Boakai’s Mammoth Display—Can It Take Him All the Way?

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By all accounts, it was the biggest parade Monrovia has seen in recent times—so big, so overwhelming that it reportedly made Vice President Joseph N. Boakai cry.

That is why he did not deliver his prepared address to the mammoth crowd that overwhelmed the Antoinette Tubman Stadium last Saturday.

The full text of the address was instead published in the Daily Observer yesterday as a special supplement.

Why did so many people turn out on a day when the rainfall poured heavily throughout, even into the night? Some say it was out of admiration for Mr. Boakai’s faithful stewardship as President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s second in command. Throughout the 12 years of their administration he has remained faithful and loyal to her and her leadership, never once uttering a word of discontent, although there was certainly much to complain about.

Even though she reportedly showed up at his house, telling him he could not win without her and suggesting running mates he should choose, he politely and gracefully declined, but showed no anger, nor did he utter a word to the press or publicly.

He has remained always the humble and unassuming Joe Boakai who has consistently kept his cool in the face of political maneuverings by his boss, who was allegedly leaning toward presidential candidate Brumskine and even George Weah, by dint of one of her close confidantes, former Senate President Pro Tempore Gbehzongar Findley of Grand Bassa suddenly quitting the Unity Party and joining Weah’s Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).

In the perception of many, the most unbelievable, unexpected and incomprehensible rebuff of all was her predetermined failure to attend Saturday’s launching of UP standard bearer Boakai’s presidential campaign. It was predetermined because even though she said she would not attend it, not many actually believed she would have gone that far.

Alas she did! In keeping with her pledge to broadcaster Cyrus Badio during an interview on state radio ELBC. Many believe that the overwhelming turnout on Saturday was partly in reaction to their utter displeasure at the President’s treatment of the man who had stood firmly by her side for two successive terms and faithfully served her and her government. We heard many say that their primary motivation for turning out was because of the way she had treated Mr. Boakai, who had done her no wrong. Their perception of what they considered Ellen’s ingratitude was what propelled them to the streets on Saturday.

In all this, Mr. Boakai as a Christian, has played his cards very prudently (sensibly, pragmatically). This staunch Baptist remembered and adhered authentically (faithfully) to Jesus’ tough and difficult words of caution: “Love your enemies. Do good to them who spitefully use you.”

What the President has done is very hard to understand. The Daily Observer, considering her series of political maneuverings at the onset of the campaign, once ruefully (regretfully) wondered editorially what had the Unity Party done to Ellen?

We answered our own question at the time by saying the only thing we remember the party having done to her was to cause her to be elected twice to the Liberian presidency. But maybe one day in her memoirs she will explain herself, if ever she can, why she treated the party and, most especially, Vice President Boakai the way she has.

How many times in our lives have we not heard the saying, “God doesn’t like ugly.”

Is the Almighty about, once again, to prove what the Kpelle, Lorma, Vai, Gola, Gbandi, Kissi and Mende have said for centuries: “Kaifé Yalama,” or “Kassimbe Kamba mei,” which means, “There is no rust on God’s back.” In other words, God is pure and, according to the Holy Bible, “There is no unrighteousness in Him.”

He did not like the ugliness of the Egyptians in enslaving His people, the Israelites, and so after 400 years, He raised Moses and empowered him miraculously to bring His people out of Egypt.

In our own situation, the Almighty also rejected the ugliness of several tyrannical regimes in Africa, including Liberia, and eliminated leaders who thought they had been given power to brutalize, enslave and kill their people. That was until God put on His short trousers and soon, these tyrants were gone, never to return!

Is God about to do another number in Liberia? Is He about to reward Joseph Boakai’s humility and faithfulness, by ushering him as the next President of Liberia?

This remains to be seen. As we recently warned editorially, mammoth crowds do not necessarily mean votes. Many, however, believe that the crowds we saw last Saturday were not for nothing.

