Former Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai has called on the leaders, partisans, supporters and well-wishers of the Collaborating Political Party(CPP) to rise above their differences occasioned by the internal wrangling rocking the party so as to deliver what he called the bondage the ruling establishment under President George Manneh Weah has plagued the country.
Mr. Boakai made the statement last Friday, October 15, 2021 when he took over the mantle of leadership of the opposition block as Chairman from Senator Nyonblee Karngar-Lawrence at a colorful ceremony held at the National Headquarters of the Unity Party in Congo Town, Monrovia witnessed by top leaders of the CPP, hundreds of partisans , supporters and sympathizers.
“Fellow Liberians and Partisans, the past few months have been fraught with difficulties creating anxiety in the public and a sense of implosion within the CPP. We recognize these challenges, which have occasioned internal wrangling and a distasteful impression. However, we implore you to not allow differences and internal wrangling to define the CPP, no matter how contentious they have become. This is because social, economic or political conflicts are events that can be transformed into good. We must also see the positives in our differences, as these disagreements and healthy exchanges are the labor pains of the collaboration. Just as a mother experiences discomfort in childbirth but finds joy at the sight of her newborn baby, so also will our differences be transformed into unity and a common purpose in changing our country for the good of all”, VP Boakai said.
Mr. Boakai said that a new day CPP has dawned and made a passionate appeal for everyone to put their differences behind and forge ahead by bringing their strengths and frankly their weaknesses too, together in the true spirit of the framework to fulfill the aspirations and hope of the Liberian people. He called upon partisans to hold together and build alliances with the different layers of the society in transforming the country for the good of the people and the sub-region and boasted that the CPP presents itself as the alternative to a dispensation that is in free fall.
What could be seen as a self-indictment and a resolve to play a meaningful role in handling issues within the party, VP Boakai said that without any defense and justification, he accepts full responsibility for all the tethering issues stating that his eloquent silence in the face of these internal wrangling and exchanges strengthens his courage to know that mere defending their individual positions without a deep sense of collectivity only make them weaker. He said where others see breakdowns, he sees an opportunity to build and become stronger, where others see despair, he offers hope and in the face of what appears to be division, he will work with his colleagues to unite.
“In this direction, I also offer myself as a interculator in addressing unresolved issues and other problems, and, here now, admonish my colleagues Alex, Benoni and Nyonblee to see the bigger picture – the People of Liberia; and exhaust our internal processes of conflict resolution in absolute respect for each other. The CPP will hold itself to the strict adherence to its rules”, he said.
He said in the next 8 months that he will be leading the CPP, he will seek to institutionalize the party, entrench its feet deep that winning state power in 2023 will be the only option , vowing not to betray the country and its people. He reminded partisans and other well-meaning Liberians that what they have all set out to do places on them the threshold of history to cast out what he called the ghost of a reckless political, economic and social order that benefits only very few people and has grown increasingly stubborn to change.
“We have also come to let you know that we are united and determined to move forward together as an alliance, joining with millions of other Liberians across this country and the Diaspora to break the cycle of abject poverty, impunity, illiteracy, disease, social injustice, dictatorship, corruption and other challenges that haunt the present, and most profoundly the future”.
The political leader of the former ruling party painted a bleak picture how what the country has become under the leadership of President Weah when he said country is confronted by some of the most vexing issues of the post war years, as poor governance and failed leadership; marginalization of the majority of Liberians, inequity, and institutional failure have caused low public trust in the government and its institutions. He lamented that much of the progress made in the recent past including the execution of a reformed agenda has eroded, the economy is not healthy and not performing for the people as it should be. He stressed that productivity is at an all-time low and cost of living high; with the price of food and other basic commodities going up, causing most Liberians to fall into poverty.
“Majority of our people, especially the youth, are unemployed, exposed to drugs, make no income and live in poor and unacceptable conditions. Poor fiscal decisions including consistent off-budget spending on nonproductive and vanity projects are causing strain and decline in significant areas such as education and health. As much as the country is endowed with natural resources, its citizens including many in communities hosting concessions are hardly benefiting, causing unwarranted tensions and hanging on the precipice of communal conflicts and insecurity.
