Let Nuquay Provide Clarity on His Recorded Statement

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On July 13, following the announcement by Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai that Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay would be his running mate in the October election, a recorded voice of Nuquay was played on a local radio station in Monrovia in which he threatened those who, while exercising their right to free speech, will ‘bring their rudeness’ to the government he anticipates serving as Vice President. According to the recorded remarks, excerpts of which are published in the Daily Observer, Speaker Nuquay among other things said people who badmouth the government must know that they will pay for what they had to say.

Nuquay’s selection by VP Boakai had earlier sparked contention among some members of the Unity Party and the VP’s other supporters for his alleged corrupt practices and selfishness, with some saying this recording has added weight to reasons for which the Unity Party ticket should be rejected on election day.

There is no evidence yet to substantiate corruption allegations levied against Nuquay. However, this recorded threat against people who may insult leaders is widely seen as undermining the gains the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Administration has made in defending free speech, characterized over the years by many opposition voices using the opportunity to insult the President and other leaders of the country. The statement poses a threat to the media and especially the talk show host, Henry Costa, who played it. Costa is widely known in Liberia for being vocal and in most instances unorthodox in making use of the very free speech the Constitution provides for, and which the Sirleaf Administration defends.

Now that the political season is heating up, Liberians expect to hear platforms and visions politicians have for the country so they can evaluate them and choose the one they will deem expedient to vote for. But as the vice running mate of the Unity Party makes such a statement, it rings bell in the ears of people who know the days of the tyrannical regimes of Charles Taylor and Samuel Doe. During these regimes, the Liberian Constitution whose article 15(a) gives every Liberian the right to freedom of expression, was here; and yet, no one could criticize these leaders. Could Nuquay’s statement mean a repeat of history?

There is another side to this statement by the UP vice running mate to consider.

The Liberian Constitution provides that “Every person shall have the right to freedom of expression, being fully responsible for the abuse thereof.” If this portion could be applied to Speaker Nuquay’s comment, how then is his government going to hold people responsible for abuse of free speech? What means will that government be using to apply this constitutional provision?

Nuquay’s statement also brings to mind concerns about his submission and dedication to his boss in case they are victorious in the pending election. In the two successive elections and administrations of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, no ear has recorded any statement unbecoming of Vice President Joseph Boakai.

We cannot exactly state from whence Boakai’s silence comes, but our Constitution provided some conditions that could restrict the Vice President not to say or do what he would want to do or say. Article 51 of the Liberian Constitution provides that “There shall be a Vice President who shall assist the President in the discharge of his/her functions. The Vice President shall be elected on the same political ticket and shall serve the same term as the President. The Vice President shall be President of the Senate and preside over its deliberations without the right to vote, except in the case of a tie vote. He/she shall attend meetings of the cabinet and other governmental meetings and shall perform such functions as the President shall delegate or deem appropriate; provided that no powers specifically vested in the President by the provisions of this Constitution shall be delegated to the Vice President.” With this provision, one could conclude the Vice President acts as is delegated to him/her by the President and will in no way exercise power of his/her own. But such a statement by Nuquay makes one to wonder how dedicated and committed he will be if he becomes Vice President of Liberia.

In spite of the high wave of corruption and some disdainful situations by this government, Vice President Joseph Boakai is on record for not making any public statement that will undermine his boss, President Sirleaf, neither to exalt himself, but will always say: “On behalf of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the government and people of Liberia…”

What will Nuquay say if he becomes Vice President, as he starts his vice running mate journey with such a threat that his presidential candidate would never utter?

We note with interest that Vice President Boakai, as standard bearer of the UP, has not come out to reject the remarks made by Nuquay.  Perhaps the VP is giving his running mate the opportunity to address his own troubling remarks.

These questions reflecting public concerns can only be clarified by the UP vice standard bearer, Emmanuel Nuquay; and he and his party should make up their minds to clarify and disclose their platforms and visions for Liberia.

5 COMMENTS

    • What has Hon. Nuquay done, to necessitate the volume of negative propaganda being directed at him? In fact, what’s bad about threatening to institute disciplinary action against indiscipline people? Are you inferring that the culture of impunity should be encouraged, in the name of free speech? I don’t understand why these cowards are hanging on every word, and action of our gallant aspirants, to react. Why don’t you simply provide your platform, so that the voter can begin to critique you? Have you accepted the fact that The Ruling Unity Party is about to spank you again? Please leave us with our Boakai-Nuquay Ticket, after all we are satisfy with it. “Cry your own Cry” yaaaa……….

  1. Bamakpa or whoever, this is not the way to address impunity. A leader does not react to criticisms or cynical statements by being emotionally irresponsible. If the alleged recordings are true of the Speaker, then this is the case of the old saying that “a chuild not yet has growing teeth.” It is indeed, worrying.

  2. Sendolo is seeking clarity from Speaker Nuquay about an obviously bogus tape instead of asking the critical questions. First to be established is the solid fact that the player of the tape, a. lackey of Urey called Costa, is not a credible person, let alone an honest one.
    Before playing the tape, Costa provided no accompanying explanation to enlighten his audience as to how he obtained the tape, from whom, the occasion on which the tape was made, the question or incident that prompted the alleged outburst by Speaker Nuquay, the names of some of the audience members. In other words, Costa did not journalistically authenticate his material. Oh how interesting it would have been for Costa to have accompany the playing of the tape with an interview of some of those who had been physically present in the audience when the Speaker made the alleged threat!
    But the attacks against the Speaker should not be surprising. The Congua establishment sees the Boakai & Nuquay Ticket as the most potent threat to Congua stranglehold on Liberia. Boakai and Nuquay are nationalists genuinely committed to making Liberia a prosperous African democracy as opposed to remaining a replica of a 19th Century American slave plantation.
    Have we so soon forgotten Brumskine’s infamous Press Conference when he rained down insults on VP Boakai as a Country man? Have we so soon forgotten the late Senator Bedel Fahn’s letter complaining that then President Pro-Temp of the Senate Brumskine had called him a “Country fool”?
    Was it not Joaquin Sendolo who wrote a story in the Daily Observer describing how Benoni Urey went on radio to declare how he had advised former President Taylor not to hire Native Liberians in big government positions when Moses Blah returned from testifying against Taylor in The Hague?
    Why is the Media not dwelling on these significant events as the nation moves forward to Election Day? Why is it that the Media always seek to minimize the sins of the Congua while amplifying those of the Natives? Is Journalist Joaquin Sendolo also a self-hating Native?
    After 170 years of independence and consecutive Congo domination of Liberia, what do we have to show for it that would encourage us to elect another Congo man as the next President of Liberia?
    My advice to the Liberian people is simple: Let us not waver in our support for Boakai & Nuquay.

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