the positions he occupied in government had not been the position of a president, and Liberia is looking for a leader who can deliver the goods not the promises.”
Ms. Brown, 21, disclosed that she is finding the election process very difficult due to the huge number of aspirants, who she described as “those with no good intention for the country,” adding that “this debate has clearly set a stage, and we the young people are now wise enough to choose who will represent us.”
First time voter, Gabriel, 18, lauded the organizers of the debate for organizing what he described as “the best decision making day” of his life. “It’s the first time for me to be a part of the process, but I have been thinking of whom to trust my country with after several years living in poverty. All of what was said have given me the idea to cast my vote rightly,” he said.
He called on other youth to “clearly read between the lines” during the elections, “and say no to violence.”