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Two Bad Apples

By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh      


Liberians are having a field day – at least in terms of the coming of the on-and-off run-off presidential election scheduled for the 26th of December, the day after Christmas.

Whether the event schedulers are right or wrong for choosing this celebratory day after, when Liberians are still reeling from partying, hangovers, and wishing each and every individual in their drunken and sober paths “Merry Christmas,” is left with the National Elections Commission and others to decide.

What I know for sure is that Liberians are used to complaining after the facts are in, and are not known to complain before anything takes place.

These Liberians are excited about Boakia and Weah, and who they think will win, and who will lose in a presidential race that I really don’t care a thing about for my own reasons.

If you have been following my columns on this page over the years and over the decades, you ought to know my political positions by now. I am not easily carried away by (big) names and positions in government.

I am for truth, progress and democracy for the country and the Liberian people. As a pragmatic progressive, I am for building strong and credible political institutions in Liberia. I am not for the Band-Aid approach to governance that we now see in Liberia today.

I am not a follower.

On Facebook and on every available medium, there are potpourri of talkers and hordes of “political analysts” throwing out their own political prognostications the way they know best.

And when Liberians are stunningly excited as we have seen or are now seeing during these elections season, nothing, not even a Mack truck can stop the excitement.

Liberians are quick to see themselves as politically mature in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision that cleared the way for the upcoming runoff election.

I wish such statement was true two decades ago, or true even three decades ago when political maturity didn’t factor in the fatal decision that ended a presidency abruptly, and another politically selfish and insensitive decision that sent the country into a civil war that benefitted those that started it.

Unfortunately, in 2017, Jewel Howard Taylor, the ex-wife of Charles Taylor, the mastermind of that enormously deadly conflict is the vice-presidential running mate of presidential candidate George Weah.

Yet, some Liberians don’t care at all about George Weah’s selection of Jewel Howard Taylor to be a stone throw away from the Liberian presidency, a job her notoriously criminal and dictatorial husband held with ironclad for six years.

Liberians care less whether the inarticulate Weah, the perennial presidential candidate and consummate deal maker who went from being a presidential candidate in 2005, to playing second fiddle to the True Whig Party’s Winston Tubman (True Whig Party?) in 2011 as a vice-presidential candidate, and is running again in 2017 as a presidential candidate, is up to the job.

The question is, where’s George Weah’s political judgment? Is he capable of making good and sound decisions for Liberia and the Liberian people?

So far, I have serious problems with George Manneh Weah’s judgment and his decision-making skills.

Can he stand the political heat in the Executive Mansion? Can he stand the daily criticisms awaiting him, or is he going to start sending political opponents to Bella Yella and South Beach prisons, and to their early deaths for criticizing a President Weah?

Well, Liberians don’t care!

I guess, three’s a charm, and George Weah could be the next President of Liberia.

Joseph N. Boakia is the older of the two candidates. At 73 years old, Boakai’s 22 years older than Weah at 51 years old.

However, the older incumbent vice president is struggling to stave off the aggressive campaign of the younger George Weah.

Sadly, vice president Boakai does not seem to have a convincing strategy other than his hollow and dreamy attempt (if he’s elected president) to:

“construct and maintain roads and bridges, improve airports and seaports, improve public schools and healthcare facilities, boost energy generation and distribution, invest in public transportation, develop water transport system, and develop and utilize national fiber-backbone infrastructure,” Part 1 of Mr. Boakai’s ‘Right Platform for Liberia’s Development.’

“How is the vice president going to pay for his programs and platform?” I asked a supporter.

According to the supporter, these programs will be paid for from approved legislative budgetary appropriations, (not from the candidate’s own campaign projections, which does not exist), but will commence when the then-vice president is elected President of Liberia.

This is fuzzy.

These are some of the reasons the vice president is having problem convincing the Liberian electorates about his fledgling presidential bid. 

As a presidential candidate, Mr. Boakai does not have a projected vision for the country, but is supposedly awaiting a budget from the legislature to pay for his programs for Liberia, which is damn scary.

Other than his 12-year stint as vice president of Liberia to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the uncharismatic Joseph N. Boakai does not come across as confident, bold, knowledgeable, telegenic and ready to lead from day one.

Even as a career civil servant in the Liberian government throughout his life, I have yet to see Mr. Boakai’s practical contributions to the Republic of Liberia.

Oh, like Weah, Boakai is waiting to be elected President of Liberia before he can make a major contribution to the development of Liberia.

No joke about it.

Two bad apples.

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