Whatever the case, we have to wait and see whether or not those crowds will be able to take Mr. Boakai all the way to the Mansion.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Time will tell whether any of these huge campaign events would translate into votes. However, After the flare, flash, and wide splash of her vice president’s coming – out ceremony, at which she was conspicuously absent, the UN meeting in New York provides a convenient alibi for EJS to skip, a not too congenial, capital city. Needless to say, because fortunately for us, foreign policy is her forte, she would excel in whatever forum of the General Assembly whenever called upon: Amen to that!

    Furthermore, happily for the Iron Lady, whether by design or happenstance, her reported low approval at home is somewhat mitigated by a loyal international community which has been showering honors and fortunes on her. Nothing demonstrates this situation more tellingly than the present moment; for instance, while most UP partisans would’ve liked to see her stay in Monrovia to eat crow by the outpour of support their candidate got during the launching, she was saved by the UN, so to speak.

    But more mature members of the party console themselves with the probability that her absence could be a blessing in disguise for three reasons. First, Boakai could get a sympathy vote which, according to many observers, fueled the huge emotional turnout. Second, strangely, it provides cover for the vice president in disassociating himself from her unfulfilled promises. And, third, it has the potential of energizing an urban and rural base for UP in a contest whose ideal presidential ticket ought to have been a Country – Congua team as in the cases of CDC, ALP, ANC, and LP.

    Anyway, as we’ve said before, Liberians can’t throw away the baby with the bathwater; EJS is in New York in the service of her nation and people doing what she does best – advocating for country and region. She has catapulted us once again onto the world stage, and that platform responded with investments and other assistance which weren’t wisely used. Thankfully, the connections she established stay intact, and for that she deserves some gratitude.

    As the Kru people say, “Eh wlati, eh saylay weh” meaning “it wasted, it isn’t finished”. Put another way, the fruits of the international nexus and goodwill EJS resuscitated were squandered, but more seeds are still in the soil. And ref the coming elections, let the Liberian people freely choose their political leadership for the next six years, so that together they will start the heavy – lifting of national cohesion and nation – building

  2. “What the President has done is very hard to understand. The Daily Observer, considering her series of political maneuverings at the onset of the campaign, once ruefully (regretfully) wondered editorially what had the Unity Party done to Ellen?”

    Daily Observer, Lets GET REAL! Are you seriously asking the above question? If you are you are simply not been fair to Ellen!

    The answer to your question is that given the fact that politics is about self interest, the Unity Party did wrong to Ellen by vehemently rejecting and outcasting her political heir her son Robert Sirleaf…an act which is bound to cause anyone to react the manner in which Ellen has reacted to the party and those at the peak of the partyś power.

    Lets face it! If Boakai, Sherman, Tyler, Paye, etc. etc. were in Ellenś shoes, they would have desired exactly what Ellen desired viz the planting or at least retainment of her son in the Liberian political superclass!

    Secondly, if your editorial that the mammoth crowd was the sympathetic result from the NON-SUPPORT OR ZERO SUPPORT from Ellen to Boakai, then the Unity Party Montserrado campaign manager Senator Geraldine Doe Sheriff lied a few days ago, when she said: ” Ellen supports Boakai big time”!

    Thirdly, neither your P.R. EDITORIAL for a corrupt Boakai incumbent Unity Party, nor any amount of sympathy from “Boakai’s Mammoth Display—Can Take Him All the Way”, for the odds are too many against him! A very common evidence is the “mammoth” or tumultuous reception given to George Weah and Jewel Howard in Boakaiś own county–Lofa! .. a reception even Boakai failed to receive in his own home county!

    • I’m not sure Robert Sirleaf was running as a UP candidate, was he? If I remember correctly, he was running as an independent candidate. Notwithstanding, Robert Sirleaf was attacked by party officials making scurrilous comments about his sexuality, etc. consequently, I’m sure Ellen doesn’t want to have anything to do with these people. They politically maimed her favored son, how can she forget that?

  3. JNB will prevail on October 10 not as a protest to EJS arrogance but on merit given Uncle Joe’s professional accomplishments.

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