An official of the National Democratic Coalition (NDC), one of the several opposition political parties in Liberia has given a very gloomy perspective of the chances of former vice president under the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Mr. Joseph Boakai winning the 2023 presidential elections in Liberia.
Former Liberia’s Immigration Chief, Abraham Mitchell says Mr. Joseph Boakai brings nothing extra-ordinary and illustrious to the leadership trait of the Liberian presidency, whether by education, ideology, or personification, or particularly in terms of national achievement.
Mr. Mitchell points out that besides being a handpicked Vice President under Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Joseph Boakai has had no prior records as an active participant in the struggle for change in Liberia.
“Nobody knows where Joseph Boakai stands politically and ideologically in terms of the future direction of post-war reform in Liberia. All good will of support for the pap during the 2017 Elections were based on speculations and presumptions, in a desperate search for a national leader.
“On the other hand, former Vice President Boakai who is playing the indigenous North-Central card for the presidency for the 2023 elections to replace President Weah, is budged down with multiple contradictions. Firstly, the stigma of twelve (12) years of the Unity Party rule, and he as Vice President of a regime publically known for its massive corruption and non-performance, is critical.”
Mr. Mitchell, a longtime political activate writing his opinion in the Concord Times online notes that Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf did not want any glory to come to Boakai, thus, her administration hardly did anything for the development of Lofa County the home of VP Boakai of her 12 year-rule; the fact that Boakai would be an extension of the Sirleaf’s as well as the unnecessary awarding the Unity for failure, would be a major card.
He added that President George Weah and his CDC government only need to pay a little more particular and strategic attention to the home county of Boakai (Lofa) up to 2023 and then the Boakai factor in the elections could become a non-factor.
He wrote that the campaign by the former vice president and others to portray themselves as better than President George Manneh Weah in terms of leadership materials for the presidency is a sham, and cannot be substantiated.
“Boakai has always played cool in Liberian politics as a YMCA humble servant. On critical and sober reflections, Boakai brings to politics and government nothing but common sense. In essence, Joseph Boakai is just another Liberian politician, with little or no extra-ordinary leadership pedigrees, and should be compared to previous inept and obsolete Liberian elders that were handpicked to leadership by vicious war lords, because they were seen to be lukewarm, and represented no threats; such were the cases of the Kpormakpor’s, Sankawulo’s, Ruth Sando Perry’s, Bismarck Kuyon’s, or Chief Tamba Taylor’s, the moribund Chief, in a state of senility that was handpicked by Charles Taylor as a factional transitional leader during the civil war.”
Mitchell opined that as a strategy of divide-and-permanent rule, the elements of the establishment elites in Liberia always use characters as “these (indigenous assimilators) to confuse the people.”
He narrated that Boakai went to high school at the College of West Africa (CWA), the elite of elitist schools of the establishment class; he rose from being a student janitor, to a high school president – having travelled from rural Liberia to Monrovia as a disadvantaged peasant youth.
Mr. Mitchell explained that Mr. Boakai’s situation is graphically similar to Jackson F. Doe’s, a young peasant migrant who migrated from Nimba County to Monrovia, and allegedly coopted into the Americo-Liberian ruling True Whig Party.
As a humble and a subservient peasant indigene, politically, Mitchell noted that Jackson F. Doe became National Vice Chairman of the Grand Old True Whig Party – being groomed as Liberia’s possible Mangosuthu Buthelez in the waiting (as in the case of South Africa) or Rhodesia’s Abel Muzorewa.
On critical retrospection, one can understand, why Joseph Boakai was a choice of Madam Sirleaf for Vice President, who conducted himself with humility, he said.
“Today, Boakai has become the most vocal oppositionist – that’s interesting. That former Vice President Boakai today, as a principal leader of the CPP would be in the vanguard of street protests, to support the likes of coinman Henry Costa and other swendlers; he robs himself of an elderly statesmanhood.”
According to Mr. Mitchell, in the 2017 elections, the thrust of Vice President Boakai’s campaign, understandably, was “roads, roads and roads, as his vision for Liberia. For some of us, he added, that was an over-simplified, mechanical approach to addressing Liberia’s complex and fundamental socio-economic and political challenges.
