What Does the Selection of Emmanuel K. Urey Yarkpawolo As VP Running Mate Say About Tiawon Gongloe and the Liberian People’s Party?

Posted June 20, 2023
by Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh

For Liberians, politics is about the person and the personality that drives the individual into the world he or she navigates to move past the delusions that underlie the packaged image.

That image is often a façade that either alarms us or has us fawning over the individual as if he or she is the best thing to ever come out of Liberia in our time.

When that image, as flawed as it may seem is left to sprout as if it were a planted vegetable, and left to fester to poison our stomachs, we get sick and look for remedies to cure the illness.

In politics, winning is the absolute endgame for campaigns and the candidates, and that means selecting a winning message, a winning platform, and ideals, a winning running mate who appeals to a section of the electorates, one who projects strength and emits a positive spirit, understands political campaigns, and whose values and visions align with the candidate.

When a running mate is selected not based on the above but to appeal to the vague notion of the individual’s higher academic credentials and ‘hope’ as his supporters want us to believe the chosen running mate projects are not only an insult to the campaign but a losing strategy.

It doesn’t matter whether the individual is qualified for the job, is an overrated academic, a warlord that sent a country into an inferno and near-obliteration and its citizens into homelessness and exiled, and sent countless others to their graves, what matters to these people is the tough talk and the temptation to repackage the individuals as heroes to reshape what is left of a dysfunctional country.

The fallout from this line of politics is a delusion of grandeur, a failed state, failed institutions, and the unsettling arrogance of those whose garish behaviors we embrace, yet we find their resilience to remain in the public sphere as a badge of honor worthy of deification.

If you think these are not reasons to be pessimistic and cynical about Liberia and Liberian politics, then throw education in the mix, as in college degrees – Doctoral degrees as a qualification to higher office in a Liberia that needs every hand on deck – the educated and non-college educated to play a role in nation building.

The back-to-back selection of running mates by the Unity Party candidate Joseph Boikai and Alexander Cummings of the Alternative National Congress Party left Tiawon Gongloe of the Liberian People’s Party as the lone candidate whose time had not yet come to make his move to pick his running mate.

Well, folks, Tiawon Gongloe spoke and plucked out of obscurity one Dr. Emmanuel K. Urey Yarkpawolo of Zota District, Bong County, as his running mate.

This is the same Emmanuel K. Urey Yarkpawolo who had previously declared his intentions to run for the House of Representatives for the District Four seat in his home district, but abandoned that plan to be Gongloe’s vice presidential running mate.

Truth is, the selection of the politically unknown Emmanuel K. Urey Yarkpawolo as Tiawon Gongloe’s running mate will not secure the Executive Mansion for this team.

A waste of time, energy, and resources.

Unlike Emmanuel K. Urey Yarkpawolo who has no name recognition and is unknown in political and civic organization circles, Tiawon Gongloe is a known candidate with enormous name recognition from his days as a university student leader, human rights lawyer, and a former bureaucrat in the administration of former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Unfortunately, Tiawon Gongloe did not use the (symbolic broom) that he publicly displays today to sweep away corruption in the administration that he served so dutifully. To abruptly leave a job and the problem behind is not a viable solution or answer to the problem.

As if he doesn’t enjoy campaigning, Gongloe’s not a passionate campaigner with a forceful-vibrant message that contrasts and preempts the incumbent.

Gongloe’s style is a wait-and-see, hit me-so-I can-hit-you-back campaign style, which is not doing him and his campaign any good, except that he continues to visit the United States on his fundraising tours as if the United States is where the presidential election will be held.

The obvious lack of a rapid response strategy or team to immediately counter the lies, ineptitude, recklessness, failed and corrupt administration of President George Manneh Weah has drained every ounce of momentum out of a campaign that once had the blessings of most Liberians, and spelled hope for a better future.

Tiawon Gongloe is not alone on this lethargic political path that could doom the ambitions of the presidential candidates. In fact, the rest of the major presidential candidates including Boakai and Cummings are woefully threading this route which could spell an eventual defeat in October.

Not making it easy for Tiawon Gongloe’s presidential campaign is the history of the Liberian People’s Party and members not known for party loyalty.

The party-hopping and backstabbing in the 1997 presidential election, coupled with the formation of a political party by a key member to nurse the member’s own bloated ego and presidential run, was a disaster.

The Liberian People’s Party or its members are known for their mighty intellectual power and theoretical stances, naked ambitions, lack of party loyalty, party-hopping, and impracticability.

And what does the selection of Emmanuel K. Urey Yarkpawolo As VP Running Mate Say About Tiawon Gongloe and the Liberian People’s Party?

Is it possible that the selection of Emmanuel K. Urey Yarkpawolo as Tiawon Gongloe’s vice presidential running mate could change things around?




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