Dr. Togar Gayewea McIntosh, the man determined to challenge Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai for the standard bearer post of the governing Unity Party is calling for a rebranding of the UP if it should make a greater impact in the 2017 Presidential and Representatives elections.
Dr. Gaywea told the NewDawn in an exclusive interview recently at his Congo Town residence outside Monrovia, rebranding the Unity Party will not affect its flag, symbol or color, but some policy issues such as cleaning the party politically and resolving long-standing internal crisis which had led some influential stalwarts to exit.
He said it is sadden to see key partisans leaving because of internal crisis, and promised to work closely with the current leadership in making sure those partisans who left, come back onboard as well as recruit new partisans to make the UP once more a force to reckon with.
Dr. McIntosh is ex-minister of Foreign Affairs and former Vice President of ECOWAS. He indicated that the rebranding exercise would unite partisans and see newcomers joining the Unity Party’s wagon for the presidency.
He vowed to challenge Vice President Joseph Boakai in the impending national convention, which is expected this April.
Ambassador Boakai accepted a petition last year from his kinsmen in Lofa County to vie for the presidency, and has already begun meeting with chiefs, elders and traditional leaders to get their support for his bid for the nation’s highest seat in 2017.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has expressed support for V.P. Boakai and vowed to do everything politically necessary to have him elected. Madam Sirleaf had earlier announced in 2011 that she and Vice President Boakai would retire at the end of their second term, but from all indications, Vice President Boakai is mustering or growing political claws to continue the legacy of his boss, the Presideht.
Though UP Chairman Senator Varney Sherman and National Secretary General Wilmot Paye have both declared support for Mr. Boakai, Montserrado County Representative Henry B. Fahnbulleh, also a UP stalwart, said both the national chairman and the secretary general are not qualified to take the party to convention on grounds that they have taken side with one of the aspirants.
Dr. Gayewea, despite the public declaration by the senior officials, maintains that he trusts the process and believesin the party’s constitution, which calls for transparent, free and fair process so he is prepared to go through primary.
According to him, if he does not win the primary, he will support a candidate that will win, stressing that he will accept defeat only if the process is trustworthy, meaning transparent, free, fair and credible. He noted that there are some key indicators that he will win the impending primary, noting that the pointers are much clearer in his favor for the UP´s highest post.
On the question that the UP-led administration has failed the Liberian people, McIntosh said Liberia is far better than it used to be 15 years ago. “Look at the roads, structures for our children learning environment, though they are not hundred percent well off but there is serious progress now then years back,” he argued.
Dr. McIntosh said if given the opportunity to serve, he will feel comfortable working U.S. Democratic Party’s Hilary Clinton than Donald Trump of the Republican Party, noting that comments of Mr. Trump in his campaign to the American presidency are counter African and as such, no African leader who means seriousness for his country will be comfortable working with him, if he is elected President of the United States of America.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne