President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has for the first time admitted openly on international radio that she supports the presidential ambition of her Vice President, Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai.
President Sirleaf, speaking on the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) radio station last Monday, November 30, categorically stated that she is behind Amb. Boakai’s presidential bid.
President Sirleaf responded, “of course,” to Torwon Sulunteh Brown’s question when she asked the President if she was behind the vice president’s bid.
Mrs. Brown interviewed the President on a variety of national issues, including Vice President Boakai’s ambition for the presidency in 2017, when her second and final term expires.
Mrs. Brown’s “Talk with the President” show is conducted in very simple Liberian English, which both the host and her guest spoke, for all Liberians – simple and sophisticated — can understand.
The host designed the show to reach every nook and cranny of Liberia and that the conversation with the Chief Executive is understood by all Liberians.
In her response to Brown, President Sirleaf, trying to tell politicians to stop “early campaigning,” drew this line of question from the show’s host: “But, ehn da your Vice President started the whole thing? You behind him?”
The President then responded, “Of course! You asked me, I behind him, I said of course.”
This is the President’s first public confirmation of Mr. Boakai, who told Liberians on Friday, May 22 in Lofa County: “Today the people of Lofa have asked me as their son, nephew and uncle, to contest the 2017 [Presidential and General] Elections. To me, it was not a question of ‘whether he will do it,’ they said ‘do it.’”
Boakai stated that when the people of Lofa tell someone to do something, they mean it and will stand by that person.
“So today, I want to say to you that I am your servant and that is what I will continue to be. Today I want to say to you that there is nothing in my blood to say no to the great ‘nephews’ of Lofa County.”
Vice Boakai added that with Lofa people’s blessing and along with “all the friendship that we have, we say to you, we stand ready come 2017 to take the leadership of this country.”
In an interview with journalists the next day, Vice President Boakai said that President Sirleaf is fully supporting his 2017 presidential ambition.
Mr. Boakai, who has been with Madam Sirleaf since 2005 as successful running mates, stated that he respects procedures, and whatever he did in Lofa, the President was “quite aware.”
President Sirleaf was out of the country when Boakai made the disclosure that he got her backing. When she arrived in the country few days later, journalists asked if she was in the know of what her Vice President had said. She declined to comment on it. Since then, she has not openly spoken about it until last Monday.
This affirmative response from the President will definitely give the VP’s ambition a fresh boost.
Come 2017, Pres. Sirleaf’s constitutional mandate as the President of Liberia will be nearing its end. Besides the Amb. Boakai’s, many other contestants for the presidency are beginning to emerge to contest the vote in 2017. In that same year, there will be elections for new members of the House of Representatives.