Speculations of internal fight within the ruling Unity Party seem glaring, ahead of the 2017 Presidential and Representative elections as one of the forerunners for the standard bearer ticket of the party, ex-foreign minister Dr. Toga Gayewea McIntosh has alleged that upon his return to the country recently from an ECOWAS Mission in Nigeria, he had tried every available means to sit with Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, his main rival in the party, but his effort proved fruitless.
Dr. McIntosh, speaking in front of the Capitol Building following a “courtesy visit” to Unity Party lawmakers Wednesday afternoon, told reporters that he called and sent SMS messages to Vice President Boakai for a meeting, but Ambassador Boakai never responded.
Both McIntosh and Boakai have expressed great interest in contesting for the standard bearer post of the ruling party. Though the current standard bearer, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has not decided yet, who she will throw her weight behind, UP National Chairman and Grand Cape Mount County Senator, Cllr. Varney Sherman, and National Secretary General Wilmot Paye have both declared open support for Vice President Boakai against Dr. McIntosh.
When asked about his visit to the Capitol Building yesterday, the former Foreign Minister said, he had gone there to pay visit and find how things are like with partisans and establish some concerns with partisans that are serving in the first branch of government.
The Liberian Economist said, he has started a journey of reuniting partisans ahead of the presidential race with high expectations that everything will fall in place before the 2017. This is the first time Dr. McIntosh has paid a visit to the Capitol Building since he left government cycle. But it is believed that the visit is basically intended to rally support for his quest for the standard bearer post ahead of the party´s convention which is expected to be held on May 9th.
Vice President Boakai is currently on a tour of Southeast Liberia, but when the Secretary General of the “Boakai Movement” Mr. Robert Kpadeh was contacted via mobile Wednesday, he requested that the interview be conducted in quietude, preferably in an office. The request was granted. However, when he was later contacted via mobile, he declined to take the call up to press time.
Already, names of four stalwarts of the party have surfaced to the media for the standard bearer post, including current national secretary general Wilmot Paye, Gender Minister Julia Duncan Cassell, Atty. Madina Wesseh and Montserrado County Representative Henry B. Fahnbulleh. Also, Labour Minister Atty. Neto Zarzar Lighe, has expressed interest to contest for the vice chairman for governmental affairs position. In a related development, Nimba County Representative Warlea Sawah Dunah has announced that he will be contesting for the Vice Chairman for investment at the party´s convention.
Representative Dunah maintains that he´s suited for the position, noting that his level of experience in Liberian politics is incontestable and has no doubt if given the opportunity; he will deliver to the expectations of the party.
Commenting on the chairmanship position, he told this paper, his kinsman, Wilmot Paye has an uphill battle to be elected as national chairman.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor -Editing by Jonathan Browne