Call him Sleepy Joe or Sleepy Giant, but remember the saying: "don't wake up a sleeping gant?" The next President of Liberia could very well be Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, the quiet, unassuming, soft spoken, slow-water-run-deep, the observant loyal lieutenant of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for the last 11 years.
Mr. Boakai is now about to reveal himself: a consummate but low key strategist, a product of the 1970s progressives. He comes from the historically marginalized tribal majority. Give him a chance. I wholeheartedly disagree with pundits who want to paint and lump Boakai with the old establishment politicians/Congua of the pre-1980 era. Mr. Boakai was in the trenches with, and a deciple of the Gabriel Baucus Matthews-led political evolutionary period. Boakai is the ultimate patient politician who should allow to eat the fat bone. That he is slow to anger is a key attributes of his approach to issues. He didn't bark when many thought he should have when President Sirleaf told him: "Boiakai will have to work hard to get elected as I worked hard to become president."
He kept his cool when he thought the ruling Unity Party would announce his endorsement in August 2016 after a daylong marathon closed door session hosted by President Sirleaf at her seafront palace attended by executives of the party. Party leaders were mute and not even a press statement was issued. Two days later, a frustrated Boakai traveled to Gbarnga, Bong County and net with executives the newly formed People United Party (PUP) to discuss, according to Mr. Boakai, "collaboration talks for 2016," as he was quoted by FrontPageAfrica. He also kept his cool again during the obvious tense and bitterly divided convention of his ruling party this year in Gbarnga, Bong County. Boakai's endorsement for the presidency by outgoing party Chairman Varney Sherman was labeled a "campaign speech," The body language in the seating of the party leaders at the convention said it all. But Boakai still kept his cool. Despite what others are calling a "lipservice and lukewarm" endorsement of Boakai for the presidency by President Sirkeaf nearly two years after Boakai had been trumpeting his run for the presidency on his own, now comes reports that President Sirleaf's choice is actually Liberty Party's Charles Brumskine. This claim of Ellen's support for Brumskine is also coming from the new ruling party heavy hitters and from several news outlets.
Then comes the bombshell as reported by FrontPageAfrica that at a meeting last week Thursday in the VP'S home, President Sirleaf pressed Mr, Boakai to consider for his VP running mate Mr. Brumskine, an overture FrontPageAfrica headlined: "Liberia's VP Reportedly Rejects Liberty Party Merger Proposition."
But ironically, Mr. Brumskine was at the same 125 miles away in Ganta, Nimba County teaming up with a dozen opposition party keepers who were plotting against defeating Boakai. Politics is a strange game. Analysts fear that President Sirleaf is skeptical of a Boakai presidency that may undo the ruling party's corruption image by acting on and prosecuting those implicated in all General Auditing Commission audits and all Presidential Task Forces and Commissions of Inquiry. And Brumskine's chances don't look good in the elections for the mere fact he came third in both the 2005 and 2011 presidential elections behind CDC/George and Prince Johnson respectively.
Thus, his chances of tagging on to Boakai to improve his luck.
Sources are now speculating that talks are underway for Mr. Boakai to team up with the popular Senator, George Weah to be Mr, Boakai's vice presidential running mate. If this deal is consummated, consider the elections over that a Boakai/Weah ticket will produce a tsunami of a victory.
There are common interests that bind both Boakai and Weah more than when Weah offered his party's top slot to Winston Tubman in the 2011 elections.
Negotiators are urging Weah to blend his youth and popularity and learn from the fatherly experience and wisdom of Mr. Boakai, who many see as not having much of a say in the corruption-plagued regime of Ellen but is "guilty by association."
And then Weah could move up when President Boakai retires, say after one term when he will be 80 yearly old. Just a thought and not a sermon.
Mercernarism Charges ‘Pure Ignorance’ Against Grand Gedeans
It is easy for those of us--who have not felt the stinging darts, the mayhem, cruelty, viciousness, barbarity, pain, suffering, scars, deprivation, the loss the youth and innocence , loss of parents, rapes, amputation of body parts, loss of loved ones, the deaths and destruction and the lives ruined forever--to now sit in the comfort of our homes and pass judgment of guilt over those who had nothing, no role to play in starting the 14-year orgy of genocide solely because they belong to a certain ethnic group that ended the undemocratic rule of a tiny fraction of our society that had excluded the tribal majority for 150 years.
And it is equally sad, or pure ignorance that some of us have ignored what this government pronounced as some of the evidence it claimed to have but was never introduced in court during trial. I will get to that shortly, and how some of us are quick to forget.
That the charges have been reduced to a mere "mercernarism" and the coup plot, sedition and treason allegations that accompanied the summary arrests and detentions of these young men sort of disappeared in thin air is mind boggling.
A mercenary is a hired and paid combatant who must be captured on the battlefront. Instead, for these guys, it became, "he said, they said" in a culture where money is often used as an incentive to buy witnesses. We saw this happened in the previous treason and sedition charges and trial of two other Krahns: Andrew Dorbor and Charles Julu.
Many of us still have our copies of newspapers as they reported on the beginning of the arrests of these Krahn citizens, many of them who were picked up in the Monrovia area more than 200 miles from the fighting in the Ivory Coast.
Many were minding their business selling their "markets" around the Freeport area when they heard their names on radio to turn themselves in to the government. If you did not capture a "mercenary" on the battlefield, how can you prove he is a paid fighter?
In a National Security Agency (NSA) bulletin released to the Press, the NSA said it had evidence of the following:
1.) That Liberian Krahns in the United States were funding a coup plot by wiring money (Western Union and Money Gram obviously) from America to their fellow Krahns.
2.) That 400 former rebel fighters (from LURD and MODEL) had been assembled in Toe Town, Grand Gedeh County, ready to be transported to Monrovia.
3.) And that once the fighters were in Monrovia, they would then attack and overpower the prison guards at the Monrovia Central Prison, then storm the Prison and free their fellow Krahns who were languishing behind bars and join the 400 fighters. 4.) Together, the combined former fighters would they mount an overthrow of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led regime.
In the NSA security bulletin, the government said if the Krahns succeeded in overthrowing the government, then a justification would be that they were jailed because of the 1980 military coup led by Sergeant Samuel Doe, a Krahn who ended the century-plus domination of the Americo-Liberians over the indigenous majority tribal Liberians. The shackles and marginalization that we natives have endured for nearly 200 years are still manifested and entrenched psychologically in many "educated" natives who have swallowed the incurable dogma of our eternal relegation to second class citizens regardless of our positions in the new political dispensation in all three branches of government.
Perhaps it will take another 150 years of a new political education to cleanse us from the imposed inferiority complex we can't seem to throw off our backs. Thus, why the political blinders that still blindfold many of our so-called intelligentsia. Indeed, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."--NAACP.
Jerry Wehtee Wion,
Washington, DC, USA