Monrovia – Vice President Joseph N. Boakai is bracing to announce his running mate, but his choice must also be the choice of the sitting President – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, FrontPageAfrica has gathered.
“The old man’s running mate must meet the approval of the President. These are the names suggested so far and there is an analysis report ongoing. “
“After that, it would be submitted to the VP and he’ll sit with President and both of them will decide the running mate.”
VP Boakai has been cementing relationship with President Sirleaf as she is now said to be a major financier of the Unity Party in the upcoming elections.
There were indications that the President was withholding her support from the party as she and her deputy could not reach common ground on who becomes his vice standard bearer in the October elections.
According to political pundits, President Sirleaf is in search of a President who is prepared and willing to protect and support her political interest after she shall have left office.
Speculations spread like wild fire that the President was throwing her weight behind the opposition Liberty Party. There was, however, no evidence to substantiate such allegation.
Boakai is on record for saying the party was not receiving the needed support from the President, but such claim was quickly debunked by the Office of President, who asked the Vice President and his team to focus on strategy rather than money.
Latest developments show that President Sirleaf and Boakai are now putting icing on their relationship, having come to terms on the criteria of who becomes his running mate.
Boakai has several names on his desk who are currently being screened by a technical committee. However, a source said, the ultimate choice for running mate must meet the approval of President Sirleaf.
“Right now she’s the biggest financier of the party. The old man does not have money. So he must act in accordance with the will of the President. Both of them have a good relationship now,” the source said.
FrontPageAfrica gathered from impeccable source that Vice President Boakai has a short list of five former and current officials of government.
Former Public Works Minister Samuel Kofi Woods, Internal Affairs Minister Dr. Henrique Tokpa, Nimba County Representative Matenokey Tingban, former Pro-Tempore of the Senate Gbezhongar Milton Findley and former Finance Minister and IMF Executive Antoinette Sayeh are all options available for the running mate position.
“The old man’s running mate must meet the approval of the President. These are the names suggested so far and there is an analysis report ongoing.
After that, it would be submitted to the VP and he’ll sit with President and both of them will decide the running mate,” the source said.
What Are Their Chances
Samuel Kofi Woods
Born January 5, 196, is a Human Rights Activist, Journalist, and Politician. In 1994, he founded the Forefront Organization, which documented human rights abuses during the Second Liberian Civil War.
Woods has worked tirelessly in the field of human rights and has been vigilant in exposing child labor practices and injustice throughout Liberia. Active even while a student, he was first arrested in 1981.
During the Liberian civil war in 1989 Woods escaped to Ghana, but returned to Liberia in 1991 and founded a human rights organization, the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission.
He operated a radio program aimed at exposing improper arrests, unlawful executions and informing citizens of their civil rights. In 1994 he created the Forefront Organization in order to shed light on human rights abuses during the Second Liberian Civil War.
In 2006, he became the Minister of Labor under President Johnson Sirleaf, only to become Minister of Public Works in 2009 following a cabinet shake-up. He later resigned from government in 2013.
While Woods stands tall for his advocacy for human rights and social justice – attributes which makes him favorable to Boakai, his chances of meeting the President’s approval are very slim.
Woods became vocal on the rampant corruption in the Johnson Sirleaf-led government and the lackadaisical attitude of the President in curbing corruption. His stance after abruptly leaving government dented his relationship with President Johnson Sirleaf.
Gbezhongar Milton Findley
Findley has an established rapport with President Sirleaf. She ran his campaign in Bassa in the 2014 senatorial election.
However, the former Pro-Tempore with all the resources available at his disposal and the influence of the President, lost the seat to opposition Liberty Party – a defeat that saw him lose his lucrative office as President Pro-Tempore of the Senate and Senator of Grand Bassa County.
Calculations are ongoing. Analysis has it that Findley might not be a good choice, taking into consideration his defeat in his own Grand Bassa County having served as Tempore Tempore, he still could not win the confidence of his people.
FrontPageAfrica has been tipped that President Sirleaf has also been involved with the calculations surrounding Findley.
She believes, according our source, he would make a better campaign manager for VP Boakai instead of a running mate.
“The President has been concerned that Findley with his one million dollar budget lost to Brumskine’s party in Bassa. We do not want to underestimate the strength of Brumskine in Bassa,” the source said.
Montserrado County Edwin Snowe is also pushing his interest to be the campaign manager, yet it appears that Findley, though still being examined to be a running mate, he will be the campaign chairman as a fallback position.
Dr. Henrique Tokpa
Dr. Tokpa currently serves as Internal Affairs Minister. Prior to being appointed as Minister, he contested the senatorial seat of Bong County in 2014 but controversially lost to the incumbent, Jewel Howard Taylor.
If selected running mate, Dr. Tokpah will be in the web of the now contentious Code of Conduct. As sitting appointed official of government, the ruling party will also be in violation of a law it crafted and approved.
Rep. R. Matenokey Tingban
Winning elections in Liberia to a larger extent depends on one’s grip on the vote-rich Counties like Nimba County, from which Rep. Tingban (District 9, Nimba) hails.
Already, arch rival in the Presidential bid, Brumskine has picked his running mate from NimbaCounty. Harrison Karnwea was selected as vice standard bearer to Brumskine less than two months after he resigned from the ruling party. He has promised to deliver the county to Brumskine.
Tingban serves as the Co-Chair – Claims and Petition; Good Governance and Governmental Reform Member – Transport, Lands, Natural Resources and Environment.
He may not be a household name in Monterrado County, but it is believed that he has vast influence in Nimba and the Southeast where he reportedly has several development projects ongoing.
However, his fate as to becoming running mate to Boakai lies within purview of President Sirleaf.
Antoinette Monsio Sayeh assumed her current position as Director of the African Department of the International Monetary Fund in July 2008.
As Minister of Finance in post-conflict Liberia (January 2006 through June 2008) she led the country through the clearance of its long-standing multilateral debt arrears, the HIPC Decision Point, the Paris Club, and its first Poverty Reduction Strategy, significantly strengthening its public finances and championing public financial management reform.
Before joining President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Cabinet, Ms. Sayeh worked for the World Bank for seventeen years, including as Country Director for Benin, Niger, and Togo, Country Economist on Pakistan, and Afghanistan, as well as an Advisor in the Bank’s Operations Policy Vice Presidency and as assistant to its principal Managing Director.
Before joining the Bank, Ms. Sayeh worked in economic advisory positions in Liberia’s Ministries of Finance and Planning.
Ms. Sayeh graduated with a bachelor's degree with honors in economics from Swarthmore College and a PhD in International Economic Relations from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.
Ms. Sayeh brings to the VP’s table international contacts which pundits say is cardinal for the smooth operation of his government.
It is not yet clear whether she’s a recommendation of President Sirleaf, but stakes are high that both Boakai and Johnson-Sirleaf will have to make a hard choice between Tingban and Ms. Sayeh.