Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, Standard Bearer of the governing Unity Party does not want to take responsibility for happenings in the rapidly disintegrated party he heads. VP Boakai wants Liberians to believe that he has clean hands in the ‘political bad blood’ between his predecessor President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the ruling UP.
“I am guilty by association; that is the only crime I have committed against my long-time friend Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. My association with Cllr. Sherman and Party Chairman Wilmot Paye, who won the chairmanship on white ballot, is the only crime I have committed”, Vice President said on a local radio talk show here on Monday, 18 December.
But we honorably disagree with the man, who is vying to become the next President of the Republic of Liberia, and question his leadership skills when he keeps blaming others for happenings around him.
The Vice President, who has served in the outgoing Sirleaf administration for the past 12 years in the midst of widespread mismanagement of state resources and corruption, says he has been a racing car parked in the garage, not tested despite being President of the Liberian Senate that ratified all concession agreements during the period under review whose impacts are eluding the citizenry.
Now to the main issue. As Standard Bearer, he presides over the governing Unity Party that has preached and continues to preach divisive and heat messages in the past six to 12 months, specifically raining derogatory statements against President Sirleaf without saying anything to the contrary or making intervention. Instead, he conspicuously kept silent while UP Chairman Wilmot Paye publicly read hit speech spewed at the President, and sometimes appeared in public along with Chairman Paye when those divisive speeches are delivered, indicative of his approval.
We are taken aback that barely one week to the runoff presidential election, the 74-year-old Vice President and Standard Bearer wants Liberians to believe that he has just recognized these leadership shortcomings that have succeeded in not just harming his political ambition, but rifting the ruling UP apart before coming out to apologize to President Sirleaf.
VP Boakai’s argument of guilt by association is seriously groundless. We wonder how could he be the Standard Bearer and before his watch, as he claims, the chairman emeritus Cllr. Varney Sherman and the current Chairman Wilmot Paye take the party in the wrong direction. Where is the leadership ability for which he wants the Liberian people to elect him as President?
What does the Vice President mean when he says his association with Cllr. Varney Sherman and Unity Party Chairman Wilmot Paye has soured his relationship with his long-time best friend, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf? Surely these are not mere friendship or personal friendship. These two individuals have been members of the ruling UP before or since 2011 and had occupied senior level positions, Cllr. Sherman as national Chairman and Paye as Secretary General, respectively before their current status in the party.
Is Boakai telling the Liberian people that as duly elected Standard Bearer of the Unity Party, he has been running the party on the basis of friendship rather than prescribed standards?
He needs to stop the blame-game now and muster enough courage to take responsibility for happenings in the party rather than watch things to degenerate as they are. Seven days or one week is no time to fix relationship that has been damaged for more than one year.