A Bad Start for President Joseph Boakai, and Dauson V. Kamara’s Untimely Death. Liberia Cannot Afford To Have Another Incompetent President

Posted January 24, 2024
by Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh

Joseph Boakai’s pre-presidency started with a children’s Christmas party at his residence, followed by a series of cleanup campaigns and garbage collections held in major parts of the city of Monrovia left there by his predecessors, the Sirleaf and Weah administrations, coupled with a meeting with key legislators at the residence of the president-elect.

The latter, a meeting held at the private residence of the then-president-elect, not an Event Hall or a state-owned conference room, was reportedly personalized to get the support of the handpicked legislators to possibly shepherd the new president’s national agenda.

Painfully corrupt, incompetent, and not known for their loyalty to a political party, the handpicked legislators took the bait anyway amid rumors that each member received $25,000 from the Boakai camp, (the Boakai camp denied the amount but reportedly admitted it to be $5,000) to meet with Mr. Boakai at his private residence which even raises eyebrows about the intent of the meeting.

So, why would a new president who campaigned to “rescue” the nation from the scourge of corruption dole out such an amount when he vowed to weed out corruption when he becomes president?

Well, the day that Mr. Boakai actually became president was such a memorable day starting with the now President Boakai who was seated majestically among foreign dignitaries and local dignitaries, all of whom took their seats to listen to the ageing Liberian leader who came prepared or unprepared (as some would say) to tell the nation and his guests on a hot and jammed-packed capitol grounds about his vision for the country.

Unfortunately, President Boakai did not get to end his speech due to poor planning and logistical nightmares, and what seemed to be a medical emergency that had aides and security rushed the new president away from the podium as he gave his speech, which eclipsed the jubilation, and the ceremony and stole the new president’s thunder.

The event planners for the presidential inauguration get an (F) failing grade for incompetence, lack of farsightedness and boldness, and for not serving the nation and the new president and vice president well. They blew this glorious opportunity to shine and make Liberia really a great nation.

Event planners often anticipate the inevitable such as heat waves, cold weather, rain, and a crowd. With such a large crowd anticipated for the event, coupled with the heatwave, bottles of water and paramedics, etc., a large open venue (preferably a stadium) equipped with large jumbotron TV screens, and a few huge industrial fans, would have been a perfect fit for the occasion and the outside crowd, while the guests and dignitaries would be safely seated in an airconditioned building quickly built for the occasion.

But to have the crowd standing everywhere in the hallways and walkways in front of the seated guests, blocking every little air coming in, and a long, boring speech is not good planning. A recipe for disaster.

The distractions of a small and overcrowded capitol grounds instead of the larger soccer stadium, coupled with an intense heatwave that took a toll on nearly everybody present at the occasion, the president’s slurred and boring speech which went on forever and forever, the lack of bottles of water to dehydrate the crowd and guests, the obvious lack of paramedics to attend to the sick, which perhaps led to the death of a diaspora Liberian, Dauson V. Kamara, who was visiting from the United States and was in Liberia to attend the inaugural events.

President Boakai is not an inspiring orator whose speech will sweep his audience off their feet. With such a boring and sleepy delivery style, his reported health issues, his advanced age of 79 years, and having a presidential inauguration on a brutally hot Liberian day in an open area with no fans or air conditions, and no bottles of water and paramedics, did not do the event any justice.

The inaugural speech. What speech?

Because of President Boakai’s slurred speech and boring delivery, and the ensuing commotion, I did not hear anything policy-related to quiet my anxiety about where the new president’s taking the country after President George Manneh Weah’s painfully corrupt, inept, childish, and disappointing six years as a playboy and fashion president.

Can Liberia afford another painful six years.




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