Liberia’s Vice President Joseph Boakai, on last Saturday held a town hall meeting to meet with his fellow countrymen in the United States to acquaint them on developments and the state of their country. The Vice President town hall meeting was hosted at the outskirt of the city of Philadelphia in the state of Pennsylvania.
Shortly after the Vice President Boakai had exhausted his speech to a capacity filled Christ Lutheran Church, protesters seized the auditorium and began to heckle across the floor subsequently shouting down the entire deliberation for most of the second half of the program. Stunt by the Protest, the Liberian Vice President sat quietly as protesters shouted and the entire meeting went into disarray for several minutes before Mr. Anthony Kesselly, Policy Adviser to the Vice President and a long time Philadelphia resident who recently returned to his native country to serve his country, called for police backup to disburse the protesters. He got in heated confrontation with the protesters, frowning on their action.
The Darby police asked responded to the scene and asked the protesters to leave the hall. The protesters moved their protest outside of the church and intensify it outside dissipating a barrage of anger. Some of the protesters carried banners reading “Stop the corruption”, Free the 29 Grand Gedeans “, while others shouted, “Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is a criminal”, Joseph Boakai is a criminal. Other shouted, “Where is the Liberian people money”, Joseph Boakai sold Wologisi mountain” , “Robert Sirleaf stole US $2 billion while there is no good school” and “those who killed us must be banished”, among others
After the police asked the protesters out of the auditorium, they continued unabated within the limits of the church such that the chaos from outside impeded the smooth conduct of the meeting inside the auditorium as police stood by while the protest went on.
Before the protest, the Liberian Vice President told his fellow countrymen that he was the first elected official to officially visit the state of Pennsylvania. He said, “people say we can’t come here but I am here; I will go wherever Liberians are”. Vice President Boakai told the Liberian Diaspora community that the government is striving even though there is much to be done.
Responding questions from audience, such as why corruption is endemic and the accused are going with impunity, the Vice President admitted that there is corruption within the government but blamed the lack of prosecution on the overcrowding of the court’s docket and slow pace of the Justice Ministry to pursue those cases. On the concern of why the government continues to hold 29 of its citizens from the Krahn tribe of the late Samuel K Doe who have been found with no sufficient evidence to extradite to the Ivory Coast upon the request of the Ivorian government on grounds that they were involved in acts to destabilize the Ivorian government, the Liberian Vice President said it takes time to process cases but emphasized the government was not witch-hunting any Liberian group or persons from the Krahn tribe and that he also as a kinsmen from that tribe and won’t see the logic of targeting the very group he is part of.
Addressing the 68 audits that were conduct by international firm on contracts awarded to foreign companies, say found that only two of the 68 audits were legal, the Vice President said the government is reviewing the contracts because they were told they made some mistakes and they are working those mistakes.
The Liberian Vice President was escorted out of the premises after the meeting had adjoined under heavy security provided by the Borough of Upper Darby Police and FBI officers as protesters were still outside of the church continuing their protest.