By Rufus S. Berry II, Independent Political Analyst
The team that worked on Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai debate talking points did him a huge disservice. Instead of finding a way to embrace some of the accomplishments record of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration, VP Boakai ran away from the President as fast as his legs could carry him. Instead of claiming some of the successes and proudly inform the Liberian people during the debate that – together he and the president provided leadership, vision, and restored much needed HOPE to the Liberian people devastated by nearly 2 decades of destruction of lives and property, he decided to tell the Liberian people that the remarkable magnanimous and diligent ‘sports car’ was parked in the garage for years.
No Mr. Vice President, you and the President worked tirelessly to leave behind Liberia’s turbulent past and pursue a future of hope, transparency, accountability and opportunity. Mr. Vice President, you could have proudly informed the Liberian people that prior to 2006, Liberia’s external debt stood at $4.9 billion dollars. Together you and the President, with help from our international friends were able to cancel $4.9 billion of debt by reaching the completion point of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, with financial reforms approved by the World Bank and IMF. In doing so, your government was able to have greater resources available for investment in public services and poverty reduction. Yes Mr. Vice President, you and President accomplished a lot for the Liberian people – The roads to Nimba and Grand Bassa Counties were paved, thus reducing traveling time by many hours, and ensuring farmers less time to bring their goods market.
Seeing you Mr. Vice President unraveling yourself from your successes was almost comical. The hypothesis has long been established that you have done a fine job as vice president, and really do deserve credit for many of the administration’s accomplishments. Perhaps the Vice President did need to distance himself from the President Sirleaf’s failings at the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL), where she claimed full responsibility for the entity gross financial mismanagement and failure; but in doing so, he managed to distance himself from President Sirleaf’s public successes at the same time.
During the debate, the Vice President didn’t claim and thus did not receive much credit for the growth of the economy – Liberia’s national budget in 2006 was US$80 million, in six years, it increased to US$649.7 million. In 2006, the reserves at the Central Bank of Liberia were US$5 million, but increased significantly in less than seven years to about US$300 million. He also didn’t claim credit for working with the President to effectively put in place – procurement processes and financial management laws that promote transparency and accountability, thereby discouraging corruption. The Public Procurement and Concessions Commission Act was enacted into law with the intend to control government’s procurement and awarding of concessions.
Mr. Vice President, together you and the President accomplished a lot; however, if you think the race car was parked in the garage for twelve years and accomplished absolutely nothing at all, then the Liberian people would be wise, and rightly so to transfer this amazingly beautiful, hardworking and truth worthy race car from the garage to the museum.