Monrovia – In accepting his endorsement from the National Democratic Coalition last Saturday, Liberia’s Vice President Joseph Boakai heralded a breathtaking and remarkably humbling development for his quest for the Liberian Presidency.
Report by Rodney D. Sieh, [email protected]
“I do hereby with deep humility and great anticipation, wholeheartedly accept this endorsement of the National Democratic Coalition (NDC). Be assured that I am full conscious of the huge responsibility and obligation it carries. I pray that I will equal the task,” the VP declared.
The endorsement surprisingly also marked the first declaration of merger from any of the major players contesting the 2017 presidential elections.
The NDC made a splash on the eve of the 2011 presidential elections but failed to live up to the hype owing to lack of financial and political resources to take the party over the top.
The NDC is a coalition of political parties formed in 2011 bringing together the New Deal Movement (NDM), the National Patriotic Party (NPP), the National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL), the Liberian People’s Party, the United People’s Party, the Liberia Equal Rights Party and the Labor Party of Liberia.
Former University of Liberia Professor Ambassador Dew Mayson was tipped to become the presumptive standard bearer at the time but was suspended by the New Deal as its standard bearer on July 6, 2011 for unspecified reasons. Mayson was however reinstated less than a week later.
The internal rife has been cited as one of the key reasons why the coalition failed to live up to the hype.
The party was apparently divided over whether to contest the presidential election or to solely field candidates for the legislative elections. But in the days prior to the NDC’s convention, the NPP and the NDPL withdrew from the coalition, and on July 17, the remaining members of the coalition nominated Mayson as their presidential candidate.
Saturdays’ endorsement however appeared to be a watered-down version of the original NDC with the likes of the chairs by constant progressive politician and Professor Alaric Tokpa, Dr. Yanquoi Kargbo.
The endorsement came at the end of a two-day Extra-Ordinary Convention held in Bentol, Montserrado over the weekend aptly timed to endorse the candidature of the Vice President. The Convention which brought together counties Chapters’ delegates from the 15 political sub-divisions witnessed debates on the political agenda and way forward for 2017.
VP Boakai, former Stewart of the United People Party (UPP), and now standard bearer of the ruling Unity Party, took the endorsement as trumpeting sign of an intriguing boost for his candidacy.
The NDC says it took the decision on ground that VP Boakai is best suited to adequately steer the affairs of the Country, most especially when Liberia is at the crossroad of leadership deficit.
The NDC which over the period of times has been opposing the UP in several elections (2015, 2009 senatorial by-election, 2011 elections), took the decision to support Amb Boakai on ground that he’s an ideological comrade to cadres, militants and Sr. comrades of the NDC and his vision and thoughts bear a resemblance to the Progressive Grassroots politics in Liberia.
Accepting the endorsement, VP Boakai recognized the efforts of key members of the coalition and even considers some of them as graduate of one time maximum prison (Belle Yalla) as a result of their advocacy for the voiceless and social justice in the tyranny regimes of Doe.
Accepting the endorsement Saturday, VP Boakai averred: “I feel so highly honored, as this humble son of this soil, to become the beneficiary of the trust of the sum total of all the struggles, sacrifices, the indignities, the injustices, and all that you–brave and courageous advocates of rights–assembled here today endured in your just struggle for the space to serve your country, Liberia.”
But Boakai wasted no time in underscoring the logically reality of what some say could be his handicap heading into the elections as he challenged the NDC to back up their endorsement with resources.
“Now, let me challenge you, in that same breadth, to bring along with this endorsement all that you have to help share our common direction in the healing, reconciliation, love of country, and reconstruction of this nation.”
VP Boakai added that he was proud to proclaim that Liberia is on a democratic governance trajectory, backed by evidence of a slew of positive record breaking political development of late in the political arena amongst the youth, the women, and the progressives.
“We were all witnesses to the historic and unprecedented transfer of authority that took place at the just concluded Unity Party Convention in the Central Liberia City of Gbarnga, just under two months ago.”
VP boakai described the remarkable and historic feat which marked his taking over of the mantle of the Party as the new Standard Bearer from an outgoing Standard Bearer, president Sirleaf.
Boakai went on to acknowledge the critical contribution President Sirleaf has played in elevating our national political discourse, keeping the lid off our free speech, and illuminating our image on the international stage.
He pledged to play his party and keep focus on nothing else but the supreme interest of this nation.