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I’m guilty by association

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Liberia’s Vice President and Standard Bearer of the governing Unity Party Joseph Nyumah Boakai blames strained relationship between him and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on his association with his party chairman Wilmot Paye and the chairman emeritus, Senator Varney Sherman.

Appearing on a local radio talk-show on Monday, December 18, in Monrovia, Vice President Boakai says people that are being considered as opposition to President Johnson Sirleaf and occupy top positions in the party whom he’s close to is the reason of his alleged political prosecution.

He specifically names the two officials for brining rift between him and the President of Liberia, lamenting, “The President and I started our friendship back in the days of the 60s at the College of West Africa where I was both janitor and student. In fact, I took care of her children and her husband knew me very well. Because of the close relationship, she encouraged me to have worked with Finance Ministry when she was the deputy minister, but I recommended a friend. So, our relationship is not today’s thing. I’m guilty simply by association. People like Cllr. Varney Sherman and Wilmot Paye, who are considered as opposition and are leaders in the party, they are my friends. As leader, you have to be a good follower which I have done in the case of the President.”

Since his declaration of interest for the presidency, there have been reports of internal fight between supporters of the President and Vice President Boakai within the Unity Party.

Vice President Boakai notes that he and the President have long been friends that later developed into family but it is surprising for him to be treated the way things are going especially, for his presidential bid.

Apparently because of bad blood, Boakai also used the time to explain he had lobbied with some friends in London, Great Britain for the establishment of sports program and his friends have reportedly generated about US$6 million for the program, but accuses Liberia’s Minister of Education, George Werner of stopping the program for no reason.

According to him, he complained the Education Minister to President Johnson Sirleaf, but up to present, there is no action taken against the minister.Commenting on corruption, VP Boakai, who vows to serve for one term if elected, says his government would not compromise corruption.

“Anyone who wants to steal should find somewhere else, our administration will combat corruption and government’s work is not about stealing, but service,” he emphasizes.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor -Editing by Jonathan Browne

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