Former Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai fired up his claim to the Presidency in 2023 when he told his listening audience in a live interview with talk show host Henry Costa, that among all those jostling for the sole ticket of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), he is the only one who has what it takes to uproot President George Manneh Weah during the presidential and legislative elections in 3 years.
“Well, I am confident; and besides the Liberian people are saying we should make sure to have a candidate they can support, the candidate that can defeat Mr. Weah, Mr. Boakai said.
The Unity Party’s political leader asserted, “I don’t think anyone in our group, with due respect to the others, can take Mr. Weah down. And I think if the CPP wants to win, they better be sure to pick me, not a threat though.”
Ambassador Boakai enthusiastically declared with confidence:” We have to show that we can liberate our people, and the person that can do it is the person right before you, Joe Boakai”.
The former Vice President of Liberia made this public declaration when he was responding to a question posed to him to assess his chances of picking the sole ticket that is expected to be hotly contested ahead of the primary later on this year.
The interview was perhaps the former vice president’s first major press outing to roll out his intent for the Liberian leadership and to discuss many other typical burning national issues trending in the polity.
The first question was to know his take on the issue of impunity that some people commit and yet get away without any form of punishment or indictment against them. To that, he said impunity should not only be about the number of reported cases of death or harm done to people that go without redress, but it goes also to people taking the resources meant for the people for their own personal use.
“When we talk about impunity, we are not just talking about the disregard for the rule of law or the feelings of others. Even for the fact that you take the resources of the people and you use it for personal interest over the national interest it was or should be allotted for is a form of impunity. We have not been able to address that. We have to be decisive to take on impunity, and I think the Liberian people will support it”.Mr. Boakai said
When pressed for his take on the mysterious deaths that have occurred in recent time, Mr. Boakai said that it is sad that people commit crimes and get away with it and they believe that when such a thing happens, it will die down in a week or so.
He mentioned the unresolved instances of crimes committed in the country that have remain unattended to.
“As long as we continue to compromise, as long as we continue to allow people to commit crime and get along with it, crimes will increase, nobody will be safe, and I believe we have not dealt with it decisively. We know we have the mechanism to deal with it because one of the things you ought to provide for economic development and to attract investors is the confidence to live in a safe environment. This is what I will do, to fight impunity and provide security for the people and country,” Dr. Boakia noted.
On the apparent snub of the country and its government by the international community, especially the United States of Americam, Liberia’s traditional partners, Mr. Boakai stated that practically the country has been forgotten by the international community, and added that it is sad this country finds itself in such an international isolation.
“I think that most people cannot understand why the President, Vice President, Speaker, Deputy Speaker have not visited the United States. It is unfortunate. How are we going to open up the country? No matter how many phone calls you make, you can’t compromise personal contact,” he said.
According to him, “Nobody can understand why a Liberian President will not visit the United States President or the Secretary of State. It is unfortunate. It is for us to reestablish the contact and it is for sure that even at this time, we are in contact with very important people in the United States.”
Former Vice President Boakai made use of the question to spell out what he will do to cultivate such bilateral ties when elected President in 2023, and also added that his major policy thrust has not deviated from what he said in 2017 that road connectivity remains priority number one.
“Like I said in 2017, nothing has changed. [The agenda] is number one road, number two road, number three road and number four road. I can tell you that the problem of this country when it comes to the prices of goods and services, health, education, etc. are all tied to roads.”
For the past 173 years, he explained, Liberia has only one road, how do you know what happens in Gbarpolu, when you can’t go there. “And when we talk about roads, it is not someone putting up roads that cost $30,000 and they put it at $3m; we are talking about roads that will open the country, roads that open up opportunities because people believe that goods and commodities can get to the market only with the opening up of the country with good roads. That is the kind of roads we are talking about”, He said.
VP Boakai retorted to the perception from people that his being quiet and not speaking out most of the time could be seen as being weak. He said he has come to believe that the Liberian society is the talking type; that people want to talk all the time on radios, televisions, social media, etc. and perhaps that has to do with why the Bible says that an idle mind is a devil workshop.
He said he was sure that if the people are gainfully employed, they are occupied with something, it will reduce their time on radios and other media outlets
He said in his concession speech, he made it clear that he was going to work with the government meaningfully to move the country forward and will only critique when it was necessary. He further asserted that he is not the talking type of people who want to talk because of talking sake; but he talks to provide wisdom that will benefit the society.
The CPP Presidential hopeful outwardly dismissed the insinuation from some people that he should give chance to the younger generation since he has lived all throughout his adult life in the public service.
“It sounds very Liberian and it has been that long. It is a very important question. When I speak to the people, I don’t ask them for power, I ask them to give me the opportunity to serve our people because I have the passion and want to give back to society. Even if it has to be coming in to set the stage for the younger generation to pick up from there, it will be for the common good for our people and country.” He said.