Signs of Boom In Liberia-US Ties -US VP Rings Up Boakai, Assures Assistance

MONROVIA: While the United States is the chief midwife of modern Liberia, paving the way for the formation of the Liberian nation and republic, there have been intermittent bad blood between leaders of the two countries—something that has had unsavory consequences for Liberia or the leader in charge. Pundits are divided over reasons of the bad blood, some contending that most Liberian leaders often fail transparency, accountability and freedom tests. Yet, there are others who contend that the root cause of the bad blood lies in US over assertiveness of its imperialistic, bullying overtures which some Liberian leaders find offensive and uncalled for. Whatever the case, the US is considered Liberia’s biggest donor and diplomatic minder and, certainly, President Joseph Boakai and his supporters will find a call from Kamala Harris, US Vice President, an exhilarating delight, a strategic breakthrough, worth celebrating. As The Analyst reports, there are calls for President Boakai to convert the Harris call into sustainable compost to fuel unusual US support.

It has been reported that the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, has tendered a friendly telephone call on President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, congratulating him on his election as Liberia’s 26th President of Liberia and assuring him of the US’ support to Liberia under his stewardship.

The Executive Mansion placed on its official website this message (unedited): “Yesterday, President Boakai received a congratulatory message via telephone from the Vice President of the United States of America Madam Kamala Harris on behalf of President Joseph Biden and the US government. The US Veep pledged her government’s commitment to supporting the Boakai led administration especially in the areas of private sector investment and infrastructure development.”

The message continued: “It can be recalled that the US Ambassador to the United Nations Madam Linda Thomas Greenfield led the US delegation to President Boakai’s inauguration and held preliminary discussion with the Liberian Leader. The call was a follow-up in response to the ongoing engagement with the US government via the Embassy near Monrovia.”

Celebrating “booming” Relations

The Analyst has learned that the US Vice President’s call has sparked celebrations within presidential circles and amongst supporters of the ruling Unity Party who think both the call and the assurances from the US through its VP is a healthy departure from US-Liberia relational famine of six years under ex-president George Manneh Weah.

Some observers believe the Unity Party is so far doing comparatively better in diplomacy in its few months of existence than the Coalition for Democratic Change did in six years. For six years, according to them, the US kept away in terms of direct interaction with the CDC government, with the highest diplomatic visits here limited to assistant undersecretaries.

The Kamala direct phone call to Boakai following a high-level diplomatic team seconded by President Joseph Biden, Jr. to the inauguration of the President, the observers think that the current administration has injected a breath of fresh air into US-Liberia relations.

“Clearly and adequately, we have beaten the CDC diplomatically in just a month of our incumbency,” said Daniel G. Manston, a UP fanatic.

“I see some CDC partisans playing down the news of JNB receiving a telephone call from the VP of the world’s superpower. But let the CDCians tell me one time their president got a single call from an office attendant of the White House. This is worth celebrating and we will celebrate because good signs are that Liberia has returned to diplomacy with great style—under President Boakai.”

Call to Maximize Opportunity

While the ruling party and its supporters are in joyous mood all over the place, there are Liberians calling for caution and sobriety, positing that all is not automatically accomplished by a single call from Washington.

Citizens calling for caution are reminding the Boakai administration about instances in which Liberian presidents who were heartedly celebrated by the US turned out later to be their foes.

A Liberian cleric, Rev. Jefferson D. Kangoli, said: “We all welcome the news that a very important official of the US government has reportedly phoned President Boakai. As a patriot, I heartily welcome the news. But here is it: When William V.S. Tubman died, Rev. William R. Tolbert, Jr. took over. Some of us were not too young not to see how Tolbert, in his first few years, became a protégé of the US, often invited to the White House after delivering powerful pro-American speeches at UN General Assemblies. What happened later? When President Tolbert started visiting communist countries, and joining the ‘Nonaligned’ movement, local dissents were emboldened. And we all know what happened to Tolbert.”

He continued: “Then there was Master Sergeant Doe, who were seen dining and winning at the White House with the likes of President Reagan; obviously a darling of the US at the time. Who advised President Doe to start to visit Romania, Cuba, etc.? His problem started. And we know what happened to him and the country. We all recall what President Charles Taylor said. Americans didn’t want him, he claimed, not because he’s the dirtiest president in the world; but because he refused to cow to pressure to mortgage Liberia’s resources, mainly its then unexplored and untapped oil reserves.

“We are not sure what President George Manneh Weah did to the Americans. Or it is because the CDC called its development agenda ‘pro-poor’ and was founding investing in hyper-welfare projects, such that Weah was mistaken for being socialist, communist-leaning? I don’t know. But what did we see the US doing? Total alienation of the CDC government. And an onslaught of economic sanctions on its officials for misery reasons.”

The cleric concluded: “I am saying all this to send a message to President Boakai. Don’t play with the United States. Don’t lure them into your scheme of things and later backtrack. Once he has decided to accept US assistance, do its will. First thing, play to their overt game: transparency, accountability, good governance, freedom, amongst other things. Or appear to be doing something like that. Secondly, play to their covert game. Follow them anywhere, anyhow like a goat with a cord of its neck pulled by its owner”.

Goodies in the Kamala’s call

There are conjectures that the United States is poised to pump a lot of resources into the development of the country.

The US founded Liberia when the government released the first funding that helped the American Colonization Society transport emigrants from the US to Liberia, pioneering the creation of the modern government on the West African shores.

Since that time, around the 1820s, the US continues to be the biggest supporter of Liberia’s development, particularly in health, education and other critical sectors.

“We must all rest assured that America is ready to do what it is best noted for, and in a very notable way this time around,” said another UP stalwart.

Benedict Jacobs-Saar said: “One does not need to be a rocket scientist to see the signs on the horizon that succinctly point to the dawn of a new day. From what I am hearing, the Americans are poised to collaborate with the Government in a multifaceted way. And it is only a matter of time before skeptics and doubters see our electricity, health, education and oil sectors pump billions into our coffers billions as never before in history.”

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