Barely days to the senatorial election, former Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai is calling for credible, transparent and accountable elections to consolidate peace in Liberia.
Speaking on Monday, November 30 when he celebrated his 76th natal day, Mr. Boakai, political leader of the former ruling Unity Party and also an executive of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) maintained that the Voter’s Roll must be cleaned up by the National Elections Commission (NEC), and entreated all political parties, churches, civil society organizations and professional groups including the Liberian populace to join the demand for a clean Voter’s Roll before Tuesday’s elections.
“On our take on the Referendum, we do not support the Weah-led government decision to collapse the eight (8) proposed amendments to the Constitution adopted by the Legislature into three (3) proposals. We equally do not support the holding of the Referendum during the Mid-Term Senatorial Elections, due to lack of massive awareness campaign by the CDC government and NEC to educate the citizenry about the ramification of these amendments to our Constitution,” he added.
Taking stock of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change under the leadership of President George Weah, Amb. Boakai explained that Liberia began to suffer rapid setback by poor governance and an assault on the Constitution since the President and the CDC came to power in 2018, and he (Weah) and officials blatantly refused to declare their assets amid reports of using public resources to amass private wealth.
Regarding the alleged missing L$16 billion (US$104 million), he noted that Mr. Weah’s government has failed so far to give proper account of same lest to indicate the US$25 million that was withdrawn from the national coffers to mop up excess liquidity in the market, which subsequently prompted massive protests in July, 2019 and January, 2020, respectively.
He also pointed that diplomatic representatives of Liberia’s development partners accredited here have had to take the unusual step of issuing public rebuke of the Weah government’s misappropriation of foreign funds intended for development projects in the country.
Amb. Boakai accused the government of instituted a ‘bogus’ impeachment proceedings that removed Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh from the Supreme Court bench because of the latter’s unwavering commitment to the rule of law.
He disclosed that the Weah government has tried to turn the Liberia National Police (LNP) into a partisan unit to be used against perceived enemies, despite the fact that the LNP was trained as a professional force by UNMIL, financed by donors’ money as part of the Security Sector Reform (SSR).
According to him, allegations are rife that the CDC is in the business nowadays of training private militias and assassins to target opposition figures and intimidate opponents, as there has been a spree of mysterious killings and disappearances, most of which the cops are yet to investigate or submit credible reports, lamenting “Liberians now live in fear and insecurity.”
He recalled that the Unity Party-led government which governed for 12 years inherited a country not only broken by civil strife, but one that had been turned into a failed state and an international pariah.
“We, the Unity Party-led administration with Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as President, then endeavored with scant resources, to restore basic social services, rebuild infrastructure and reestablish local administration and the rule of law throughout the country.”
He recounted the party-led government then steadily gained the confidence of development partners and major lending institutions to be able to negotiate the write off of Liberia’s massive debt and restore the country’s credit worthiness.
With this, he said, the Sirleaf-Boakai Team took Liberia from a relief and emergency assistance case to recovery and set it firmly on the path to sustainable development in record time thus, enabling the nation state to take its rightful place of respectability and honor within the comity of nations.
Continuing, he said the national budget under the UP administration rose from a somewhat mere US$85 million in 2006 to more than US$500 million by the end of its first term, as the economy grew at a whopping rate of nearly 10% annually and was only down by the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2008-2009.
“We maintained the peace uninterrupted for 12 years and kept the country united; I am bemused when critics say the Sirleaf-led government in 12 years did nothing”, Amb. Boakai, who lost to Mr. Weah during the 2017 runoff presidential election, concluded. Editing by Jonathan Browne