Liberia is no Israel but there seems to be more “Doubting Thomases” here than that Middle-eastern nation, where the dictum “Seeing is believing” might have been demonstrated initially. However, in the Liberian case, the support or lack thereof from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to her long-term lieutenant Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai has been one of the most debated topics of the 2017 political season.
Many have doubted and persistently argued reports that President Sirleaf is lending no support to her VP though several UP stalwarts, including party Chairman Wilmot Paye and Assistant Secretary General Mo Ali and even at some point the VP himself disclosed that they haven’t seen any support from the UP standard bearer emeritus.
These doubters need not to doubt anymore as images of President Sirleaf with the standard bearer of the opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Senator George Weah, at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Gbarnga to Guinea border road pavement project were shared on social media.
The President and the CDC leader were performing the official ceremony to begin the construction process—a situation that baffled many including many confidantes of the Liberian leader.
This project is expected to see the undertaking of the construction of an asphalt road of approximately 81km long and 7.5 km wide, from Gbarnga, Bong County to Salayea, Lofa County, the home of the Vice President.
Lofa County overwhelmingly voted for the President and her UP government in 2005 and 2011, but is yet to experience any substantial development initiatives that would impact the lives of its citizens. VP Boakai, who hails from the county, has however been taking the shots from his people for what they termed as undeserving neglect from a government where he should represent them.
It is in this regard that many had thought that the construction of the Lofa road would have given the UP standard bearer face before his kinsmen — a most appropriate platform being the groundbreaking ceremony of this milestone project for Lofa County?
The President instead took along the VP’s political arch-rival, Sen. Weah, to perform the the groundbreaking ceremony. The images from the ceremony went viral with mixed reactions as many thought that the VP is not being fairly treated by his boss.
The President’s first act of ingratitude towards her chief lieutenant, according to many, was when she thought to downplay the official launch of the ruling party’s campaign in favor a groundbreaking ceremony of a clinic in Bomi County.
There were many reactions as images from the ceremony emerged yesterday.
A staunch supporter of the ruling Unity Party (UP) based in the United States, Jesse Fahngon, stated on social media that the President is a glaring example of deceit and ingratitude. “This is what happens when your boss has a DOUBLE FACE and shows political ingratitude! She is a boss who leads by manipulation,” Fahngon said.
Another supporter, Jerome Golafaie, said this is a period of trial and tribulation for VP Boakai and he will definitely overcome to win the presidency.
“All of this will come to pass and JNB will win this election even if cheated. JNB is the future for our nation because he has a plan and platform. He speaks his heart to the Liberian people. A true hero sent by Almighty God. Our nation is at a crossroads now and action is urgently needed to redirect its path from this pending calamity,” said Golafaie
However, by appearing side-by-side with the CDC political leader in Bong County, President Sirleaf seems to have clarified allegations of campaigning for the CDC, though she has the right to support whichever political campaign she wishes. She said the CDC was not invited to the ceremony, but that an invitation was rather extended to Bong Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor, who happens to be the vice standard bearer of the CDC.
Though the President said an invitation was not extended to Senator Weah, there are reports and images of him allegedly chairing a meeting with officials of the Chinese Company, CHICO, prior to the groundbreaking ceremony.
A top official of the CDC campaign team, Sekou Kalasco Damaro, also confirmed on his Facebook page that his political leader was invited to form part of the ceremony.
Damaro posted on Facebook: “The government of Liberia has just broken grounds for the pavement of the Gbarnga Salayea road. At that occasion the political leader, The Political B-52, The Country Giant, and Liberia’s next President, Sen George Weah, was invited to the occasion. This 81 kilometers road will be done by the Chinese Company CHICO, the road is from Gbarnga to the Guinea border. The incoming and the outgoing! Nobody can fight Destiny!”
The Vice President’s Project
The President, at the ceremony, appeared to have regretted the absence of the vice president at the ceremony—although she noted that the project belongs to him. “I am so sorry that my Vice President Joseph Boakai is not here to dedicate this road along with me, but this is his project,” she said.
Meanwhile, while endorsing the presidential bid of VP Boakai on Wednesday, the political leader of the All Liberian Party (ALP), Benoni Urey, said Liberians should not vote Weah because he is not independent and is being controlled by President Sirleaf, calling her the “evil hand.”
Urey accused her of being Liberia’s problems for the last 40 years. “Liberia’s problem for the past 40 years is Ellen; she masterminded the war and is currently tearing the country apart!”
He among others accused the President of being the mastermind of Liberian civil conflicts that led to the deaths of over two hundred thousand lives and the destruction of properties worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
“I want you all to be convinced of one thing, that we fought a good fight. Our problems in this country is one person; one woman in this country that has stagnated us as a people for 40 years.
“The international community invested millions of dollars in these elections, and she changed it from an election to a selection,” Urey said, probably referencing the alleged gross manipulations that marred the October 10 polls.
Many believe the President’s quest to impose her will upon the Liberian people might have led to the current political stalemate that has resulted in litigation after litigation.