Liberia: Boakai Is GoL’s “Star Witness”: Unity Party, Beware!
Last week, after a failed attempt to name a candidate in the May 10 Senatorial By-election in Lofa County, a handful of disappointed Unity Party leaders and supporters, absent their ailing Standard Bearer, took to the streets of Monrovia to “protest”. They went in search of foreign embassies and missions to offer an “alert” concerning their rightful denial consistent with the Framework Agreement which contractually obligated the UP and three other registered political parties to act and field candidates in the of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) of Liberia. They did so successfully in the Midterm Senatorial Elections in 2020.
Obviously aware of the penalty for withdrawal, and while benefiting from the rotational leadership of the CPP, Boakai pulled his Unity Party out of the CPP. After more than 18 months of existence and public compliance with the terms of the Framework Agreement, the UP leaders informed the NEC that they could not be bound to the CPP because they “did not sign” the Framework Agreement filed at the NEC, for which the said instrument must be considered “a product of fraud.” The NEC rightfully disagreed and asked the UP to take its constitutional claims to the Honorable Supreme Court. Meanwhile, until the court orders otherwise, the UP would not be permitted to field a candidate in the Lofa By-election in its own name.
Ridiculously, rather than call out the follies and errant judgment of its Standard Bearer and other leaders, some UP leaders sought to shamelessly “alert” the foreign missions and embassies in a useless street “protest”. A few days after their “alert protest”, and instructively, while the matter of their participation in the Lofa By-election, and by extension the 2023 Presidential and General Elections, is pending before the Supreme Court, the UP Secretary-General has announced that their 79-year old Standard Bearer, Former Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, has been subpoenaed by the Liberian Government to help the government prosecute Alexander Cummings. More than 4 months ago, the loquacious Solicitor General Cllr. Syrenius Cephus, named Joseph Boakai the government’s “star witness”.
After initially dodging the service of the subpoena, with the defeat at the NEC and his political ambition up on the docket of the Supreme Court, a vindictive Boakai is ready, like Brutus, to stab Cummings and deliver a death knell to the Liberian opposition community. Boakai supports the charges against the man who dared to challenge his coronation in the CPP. The complaint against Cummings was filed by the wannabe Vice President to Boakai, UN-sanctioned and accused gunrunner, Benoni Urey’s All Liberian Party (ALP).
For the most part, Boakai has been sheepish and reticent to condemn the Weah-led administration for its many failures. A pensioner, Boakai is on the payroll of the government and draws monthly checks from the government for his upkeep. Two of his sons are employed by the Maritime Authority and the Social Security. Even then, Boakai wants the Liberian people to believe he is serious to unseat President Weah in 2023, while dependent on Weah for he and his family’s upkeep.
The Liberian Government’s Writ of Arrest for Cummings charges him for including a withdrawal penalty clause into the Framework Agreement, which was “unresolved” by the four parties. The government prosecutorial team admitted to “inadvertently” extracting a number of critical conversations from the evidence which shows the exact opposite and clearly exonerates Cummings. The “prosecutorial misconduct” proves the trial of Cummings is more than a search for the truth. It is a political persecution to weaken the opposition. President Weah is counting on Joseph Nyuma Boakai, the UP Standard Bearer, to assist him serve the Liberian people this undemocratic menu, and abuse of the judicial system to achieve personal political ends.
Again shortsightedly, just like they self-destructed at the NEC after self-declaring themselves to have withdrawn from the CPP, Boakai and some of his UP supporters are salivating at the prospect of stabbing Cummings in Weah’s weaponized court. But the evidence supporting Cummings’ innocence and exoneration is overwhelming. The cognitive abilities of the aged UP leader cannot be said to be on par. It is, at best, suspect with his advanced age and declining health.
Rather than hurting Cummings, which Boakai thinks he is giddy to do, the octogenarian is being set up by the government to expose his fragility, incapacity and lack of mental fitness. The Weah administration is using Boakai to draw a wedge in the opposition community and counting on another unforced error by Boakai, the first of which was to send slavish Urey to file a criminal suit against Cummings, which was followed by the announced withdrawal of the UP from the CPP, after benefiting from its obligations. Both leadership errors have the UP reeling, discombobulated and unsettled.
Boakai is unwittingly running to the courts to destroy himself, and the Unity Party of Edward Kesselly and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The Oldman needs help. Rather than “alerts” to foreign embassies and missions later, now is the time to rescue the UP from a self-centered, vindictive and destructive Boakai. The Liberian people will be unforgiving.
Unity Party, beware!
As Sir Walter Scott cautioned: “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!”