By Lincoln G. Peters
Opposition leader Amb. Joseph Nyumah Boakai and his longstanding political ally, Dr. Jeremiah Z. Whapoe will battle each other for the presidency this October, amidst increasing opposition tickets.
The NewDawn newspaper’s investigative team has established that Dr. is expected to officially announce his running mate next week for the upcoming presidential and legislative elections.
Dr. Whapoe, leader of the opposition Vision for Liberia Transformation Party (VOLT) had his eyes on Boakai’s running mate slot before the Unity Party (UP) leader named Senator Jeremiah Koung.
Dr. Whapoe’s reported plan to name a running mate may be seen as a political slap in the face of Amb. Boakai despite calls to unite the opposition.
Whapoe could be the latest political ally slipping away from Mr. Boakai after Businessman-turned-politician Benoni Urey and his family appear to have backed off.
Dr. Whapoe and Boakai’s running mate Senator Koung are both sons of the vote-rich Nimba County.
The VOLT political leader’s decision to contest the presidency could play against the possibility of Boakai sweeping the Nimba votes as long predicted.
Another son of Nimba County, renowned Liberian human rights lawyer Cllr. Tiawan Saye Gongloe says he will contest the presidency this October.
This paper has learned that Whapoe’s decision to contest the presidency is due to the Unity Party’s alleged failure to properly negotiate with VOLT regarding the support of the Boaka-Koung ticket.
The UP’s alleged failure is said to have led to VOLT abandoning its plan to endorse the Boakai-Koung presidential bid.
The UP is alleged to have failed to make known to VOLT what will be the specific benefits and slots allotted to the party when Amb. Boakai wins the 2023 election.
This paper is informed that Dr. Whapoe and his VOLT party had requested Amb. Boakai’s team members for the Ministry of Agriculture or an ambassadorial position in a Boakai-Koung administration.
This demand was said to have been made to the Unity Party team through a written document and a commitment that VOLT wanted the UP to sign up to.
However, the Unity Party through its negotiators headed by the Chief of Officer Staff to Amb. Boakai Mr. Jeik Kabah Kollie has reportedly refused to grant the agreement through documentation.
Sources say the Unity Party team had argued that Amb. Boakai is a father to Dr. Whapoe, therefore, the VOLT leader should endorse the Boakai-Koung ticket and everything will be settled later.
Meanwhile, others are said to be seeking continued negotiation between the UP and VOLT to avoid a ‘political calamity.’
There are fears that such a move has the propensity to reduce Amb. Boakai’s votes.