Joe Boakai Critiques Weah’s Road Projects: Politics Or Deception?
Someone may say it has been a while since Ambassador Joseph Nyumah Boakai, former Vice President, spoke high politics in the midst of a glaring harsh economy and the drawing down of the political curtains to 2023 general and presidential elections. However, the former Vice President, who announced during the 2017 election campaign that his priority if elected would be road, has descended on President George Manneh Weah’s road projects, terming them as “sidewalks in Monrovia”.
According to Ambassador Boakai, the problem of the country with respect to prices, health and education are highly tied to road. He said the prices of some commodities on the market are high because there is no road to get them where they are needed.
Even though there could be little or no argument about President Weah’s stride to connect the fifteen counties with paved roads, evident by the number of on-going road projects all over the country, Ambassador Boakai has argued that he will do better in terms of road connectivity if elected President of the Republic.
“When we talk about road, I’m not talking about putting a road on the sidewalk in Monrovia or constructing a US$50,000 road and exaggerating it to US$3 million; we are talking about roads that will open up the country, open up opportunities, get businesses going and reduce dependency. That’s what we are talking about,” Ambassador Boakai noted.
Ambassador Boakai is the Standard Bearer of the Unity Party (UP), one of the parties within the four Collaborating Political Parties (CPP). He is expected to contest in the CPP primaries for its standard bearer-ship, and if elected he is expected to become the main contender to President Weah, leader of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
Ambassador Boakai has maintained that road remains the first priority on his agenda come 2023. According to him, when he lost the election in 2017, he pledged to support the Weah government, which he did. He said while others were on their neck to talk against the regime, he gave Weah and his CDC the time to work while they observed and listened.
In an exclusive interview with the Chairman of the Council of Patriots (COP), Henry P. Costa, Ambassador Boakai, as it relates to his health, said the concern about his health is not that he is not healthy but there are people who just do not want to see him healthy, but said they are disappointed because he is strong and well. “I move around, I’m energetic, and I have nothing to complain about. I am healthy and bouncing,” he added.
The Unity Party first partisan said it is unfortunate that the President, Vice President, Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Liberia cannot visit the United States, the traditional ally of the nation. According to him, some of those in government do not even understand when someone says the “United States is Liberia and Liberia is the United States”. He recalled his trips to the US and his advocacy there on behalf of the Liberian people.
He wondered why President Weah cannot visit the United States and termed the delinquency as unfortunate. “I go to the States when and where I want to, and no one has ever questioned that,” he said. He noted that he is still in contact with very important personalities in the US government, and it would not be a problem mending the relationship between Liberia and America.
Back to the CPP politics, Ambassador Boakai said the Liberian people are requesting for an individual with the qualities to defeat President Weah, and he assured that he has all that it takes to do that and, in fact, with no disrespect, there is no other person in the CPP that can defeat President Weah except him.
However, political observers have termed Ambassador Boakai’s criticism a complete deception and a chicanery only meant to save face. The Spoon Talk Panel, which is made of five political observers, considered the UP Standard Bearer’s statement as not being fair to the unfolding reality. The Panel wondered why Boakai kept emphasizing on the leadership of the CDC government not visiting the US when they who made a number of visits there did nothing to alleviate the poverty and hardship from the country.
According to the panel, the Unity Party government had all the opportunities to give the kiss of life to the nation and its people, but he is one of those on record for alluding to the fact that they squandered the opportunities. The rated the Weah administration ahead of the past regime, and noted that Ambassador Boakai needed to upgrade from the politics of criticizing everything when they did less with an astonishing international financial support.
Political observers are predicting that Ambassador Boakai’s statement—that only he has the qualities required to defeat President Weah and the CDC within the CPP—has the potential to undermine the collaboration. They say it is disingenuous for “Oldman Boakai”, the brain behind the CPP, to hold the belief that without him the CPP cannot excel. “What if the CPP goes to a primary and Joe Boakai gets defeated…What then happens to the collaboration?” they wondered.
Others have expressed disappointment in the UP Standard Bearer’s statement and argued that, if President Weah continues on his development drive he could defeat the opposition with a landslide victory come 2023, taking into consideration that Ambassador Boakai has alluded that the CDC government is putting the taxpayers’ money at work, even though with an unfair analysis that they are constructing “sidewalks” and inflicting the amount.