Whether it is due to acute deficiency in aging or clear oratory delinquency or simple leadership deficit, former Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai continues to invite scorn and ridicule upon himself in his public comments such that questions continue to haunt his political status and vision. Having served as Vice President of Liberia for 12 years, at which time he had shown no inkling of discontent, Hon. Boakai nailed himself and his Unity Party Government when he confessed that their period of service was marred by wasted opportunities. Then he increased his woes when he also said he was a “racing bike parked in the garage for 12 years”. As if that was not enough, and as he endeavors to reinvent himself for the standard-bearership of the opposition community in 2023, Boakai has taken the public rostrum again with contradictory statements and pointless outbursts on national issues. This has characteristically provoked public outrage and giggling at the former Vice President, as The Analyst reports.
Liberians have jumped at the throat of former Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai just a few days after he appeared on a popular visual international talk show where he made statements the citizens consider out of place, unfounded and contradictory.
It can be recalled that Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai contested but lost his quest for the Liberian presidency in 2017 primarily based on what he and his followers said were machinations from his former boss, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to stop his dream of becoming Liberia’s next president.
At the time VP Boakai and his handlers blamed their sitting president for being disinterested in supporting her VP of 12 years, while openly throwing her weight behind then opposition leader George Manneh Weah who would go on to win the elections under a collaborative framework. The framework brought together Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), Jewel Howard-Taylor’s National Patriotic Party (NPP) and Alex Tyler Liberia People Democratic Party (LPDP).
As Ambassador Boakai’s own Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) gears up for their primaries to select who heads the ticket to run against incumbent Weah in 2023, Ambassador Boakai has been making a case to the Liberian people why he is best suited to lead comes 2023.
But the case he tried to make did not come out from the womb of wisdom and eminence, something a number of pundits who spoke to The Analyst believe is suicidal for him.
Contrarily, many had thought that Ambassador Boakai would have seized the moment of his Spoon TV appearance last Saturday to win Liberians over; but surprisingly, he made a complete U-turn during that monumental interview, not only flip-flopping on earlier disparaging comments he had made about US officials, but also backtracking on his once love-hate relationship with his former boss, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
He also provided flippant comments regarding the ongoing controversy over the US$15,000 dished to legislators, among others.
Appearing recently on both online TV and Radio talk shows of THE SPOON TV/RADIO LIVE to get his message across, the former Vice President, crucified himself with contradictions, giving reasons to many observers who opined that he grossly missed the mark and was utterly disappointing, contradicting himself on some key issues.
What brought out one of the angriest moments from the perspective of the audience was when Mr. Boakai woefully danced around the issue of the Liberian delegation’s recent visit to the US, a trip that VP Boakai condescendingly disparaged, misleading the Liberian people into believing that the last delegation of the government to meet key officials in the United States of America only succeeded in meeting mere desk officers and drivers.
It can be recalled that Ambassador Boakai, during an earlier interview with Talk show host, Henry Costa, derogatorily referred to those the Liberian delegation met as “mere desk officers and drivers”, but it was later on proven that indeed that delegation met with Mr. Michael Gonzales, Deputy Secretary of State, Congressman James Clackburn and Madam Linda Greenfield, former US Ambassador to Liberia and now US Ambassador to the UN.
Steve Jaliebah, claims to be a staunch supporter of the CPP, said this of the former Vice President: The former VP was bent on playing politics with such a sensitive issue. Even if you don’t want to credit the government, you can’t go to the extent of calling these high-profile US officials as mere desk officers and drivers. This is far below the belt, and I am happy that he was forced to render an apology to the Liberian people for being this disrespectful.”
Mr. Keff Hassan, one of the panelists on the Spoon TV show, who asked Mr. Boakai the question, said he was taken aback that Mr. Boakai will put his sense of judgment on the line by being so unfair to the US officials, some of whom Mr. Boakai have either met or will meet in the future if he was elected President of this nation.