Mitchell: “His was or like a repeat of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s vision for Liberia. For a leadership that is visionary and that has a scientific perspective about Liberia’s development challenges, the strategic, immediate and long term issue for the emancipation of Liberia, it is not about roads, roads, and roads; it is fundamentally about EDUCATION, EDUCATION AND E’DUCATION. When we reform our educational system, and when education becomes the means of the emancipation of our people, the means for the self-realization and self-actualization of our people; when education becomes the tool for creating critical thinking for creativity, innovation and invention, the sky becomes the limit of a new Liberia, including self-built roads and other infrastructural development by Liberian skills, knowledge and technology.”
In today’s Liberia, the fact that we depend on Chinese knowledge, Chinese skills, Chinese technology and Chinese expertise to build Liberian roads and other infrastructure, says how far behind we are as the first black republic on the Continent, Mitchell continued.
“Liberia is more than a century older than China as a state of sovereign independence and self-determination. China acquired sovereign statehood after the Chinese Revolution, right after the Second World War; this includes India; we could also include Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and other Asiatic countries that have all surpassed not only Liberia, but the whole of Africa in terms of industrialized economies. When Liberia was involved in world politics, including being part of those involved in crafting the Charter of the United Nations and its foundation in 1945, China and India were all engulfed by colonial bondage. After liberation form colonial slavery, it was the type of educational system designed by the leaderships of China and other Asiatic countries that became the bedrock for their rapacious level of civilization – scientific and technological development – not westernization. In Liberia, like in other African countries, we stupidly equate civilization with westernization; that is why we remain permanently colonized.”
The lack of a visionary outlook by Liberian politicians, including Vice President Boakai, beyond the obsolete True Whig Party way of doing things, characterized by inferior education, is responsible for what we have been and remain to be as a people, Mitchell, also a lawyer, said in his opinion piece.
He indicated that the Liberian people had similar illusions about Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s leadership, but in the final analysis, she became a major disappointment for many of those Liberians that believed in her, after 12 years of failure.
Mitchell further stated that as a presidential candidate, Boakai did not bring a national vision to the table to inform the “Unity Party platform”; neither did he have a grip on his Party and his own campaign, adding that the naming of his campaign team and his vice running mate, rather than boost the campaign, it dragged the campaign into crisis due to ill-timing and very distasteful choices, from the perspective of the public, to say the least.
Worst still, Mr. Mitchell disclosed that the former vice president placed his campaign strategy and finances for the fifteen (15) counties into the hands of 15 senators whose loyalties were not measured by prior work for him in their respective counties.
Additionally, he stressed that these were senators that did not have any sticks in the elections, in terms of running as legislative candidates with most of the senators he used as his campaign managers in the counties were not in good standings with their constituencies.
“Thus, the Boakai campaigns in the counties were a big disorder, driven outside of party leaderships. The Boakai county campaigns were therefore without loyalty and a sense of urgency, and because there were no leaderships, everything was in a state of flux. Therefore, the votes Vice President Boakai got in the 2017 elections were based on cash (heavily spent in few vote rich counties) and ethnic and regional solidarity, and not as a result of a grand campaign strategy nor affection, while stating that there was no incumbency threat, as all votes were left for a grab.
Mr. Mitchell says what is even more important in this equation for 2023 is the age factor.
In face of the age deficit, he says Boakai has to present extra-ordinary attractiveness for consideration, pointing out that the political chemistry for 2023 would be fundamentally different rom 2017.
“The CDC and President Weah could pull some surprises as an incumbent, plus other factors – watch my words – the COPs and the CPPs will become a big fiasco, and if there’s going to be any major challenge to the CDC, it has to come from elsewhere.
“We can therefore conjecture that the COP and CPP, gripped by inherent contradictions, as illustrated through our foregoing analyses, represent no substantial threat in terms of power and leadership shift; Boakai and Cummings who are the two forerunners of the opposition fighting to replace President Weah in 2023 are in disarray.
The ball is therefore in the court of the Congress for Democratic Change and its leadership role in the national development campaign of the country. The CDC has everything to lose and therefore has every reason to take its leadership over the country very seriously. Against this backdrop, the CDC needs to go back on the drawing board and recalibrate, in preparation for 2020 and 2023”, he stated.