An opposition political institution chaired by constant progressive politician, Prof. Alaric Tokpa with the Biomedical Doctor and political leader, Dr. Yanquoi Kargbo, has overwhelmingly endorsed the candidacy of Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, former United People Party (UPP) stalwart, standard bearer of the ruling Unity Party (UP).
Opposition coalition took the decision to endorse VP Boakai at the end of a two-day extra-ordinary Convention held in Bentol, Montserrado over the weekend. The Convention, which brought together counties chapters’ delegates from the 15 political sub-divisions, witnessed debates on the political agenda and way forward for 2017.
The coalition decision comes in support of Boakai in spite of what some considered as the dismal performance of the UP-led government under President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
This means Boakai’s dream to step into President Sirleaf’s political shoes seems to be the choice of many neutrals that are very skeptical of the intents of the plethora of presidential aspirants, such that many who are new on the political landscape are turning their support toward VP Boakai.
Now at the helm of the party as its new standard bearer, Vice President Boakai also appears to be the melting point for those who consider themselves indigenous Liberians, especially those who are proponents of the ‘Americo-Liberians (Congo) versus Indigenous’ politics.
These are Liberians who want power shift in the political and economic spheres of the country. By their wish, VP Boakai is positioned by no mistake.
These two factors seem to be giving the UP’s newly elected political leader leverage as the 2017 presidential and legislative elections approach.
For this, the National Democratic Coalition (NDC) said it took the decision on grounds that VP Boakai is best suited to adequately steer the affairs of the country, most especially when Liberia is at the crossroad of leadership deficit.
The NDC, which over several elections (2015, 2014 senatorial by-election, 2011 elections), has opposed the UP, took the decision to support VP Boakai on grounds that he is an “ideological comrade to cadres, militants and Senior comrades of the NDC and his vision and thoughts bear a resemblance to the Progressive Grassroots politics in the country.”
Accepting the endorsement, VP Boakai recognized the efforts of key members of the coalition and also considered some of them as graduates of the one-time maximum security prison, Belle Yalla, because of their advocacy for the voiceless and for social justice in the regime of the late President Samuel K. Doe.
UP’s national convention on Saturday, July 8, in Gbarnga, Bong County, witnessed the election of VP Boakai as the party’s new political leader and standard bearer to replace President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf whose term ends in 2017.
Several other partisans elected to various slots included the chair, Wilmot Paye, the secretary-general, Eugene Nagbe, and other partisans to the positions of women wing chairlady, youth wing chairperson, etc.
VP Boakai and Mr. Paye were elected on white ballots respectively.
It may be recalled that apart from the massive support that the ‘Boakai Movement’ and other related organizations are receiving from every corner of the country since the VP declared his intention to contest the presidency. The pull of support was clearly evident at the UP convention in Gbarnga.
Shortly after President Sirleaf cast a white ballot that eventually confirmed Boakai as the elected standard bearer of the party at the Gbarnga convention, some influential opposition political figures from the former ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP) and Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) publicly declared support to the candidacy of VP Boakai.
The influential and members of the Senate included NPP’s Dan Morais, CDC’s Peter Coleman and former Chair of the CDC Geraldine Doe-Sheriff who, though left the party years ago under an acrimonious circumstance, appeared somewhat conservative in her remarks.
Senator Morias publicly declared his membership of the “Joseph Nyumah Boakai (JNB) Movement,” saying, “We are with you,” adding that, the fact that he (Sen. Morias) had been embraced by the UP and was witnessing the ushering in of a new democratic dispensation, that was enough to send home the message.
For Senator Coleman, whatever UP decides would be responsible for Liberia’s destiny for the next six years, and expressed his desire to be part of that process, adding, “I traveled the length and breadth of this country, and I see, I’m a witness to the transformation this country is undergoing.”
Therefore, he noted, “we want to ensure that the transformation continued.”