Mr. Boakai also had everyone dumbfounded when he failed to publicly condemn the $15,000 dished out to lawmakers in the country when there was a public outcry for them to return the money to be used on pressing national issues such as the current Covid 19 pandemic in the country.
“What I am concerned about is not the money that went to them but how they will account for it. I think if they can account for the money and justify how it was used, then there is no problem with it,” Ambassador Boakai had stated during the show, taking a complete detour from his colleague CPP leader Alexander Cummings’ recent statement condemning the dishing out of perks to lawmakers when the economy is drained and the country faces the dire consequences of the Covid-19 new variant pandemic.
A follower on the Talk show, Jerry Timothy, Sr., said he was too disappointed that VP Boakai could not summon the courage to condemn this public display of diversion of resources by lawmakers who were in the first place elected to represent their people.
“I thought the old man really had the balls to confront this kind of corruption and waste in government but from today, I will have to think twice about his ability to lead this country,” Jerry said in an interview with The Analyst.
With regards to the once sour relationship between he and his former boss, as well as his achievements under the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf regime in which he served as Vice President, Ambassador Boakai outlined a plethora of activities and projects that he undertook, surprisingly heaping praises on his former boss, and recalling that had it been for her benevolence and blessing to second him to undertake the myriad of activities that signaled his achievements, he would not have done much.
Listing interventions such as the provision of fire trucks to the Fire Service, scholarships to universities, medical supplies to hospitals, recruitment of doctors to combat Ebola, among others, VP Boakai hailed President Sirleaf for providing the platform for him to successfully perform.
“I would not have done all of those things without the blessing of Madam President,” VP Boakai said, in complete contradiction to his earlier assertion during the 2017 electoral campaign period that he was a parked racing car.
“I did not say I was a parked car. I said I was a parked race car,” former Veep Boakai responded curtly to a biting query from one of the interviewers, noting that given the scope of his responsibilities as Vice President who was given the opportunity to perform, he did his utmost best.
Pressing further, one of the interviewers wondered why former VP Boakai would say he received full support from his former boss, yet during the 2017 presidential election decried lack of support from his former boss Sirleaf, Ambassador Boakai failed to address the issue, stating rather that although Madam Sirleaf is a non-active member of Unity Party, he believes she will support his quest for the presidency in 2023, vowing further that he intends to spend only one term as President if elected.
He had also said during the 2017 elections that the government he served for 12 years wasted much opportunities which, he utilized, could have markedly developed the country.
Mr. Boakai who had some obvious difficulties to link what he had said in the past during similar interviews and press outings and the one with the Spoon TV, further exposed his inability to remember some of the things he said in previous interviews.
For instance, he spoke glowingly about the rosy relationship currently between his former boss Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and that there is nothing to show anyone that both of them are not in good rapport but could not pin down the reason why she could not give him the support he needed from her in 2017.
“He slammed Mrs. Sirleaf in previous interviews for not supporting him in 2017 because according to him, the former President wanted to impose a VP choice on him which he was opposed to and it may have gone to cost him the presidency. Today, he is singing a new song that in 2023, Mrs. Sirleaf will give him all the support he needs to win the race,” says Alex Manobah of Duala.
Other Public reactions
Other Commentators who spoke with The Analyst after the interview seriously questioned VP Boakai on this critical issue that dwelt on integrity.
“I think Joe Boakai flopped this interview big time. He dodged most of the critical questions. Which makes me wonder whether he will even deliver on those promises he made bordering on women issues when he wins the CPP primaries and wins the 2023 elections,” maintains Julius K. Karteh, a shop owner in New Kru Town.
Julius said further: “The Boakai interview was a disaster. The more he talked the more ridiculous he sounded.”
Another pundit who followed the conversation on Spoon TV had this to say. James F. Fleah, Jr., said: “I was a staunched supporter of the Unity Party until this Boakai interview. I don’t think I want to waste my precious time and vote for this old man who sounds so inconsistent and who doesn’t appear to be serious on important things. The manner and form he dodged questions of his infamous ‘wasted opportunities” remarks, does not show leadership at all.”