Video Courtesy: Dauda Sekou Bility
By J K K Peah
The ruling Unity Party of Liberia on Saturday, September 16, 2017 came out in full force pundits and observers would never had expected as the streets of Monrovia were scene of sea of green and white as far the the eyes could see as the party officially launched its 2017 campaign for the October 10th election.
The huge turnout of partisans and supporters of Vice President Joseph Boakai candidacy appeared as a slap in the face to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, daring her that her presence and support of her Vice her President and the party whether forthcoming or not, would not stop the cadres of the party and supporters of her Vice President from embracing the odds of the rain and bad weather to show up in their numbers and send a defiant signal that they will ensure her Vice President is elected President of Liberia in the October 10th election.
President Sirleaf was AWOL (Absent Without Leave) and did not attend her party official campaign launch, an action unprecedented in the history of partisan politics and democracy that the standard bearer of a political party and least to say a ruling party, not to attend the official launching of the party’s campaign and Presidency, especially when a siting Vice President to the President is seeking to succeed her as she leaves office because she exhausted her two-term limit.
It has been an open secret in Liberia that President Sirleaf was not supporting her Vice President, Joseph Boakai bid to succeed her as President and she has over time made conflicting statements both and abroad whether she supports her Vice President’s bid to succeed her.
The Liberian leader refusal to attend her party’s official campaign launch and her Vice President’s candidacy defies the tradition of partisan politics and democracy as well as common moral decency and respect for a fellow human being especially , a Vice President who had been very loyal and instrumental in electing their leadership in two successive elections by winning his constituency, Lofa county, the forth vote-rich county of the country.
This open revolt of the President against her Vice President and party is cruelty in the highest order and ingratitude to her Vice President and his constituent, Lofa County and a payback no man or her party would be fond of, especially considering how far they have come together and at they would need her support, she would instead undermine them…… no one deserves this sort of treatment, especially coming from a President to her loyal Vice President.
Maxwell, a resident of Monrovia, said, “I have not seen such a turnout of people brought out in the streets of Monrovia and the country as the ruling party official launch did”.
President Sirleaf’s excuse for not attending her party’s official campaign launch and show of support for her Vice President was that she had earlier scheduled to visit a local women group to perform a groundbreaking ceremony of project they were undertaking.
The Liberian leader has always been accused of not supporting her Vice President Presidential bid but supports opposition candidates including the Liberty Party and lately, the country’s largest opposition party of football icon George Weah, which prompted stalwarts of the party such as the party’s Chairman Emeritus, Senator Varney Sherman to publicly comment that the “Unity Party” does not need President Sirleaf’s support.
It is believde that President Sirleaf’s disdain for her Vice President’s Presidential bid is rooted in his refusal to accept opposition leader, Charles Brumskine, believed to be her cousin of the Liberty Party as his Vice Presidential candidate she recommended, insisting, as he told a gathering of Liberians in the United States, he “would prefer to choose his own Vice President in the same merit and fashion she did when she came to him asking he be her Vice Presidential candidate”.
President Sirleaf’s open revolt against her Vice President could backfire and energize a once reluctant electorates to show up force and cast their ballots for Vice President Joseph Boakai, whether they like him or not but as a defiant to the Liberian leader and the chance of the option the oppositionntaking power could come crushing in far worst defeat they could had expected.