Liberia: Looking to Avoid 2017 Mistake, UP’s Boakai Says He’ll Announce Running Mate Soon
Monrovia – The standard bearer of the opposition Unity Party, Joseph Boakai, says he will shortly announce his running mate to avoid repeating the 2017 delay, when he announced then Speaker of the House of Representatives and current Margibi County Senator Emmanuel Nuquay as running mate three months to the 2023 presidential elections.
The former vice president, however, said his decision to pick a running mate will not be a ‘rush decision’, because his criteria hinges on the person’s passion for country, and someone who believes in honest service to country.
“A vice president is the heart beat of the presidency. That means a vice president can be president anytime. My vice president should be someone who shares my vision about Liberia. It is a decision people make personally, because he or she assists the president,” Boakai said during a meeting with journalists in Monrovia.
“A vice president is the heart beat of the presidency. That means a vice president can be president anytime. My vice president should be someone who shares my vision about Liberia. It is a decision people make personally, because he or she assists the president.”Joseph Nyumah Boakai, Unity Party
He added: “People can speculate what they want, but it is not a decision that anybody can push me into because we want the best for this country. It is not about name and prestige. A vice president should be someone who understands the country and knows the issues. He or she must know what the people are going through. My vice president should believe in honest service to the country like I have always believed.”
Boakai faces yet another important decision of his political career, choosing a running mate ahead of the presidential elections in 2023.
Selecting a running mate is always critical for a presidential candidate. But it’s an especially urgent calculation for the 78-year-old Boakai who, if he wins, would be one of the oldest African presidents.
The decision carries added weight amid an emerging crisis within his newly-formed political marriage with the All Liberian Party (ALP) and the Sen. Nyonblee Karngar-Lawrence, the embattled political leader of the Liberty Party.
Can Easily Pick Anyone, but…
“We’re still going to be in crisis or recovery, and you want a running mate who can manage that,” a UP political strategist who worked for former president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s 2011 campaign. “This seems like a much more important decision than usual.”
Boakai faces pressure on multiple fronts. He must consider the demands of the ideologically diverse parties within his collaboration, especially their roles played in standing with him before breaking ranks with the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP).
He must balance those concerns with his stated desire for a partner who is “ready to be president on a moment’s notice.”
Stalwarts close to several presumed contenders say they’ve not yet been contacted. Boakai has offered plenty of hints. He’s said he can easily pick anyone but is in no hurry to name a running mate.
According to multiple sources, he’s given no indication of whether he’ll look to the Senate, where he spent 12 years as president of the Liberian Senate.
“Everything that affect this country will be review and i will make sure as President, that they provide maximum benefit to everyone.”
‘Comfortable with Jallah being Lofa Senator’
Contrary to claims and suggestions that the victory of Cllr. Joseph Jallah of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change in the recent Lofa By-election is a setback to for Boakai whom many believe is the political face of the county, the UP standard bearer said he is comfortable with Jallah as senator.
“It was a temptation to think that we will go and fight Jallah elections victory. We can’t fight Jallah he’s a son of Lofa County. He’s my nephew from the Gbandi region. His victory has nothing on my chance into the elections for the presidency. During senatorial elections people support their own. The Gbandi people supported their son, and I am very comfortable with Jallah being Lofa County senator.
Commenting on allegations that he flew a private jet to go Nigeria on a recent trip, Boakai said: “I didn’t use government or public money. That wasn’t my first time being offer a flight by friends who respect me and want to take me to places.
“Not because I don’t have money I don’t have friends who support me and respect me. I have had offers on many occasions from friends around the world who have offered me flights to take me places.