President-elect Joseph N. Boakai

Joseph Nyumah Boakai and The New Era of Compassionate Politics in Liberia

Posted December 3, 2023
by Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh

The endorsements came and gone, and the ballots have been counted and made public in both the October 10 presidential election, and the November 14 runoff election.

In terms of the endorsements, they were as lame as they come and as uninspiring as those who shamelessly made them in the name of unity, self-righteousness, and opportunism hyped them to be.

Political endorsements are supposed to project the best intentions of the person making the endorsement in a way that breathes life into the campaigns of the candidates.

In Liberia, however, political endorsements have become a game people play to project a fake and dishonest image of unity, even though, their thoughts and prayers are always with their bloated egos, and what the person can get later from the endorsement, and the deceitful, behind-the-scenes games they play to benefit their selfish goals and interests.
People endorse political candidates because they believe in the person, share their values, visions, and beliefs, and have similar interests or near-similar goals for the country, which is a common thread that binds and links them.
The Liberian runoff presidential elections finally gave the Liberian people a glimpse of not only the wimps, and hypocrisies of the wannabe kingmakers and their twisted plots but also introduced the nation to the winner of the presidential election in the person of former vice president Joseph Nyumahh Boakai, who went through a slew of formidable and less formidable wannabe presidential candidates to win a contested race that capped a political career that spanned over 40 decades of public service.

Joseph N. Boakai went on to defeat President George Manneh Weah nationally by 814,481 (50.64%) votes to 793,914 (49.36%) votes, in a runoff presidential election that set a record as one of the closest and most peaceful elections and runoff elections in the Liberian nation’s history.

With a total tally of 1,634.183 votes nationally, Liberians gathered at the polls in every region of the country where they could vote and exercised one of the few fundamental rights they have under their country’s constitution and voted their choice of the person they believed will lead their country and citizenry in the direction of progress, safety, jobs, and development.

A tall order, of course, if you’ve ever followed Liberian politics since that order is filled with presidential fealty, tribal loyalty, stifling loyalty and spineless sycophancy, and disappointment, as impunity, an enabling culture, and the lack of accountability makes it a whole lot more difficult to punish the leader who failed to meet the expectations of the people.
The overwhelming results of the October 10 national election and the November 14 runoff presidential and legislative elections that saw influential incumbents such as President George Manneh Weah and others lose key elections are encouraging reasons to have hopes that the odious and often don’t care ways of doing things in Liberia are now in the rearview mirror, as these elected officials are poised to be held accountable at the ballot box in future elections for corruption, neglect, and lack of leadership.

Though he didn’t win convincingly by a wide margin, president-elect Joseph Nyuma Boakai, the aging former bureaucrat, has his hands full, and must now take the bulls by the horns to correct the wrongs of the George Manneh Weah administration, and send an unambiguous message that he wasn’t elected to the presidency to play but to seriously take care of the people’s business.

Some are calling for an aggressive audit of the outgoing Weah administration to prosecute and confiscate alleged stolen public funds by former government officials, a necessary practice that President Weah failed to carry out after he took over from Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, for reasons known to the former president and his allies.

Mr. Boakai’s detractors see an audit as a “witch hunt,” which is a cheap and convenient way to avoid accountability for the reckless and out-of-control way the Weah administration allegedly robbed the country of its meager funds and unlimited natural resources.

To prove that his administration will not engage in business as usual, Mr. Boakai will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a) he is not a George Manneh Weah clone, b) he is thoughtful, compassionate, competent, and ready to govern c) he can end corruption, control corruption or put a dent in corruption, d) fire and prosecute corrupt government officials e), will encourage investment, create shovel-ready jobs, and all kinds of jobs that will put Liberians to work.
With a less expansive vision that threaded on patrimony and benevolence rather than having a robust national policy that builds, uplifts, empowers, and provides opportunity for all, George Manneh Weah fell from grace by falling asleep at the wheels giving his countless detractors a reason to boot him out of office.

President-elect Boakai won the hearts of the Liberian people by stubbornly showing that he is not President George Manneh Weah, the inept, stylish, play-boyish former football star who won crossover appeal on the football field and won worldwide adulation off the football field, only to enter the blood sport of politics to fail poorly and disastrously.
The 2023 presidential and legislative elections proved that the Liberian people are not passive and gullible voters anymore. They proved that people’s power is more powerful than individual power.

The Liberian people know now that genuine anger at the insensitive and neglectful political establishments can bring them out in droves to make a statement.

That statement is to vote the deceitful and good-for-nothing politicians out.

Watch out, Joseph Nyumah Boakai! 


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