The governing Unity Party has for the first time responded to rumors here that it is viewing possibility of taking the opposition Liberty Party leader Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine as running mate to Vice President Joseph NyumahBoakai in the 2017 elections, saying Brumskine is not an option in the UP’s political calculus.
UP National Chairman Wilmot Paye told this paper via mobile on Sunday, 23 October that picking Cllr. Brumskine to become running mate to Vice President Boakai would be like putting light and darkness together without saying clearly which of the two is light or darkness.
According to him, the ruling party, which is enjoying a second term in office, has not run dry of choices, some the question of a possible running mate or vice standard bearer would be the least thing to worry about.
Relations between the UP and the LP at least in public has not been very cozy, with Brumskine at one instant, referring to UP standard bearer Joe Boakai as unfit to occupy the presidency, stressing that re-electing the ruling party for a third term could be disastrous for Liberia.
On the other hand, there are widespread media speculations that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Liberty Party leader Brumskine are forging a marriage that has seen fleet of twin-cabin four-wheel-drive pickups up-rolling to the not so financially healthy LP, and was crowned recently by the resignation of the President’s campaign manager in the UP for Montserrado County Musa H. Billity from the governing party to formally join Brumskine’s LP.
Chairman Paye said, “Our reservoir has not run dry yet in terms of finding running mate to our dear political leader. Interestingly, bringing Cllr. Brumskin to be running mate to Vice President Boakai is like bringing light and darkness together.”
Commenting on the resignation of Mr. Bility from the Unity Party, he said the departure has made no negative impact, adding that it has led to hundreds of people joining the ruling establishment. “The week the media reported that he has resigned, about 27 persons joined the Movement for Boakai election, so that should tell you, he’s just one vote, but more have been added.”
According to him, selection of running mate is sole responsibility of the standard bearer, but the Unity Party will not consider selecting anyone outside of the party, noting that, that person will be a partisan, who stands the geo-politics of the ruling party and who is very loyal to the political leader Boakai.
When asked about Bility being one of the strong financial supporters and former Montserrado County Campaign manager in the 2011 Presidential election, Paye narrated that he was then the national secretary general of the UP, and deeply involved in those makings, so the media should not explain history to its maker.
Speculations about a deal being in the making between the ruling Unity Party and Liberty Party have been in the air for months, but nothing appears to be set in stone. Brumskine, who is making his third quest for the Presidency is said to be on the radar if such a deal materialized, although many political observers say that may be a far-stretched dream. However, with LP’s ties with some top Sirleaf advisors and Boakai supporters like Jake Kabakollie, a Boakai-Brumskine ticket could be a high likely possibility.
Brumskine has consistently championed the need for collaboration, particularly among opposition political parties stressing that no one party can win election in Liberia, a sober acknowledgement that he will need to form alliances or coalition to be part of a winning team.
Editing by Jonathan Browne