The embarrassing situation that occurred in Clara Town on Bushrod Island on Wednesday, 12 July involving protesting youth with placards denouncing Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, who had go to the densely populated slum community along with his running mate, Speaker James Emmanuel Nuquay to get an endorsement for their bid for the Presidency clearly sends a message to all politicians, particularly those aspiring for the Presidency that the people or voters should not only become important during time of elections.
Vice President Boakai and Speaker Nuquay had gone to the community for an endorsement from a local group, “Friends for the Future” when they encountered protesting youth, who resisted their presence there on grounds that neither of the two officials, in their formal capacity, had ever visited there to identify with residents except now when they want their votes.
Chanting “Boakai you will pay for what you eat” and “Boakai’s U.S. rate 150” the protestors approached the Vice President’s convoy as it enters the slum community, but they were restrained by security forces as FOF members, dressed in T-shirts bearing the portrait of VP Boakai danced and welcomed their guests.
While we condemn any act that has the propensity to trigger violence in the impending elections, we hastily draw politicians’ attention to the message the young people with placards tried to advance: That those seeking elective posts or state power should live with the people as if each day were elections’ day. In other words, they should not wait until election year or two to three months to polling day to go down to the electorate.
We believe such move would be belated and therefore, receive mixed reactions as in the case of the Vice President and his running mate. Though it is not independently confirmed, but we learned that this was VP Boakai’s first visit to Clara Town – a community that is less than five miles from his office at the Capitol Building. Likewise Speaker Nuquay!
This attitude is not unique to those currently holding public offices like the Vice President and the Speaker. Presidential hopeful Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine from the Liberty Party recently visited West Point Township, another densely populated slum community in Montserrado County where he danced and ate corn with locals. Such deceitful interactions are often counterproductive to the underlining political objectives they try to seek from voters.
We are fully aware that there are social stratifications or echelons in every society and therefore, do not expect someone who has ascended to the upper class to pack and come down to live with slum dwellers. However, it is very important for those in leadership and others wishing to get there to find time to identify with the commoners by sitting with them and getting to know some of their problems rather than waiting for electoral period.
We believe this was the message the protesting youths of Clara Town were expressing to VP Boakai and Speaker Nuquay, which equally goes to all those aspiring to become leaders of the people. Try to know their plight and share their concerns!
As official campaign for the October elections starts on July 31, politicians and leaders of various political parties have already secured fleet of cars, motorbikes, T-shirts and other materials to troop to towns, clans, chiefdoms, districts, counties and cities to seek votes from citizens that they never met before with promises to improve their lives, build roads, schools, hospitals and even mansions in the sky! Some even become generous overnight, distributing food, clothes and cash, but once they succeed in getting elected, they shut the doors and erect walls between themselves and the electorate.
Yes! That’s how deceitful politicians are. Today, VP Boakai and Speaker Nuquay are prepared and willing to go just anywhere in a bid to achieve their political dreams, but like the late Jamaican Reggae King, Bob Marley sang in one of his many master pieces, “You can fool some people some time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”