Monrovia - The Unity Party led government is expected to face stiff competition from several opposition political parties in 2017 during general and presidential elections as the ruling party is lining up Vice President Joseph N. Boakai as its candidate pending national convention ahead of the plebiscite.
President Ellen Johnson has already declared her support to Boakai as her possible successor and Boakai has also been endorsed by party Chairman, Grand Cape Mount County Senator, Cllr. Varney Sherman and other high ranking members of the Unity Party. The opposition looks fragmented as forming collaboration is something looking unlikely with the ego factor hampering any such collaboration as many of the known politicians seem unwilling to play fielder role to the other. Ahead of the political process, the campaign drum is beating and opposition politicians are raising the debate against the regime in order to woo voters to oust the incumbent from power. Incumbent President Sirleaf and her regime supporters are boasting of infrastructure development including the construction of roads as some of the many achievements for which they are seeking re-election. The opposition National Patriotic Party (NPP) has indicated that the Sirleaf-Boakai led regime must made full disclosure of the financial status of the country including report on the utilization of donations to the country since 2006 and the current debt status of the country. Delivering a statement, James P. Biney, Chairman of the NPP stated that the Sirleaf led regime has benefited from billions of United States dollars in loans, aid and should now make full disclosure of the how such monies were spent. “We encourage the Sirleaf-Boakai’s leadership to keep within focus its response to the issues raised herein and provide the Liberian people with adequate information of the utilization of the billions of United States dollars received in aid, taxes and loans and make full disclosure of Liberia’s current debt status”, stated the NPP Chairman who is also Representative of Maryland County, District #1. “It is therefore important that the Sirleaf-Boakai’s government makes full disclosure to its people of the total financial aid it received since 2006 and Liberia’s current external and domestic debt”. The NPP Chairman said it is estimated that at the end of the Sirleaf-Boakai’s tenure, Liberia’s total external and domestic debt stock would be about one billion United States dollars and these debts will be inherited by subsequent governments and the next generation. According Biney, in the absence of the government making full disclosure of the utilization of these funding and how much the government now owes in terms of debt, it cannot boast of achievement. “Until the government provides such information to enable Liberians make an informed and fair assessment of the government’s performance, we believe the government’s boast of achievements lacks foundation. Basically, to whom much is given, much is expected in return”, said Biney. NPP regime vs Sirleaf-Boakai Chairman Biney noted that the NPP is cognizance of the assertion by the current regime that the NPP-led government did not accomplish much, indicating that it is important to note that the NPP’s six-year term was incapacitated by sanction and civil war. “Therefore, it is unjustified to compare the NPP led government with the Sirleaf-Boakai’s leadership that has benefited billions in foreign assistance and has enjoyed absolute peace”, said Binney. In its assessment of the performance of the Sirleaf-Boakai’s regime the NPP official said the education sector is below par with students having no seat at some public schools, major high ways (laterite roads) cut off during the rainy season, massive unemployment and under employment in the face of the enormity of opportunities available to the government. Stated Biney: “Public schools teachers, heath workers and chiefs earn less than two hundred United States dollars a month. Less than 30% of Liberians have access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene. A recent survey by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene estimates that over 77% of Liberians lack safe drinking water, adequate toilet and proper hygiene”. The NPP is a former ruling party after winning the 1997 presidential election overwhelmingly in the first round with over 75% of the votes. The NPP led regime ended premature with its political Leader Charles Taylor going into exile in calabar Nigeria after two rebel groups LURD and MODEL fought the regime for several years.