Vice President Joseph Boakai has revealed that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is in full support of his ambition to contest for the presidency in 2017.
Come 2017, Pres. Sirleaf’s constitutional mandate as the President of Liberia will be nearing its end. Many contestants for the presidency are expected to emerge, one of whom might be the VP since he has now accepted Lofaians’ petition for him to join the race in 2017. In that same year, Liberians will also be voting to elect new members of the House of Representatives.
On Saturday, May 23, the Vice President told journalists, who travelled with him and his entourage on a weeklong tour of Lofa County, “You see, I believe in procedures [when] working with people. I know the President and I are on [the same] course.
“The President is aware. In fact, the President has not come out openly. But the President has said to me on several occasions, ‘Joe, it’s you that I am looking forward to, to replace me.’ So, I am not just here jumping the gun,” explained the VP.
Mr. Boakai, who has been Madam Sirleaf’s VP since 2005 when they both won the elections, stated that he respects procedures and whatever he did in Lofa, the President is “quite aware.”
Asked who his running mate might be, preferably a younger person, he responded: “When we come to that bridge we will cross it. It’s too early.”
Amb. Boakai also responded to concerns about his running on the Unity Party’s ticket. Some Liberians associate the ruling party with poor governance, lack of development orientation and vision and many wonder what difference Mr. Boakai will make to change the perspectives of those Liberians who have a negative view of the present administration.
To this VP Boakai replied, “The fact of the matter is that they only have problems with the party because they know the party is doing something. What about the party that you know has done nothing? So when we get to that bridge, we will cross it. But Liberians, we have to know that Unity Party has done and is doing something.”
Despite agreeing that his party is not “perfect,” he, however, maintained that it has done and is doing something, which should be appreciated.
The VP spoke to journalists a day after he had accepted a petition from Lofaians to contest the presidency. On Friday, May 22, during the program at which he was petitioned, Senator Cllr. Varney Sherman, chairman of the UP, spoke but did not openly endorse the VP’s ambition.
Commenting on Sen. Sherman’s caution, VP Boakai said: “I think [Senator] Varney Sherman is a very smart person. We are in a party and in a process; we are not at a convention. The fact that he came here to be a part of this process in itself is a welcoming idea because he knows that I am the Vice Standard bearer of the party. He is aware that I am a very staunch member of the party so he is here as a partisan and chairman of the party to witness the process.”
The VP agreed that it would have been a mistake on the part of Sen. Sherman or Mr. Wilmot Paye, UP’s Secretary General, to make an endorsement.
The Daily Observer could not obtain a comment from the President’s office on what the VP had said due to her absence from the country.