While the public was anxiously glued to their radio last Friday to listen to President George Weah address the numerous economic and social issues confronting Liberia, the President, without much emphasis on the prevailing issues, was assertive in warning former Vice President Joseph Boakai to “behave”. In an apparent response, Mr. Boakai likened the rhetoric of the President and his party to that of a predatory insect.
President Weah had stated that he had helped the former Vice President with his medical bills and vehicles and therefore, the former VP should have expressed gratitude by not supporting the campaign calling for President Weah to “Step-down”.
Additionally, President Weah accused the former Vice President of making profane remarks about him, accusing him of being wicked. Earlier, former Vice President Joseph Boakai had issued a statement in the wake of publicity about the December 30 planned protest, calling on the government to dialogue with the protesters or provide them the security to carry on their protest as part of their constitutional rights.
He also addressed the economic issues of the country and emphasized how badly the economy has deteriorated and Liberians continue to suffer in their own country.
As President Weah faced journalists John Kollie and Ledgerhood Rennie in his first live radio interview on the ELBC, December 20, he described Boakai as “Ungrateful,” declaring, “Boakai has to behave.”
“Boakai spent 12 years of his life as a Vice President, he got sick, almost died, he didn’t have any support, and the only person that came to his aid is George Weah. A Boakai that I did almost everything for and gave him respect will sit down and try to oust my government,” President Weah said.
President Weah in his first-ever live interview on ELBC said he was shocked to note that the former Vice President had accused him of being a wicked person despite settling his medical bills for heart surgery—a statement the president could not prove.
On the following day, while addressing a group of students from the College of West Africa, his alma mater, former Vice President Boakai appeared to question the President’s upbringing, making reference to a biblical principle of discipline.
“Just yesterday, the leadership of this country took it to say all kinds of things about us. You see, the Bible says, ‘train up a child in a way that he should go and that when he is old, he cannot depart from it’. That’s the way he was brought up and those are the things he was trained to do. But thank God we have children who are brought up differently.”
Boakai further said: “We have a saying that you cannot burn down your house for mosquitoes because the mosquitoes will go and the house will be burned. This country has to be preserved.”
Without addressing the issues relating to medical bills and vehicles President Weah claimed to have given him, former Vice President Boakai’s supporters and other rational people have sharply reacted to the President’s comment through different media outlets.
A call-in section of Kool FM morning conversation solicited disdainful and annoyed reactions from the public, criticizing the President for not addressing the economic issues of the country but making what they called “a hypocritical statement” about his goodwill gesture towards the former Vice President.
Mo Ali, Unity Party Director of Press and Propaganda, posted documents on Facebook challenging President Weah’s comments about Boakai and stating that money and vehicles given the former Vice President were not from the current President, but that they were for state resources to which the former VP is entitled.