All Liberians have the right to become President of Liberia and am sure VP Boakai is of no exception. However, given the under-performance of the UP-led government of which VP Boakai is the Vice Standard bearer, I am not too sure that using the same UP to ascend to power come 2017 could hold water because of the stigma upon UP for its poor performance, and subjecting thousands of Liberian in abject poverty. No matter what happens, however, he cannot run away from his own shadow (UP).
Secondly, Liberians might want to avoid the re-emergence of the True-Whig Party dynasty in the form of UP. In Liberian politics, people win elections at times when the party is popular and they also lose when the party is unpopular. UP, in my mind, is very much unpopular at the moment with the Liberian people given the huge economic hardship the country now faces. Youth unemployment is high, prostitution is on the increase and the natural resources of the country have been sold to foreign companies at a cheap price while Liberians wallop in poverty. Most Liberians believe that by electing VP Boakai on the ticket of UP will be a form of sanctioning the existence of poverty brought by the UP on the Liberian people and exonerating President Sirleaf and all her corrupt officials for the rampant corruption they have promoted in Liberia. If UP wins again in 2017, President Sirleaf will definitely boast that she was the right President and that her party (UP) is the best for the Liberian people. For this reason, a RED card for the UP is the best option for most Liberians.
However, VP Boakai might just narrowly win the election in 2017 if the opposition continues to be scattered like farming rice. The opposition has never been together. In fact, they have even gone against civil society organizations like the Campaigners for Change, one of their best allies and partner in the fight for social justice. Traditionally, the Kissi people, one of the 15 tribes of Liberia where VP Boakai hails from, are considered the Uncles of Liberia. In a traditional Liberian setting, no one is allowed to challenge his uncle in anything, least to mention an election! Doing this is an affront to our traditional and cultural oath and one might just be condemned if they dare try it. Given the illiteracy rate in Liberia (75%) which has given the unfair advantage to traditional and cultural practices, VP Boakai might just been seen as the untouchable traditional one in the 2017 election because the traditional leaders will definitely see him as their UNCLE and as one of their kind.
Additionally, the UP is on record for dividing the opposition which is a tactical political move and if the UP succeeds [again] in this political game come 2017, VP Boakai might just ride a white horse from Foya to the Executive Mansion while the opposition sits and listens to the echoes of the drums and Kissi sasas from Foya in agony. If the opposition holds together and puts the interest of Liberia first, regardless of their big titles, then I am sure the UP will meet its demise in 2017. Lastly, if VP Boakai succeeds in hiding the UP symbol by forming a coalition, then I am sorry for the opposition again because, the debate will no longer be about UP but a new breed of leaders in the new Coalition. Whether we like it or not, all politicians in Liberia have one way or another been a part of some opposition parties and the debate of VP Boakai been a member of the UP might not be of relevance any longer.
Stay tuned for Part 2!
About the Author: Vandalark R. Patricks is a Liberian youth, community volunteer, a civil rights activist and head of Campaigners for Change, a national civil rights movement and youth development organization in Liberia. He can be reached by phone: +231886976142/+231775869451 or via email: [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]