Liberia: Amb. Joseph N. Boakai’s Health Is Overblown


In recent weeks, there has been clamor about Amb. Boakai’s health coupled with unsubstantiated alms provided him from some source.  Well, preoccupying oneself on JNB’s health and age is disingenuous and unfortunately myopic because meeting some “physical’’ demand of the presidency while aspiring for the position is no requirement at all.  Amb. Boakai is not participating in some ninety-minute soccer game as a number 5 like me, the ultimate defender; he’s neither going to undergo some rigorous “presidential physical fitness test,” say push-up, sit-up, jogging, or sprinting.

By Dionysius Sebwe, [email protected], Contributing Writer

Rather, he’ll use his intellect, experience, and wisdom to lead, working along with experienced and competent Liberians poised to hit the ground running; a dedicated team of patriotic Liberians that can engender this country to reset to accomplish the much-needed socio-economic development we all yearn.

Moreover, with Amb. Boakai’s experience, impeccable leadership, and excellent track record over the years, we can only expect the best of him supported by a team of professional Liberians ready to not only reform but profoundly transform beleaguered institutions to meet challenges of the 21st century.

I have a dad who’s nonagenarian, and mentally sound.  He has excellent retentive memory and can readily recall lots of personal history as well as historical facts about his native Sasstown, Grand Kru. Being in the age range of septuagenarian or octogenarian doesn’t signify incapacity. In addition, I have seen the former Vice President meeting the physical demand of his office during the previous EJS administration as well as his current role as Standard Bearer of the Unity Party.

As Standard Bearer, he’s in back-to-back meetings almost every day holding discussions with like-minded individuals, partners, and institutions to bring sanity to our governing system. How many of you in your 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s can easily endure this daily regimen? I hope by now the public can conjure up or understand how prepared Amb. Boakai is to cope with the rigors of the presidency when given the opportunity.

Therefore, let’s halt the triviality and focus more on substantive issues – why and how the former Vice President intends to steer this country toward development to benefit the entire citizenry regardless of party affiliation. Or, how he intends to profoundly transform Liberia based on sound policies. The doomsday scenario or wishful thinking by some while referencing Article 63 in the Liberian constitution certainly does not apply here; it’s just hogwash.

Rescuing Liberia is Amb. Joseph Nyumah Boakai’s ultimate objective – to undertake an almost insurmountable but achievable task. Thus, the elections of 2023 are undoubtedly consequential. If ordinary folks’ lives are better under the current conditions, then there’s no need to change course; we’ll all have to respect that.  However, the facts are glaring; it’s undeniably conspicuous that the country is retrogressing.  Even the 12-year-old I met the other day is not happy with the current state of affairs in the country because his dad who used to be breadwinner for their family is unemployed because the company he worked for over the years folded operations due to unfavorable business environment.

Finally, while health of any leader can be a concern, it should not be the sole determinant for the presidency of Liberia; it has to be holistic. Playing doctor or some quasi-physician and compelling a presidential candidate to quit merely based on opinion or sentiment is utterly insensitive and simply not the way to go. Neither should we even gloat about a “Gotcha” moment like “I told you so.” Let’s always wish good health for our leaders irrespective of party label.