“The security situation is dire and rapidly deteriorating. Many of our citizens and residents live in constant fear, particularly, as a result of the unresolved spate of violence and killings in the past two years. This has unraveled the state of the current security apparatus, revealing the bare threads of a security sector largely aimed at protecting only public officials and leaving millions of citizens and residents to their own devices. All these problems are undergirded by public corruption, the scale of which is yet to be confronted by the government in ways that hold public officials to account”, he noted..
He took a swipe at the President and emphasized the need for action to be taken to address the situation. “We must liberate our people from the bondage of failed leadership: A winning soccer icon whose Presidency sees our pitch banned by FIFA and our team as an underdog. The one success that brought you to prominence has become a national failure under your leadership. Missing persons, missing parts, armed robbery and general insecurity is now the Liberian Character. This must change and we must concentrate on a vision that will take Liberians from this bondage to new heights of progress”, he noted.
He then gave some side punches on the President saying, “It is often said, don’t give boys men a job to do”. Leave an entertainer to entertain for “while Rome burns the Boy King entertains his guests with a musical harp”. While Liberia burns, the Boy King encourages the building of statutes and monuments in his name while he is alive. Demands that his followers worship him. Exudes an unrealistic lifestyle while poverty consumes our people in the “dirtiest city in Africa”. Malnutrition rages while he plays music and dances to musical cheers.
Putting the issues more directly in the Liberian context, the soft talking former Vice President said “Liberia burns and people die but he entertains his guests at lavish undertakings while illiteracy and drugs maim our children. He builds lavish and luxury homes in 1 year while his entire party takes the lifetime of his regime to finish a vocational training center on its party premises. A change betrayed!” he said.
The veteran politician who received a rousing ovation when he mounted the podium to deliver his speech said that the people of Liberia deserve a new and better deal; one that is people centered and aimed to improve the livelihoods of millions of Liberians including the children, the youth and women. He added that the people deserve nothing less and that was why the Unity Party was founded, and this was why also the constituent parties (comprising the Alternative National Congress, All Liberian Party, the Liberty Party and the Unity Party) have come together to effect a positive change.
“In broad strokes, the alternatives we offer as Collaborating Parties are deeply rooted in the ideals of economic equity, social justice and freedom so that everyone is able to explore his or her potential for better livelihoods. We vow to promote and protect the ideals of political inclusiveness, and constitutional changes that address the limiting strains on our democracy including personalization of the presidency, the dictatorial nature of the governing system, the erosion of the separation of powers within our 3 branches of government as enshrined in our Constitution, and over decentralization. We will also ensure that public office is not an end in itself, but a means to serve the people of Liberia.” He said.
Being confident of trust the Liberian people have placed in the CPP, Mr. Boakai said that the irreversible momentum of the Liberian People garnered on December 8, 2020, the day of the Special midterm Senatorial elections where the party recorded breathtaking victories, mandated them to stay together, develop a vision that will offer new hope, fresh ideas and freedom from unchecked corruption, induced divisions, unrepentant looting and pillage of the national coffers. He said that they know too well that the excitement and enthusiasm of the Liberian people has stimulated a renewed sense of enthusiasm in all of us, and sometimes the temptation becomes so evident that the healthy exchange of ideas, disagreements can lead to apathy, discouragement and despair, but that he was reassuring all Liberians that it was over adding that the ruling establishment trembles at the roar of the Liberian People for an alternative.
“To our supporters across the country and the Diaspora, we ask you to exercise restraint in your engagement with each other. Name calling, invectives, demonization, insults and falsehoods must stop and be replaced by constructive conversations in a competitive spirit to agree or disagree. We must speak truth to each other and hold ourselves responsible for our actions in open, accountable and transparent ways.
“To the millions of supporters in Liberia and the Diaspora, we salute and thank you for the amazing support and solidarity in 2019, when we consolidated our Alliance as the CPP. We urge you to continue to believe and be hopeful, knowing that with the CPP, your aspiration will not go in vain. We, therefore, ask you to fold your sleeves, lace up your boots and begin the hard work across the country now, because together we can transform Liberia and the future for our children and children’s children. FORWARD, EVER! BACKWARD NEVER!! CPP All the way!!!!”, he concluded.