Despite huge speculations over his health as spilled out by Henry Costa, Liberia’s former Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai says he’s very strong and continues to move around.
In an exclusive interview with the BBC, Ambassador Boakai said, “Henry Costa might be a doctor of another kind who can determine the health of people. But I am moving around and who should know better about their own health than themselves? Maybe he knows more than the doctor and more than myself, but he’s still my son.”
Former President Boakai now the Standard-bearer of the opposition Unity Party (UP) disclosed that he still maintains his friendship with the Political Leader of the All Liberian Party (ALP) Mr. Benoni Urey and popular talk show host Henry Costa, despite withdrawing their support for his candidacy and spilling out misinformation surrounding his health status. Ambassador Boakai served as Vice President for 12 years during the administration of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
It can be recalled that early last month, the ALP, through one of its members, Henry Costa, held a news conference denouncing its support to Ambassador Boakai for the presidency in the ensuing October 10 general elections. The party also claimed that Ambassador Boakai betrayed the ALP following his refusal to select Costa as his running mate after he (Boakai) allegedly committed himself to doing so.
“I have been designated by our party to announce and inform in categorical and unambiguous terms, that our party, the All Liberian Party (ALP) is no longer allies or partners with Amb. Joseph Boakai and his Unity Party. We no longer share the same ideals, vision, or values. In the coming days, our party will be meeting to determine our next course of action,” Costa stated.
But speaking to the BBC via telephone on Monday, August 7, Ambassador Boakai disclosed that despite the decision taken by Mr. Urey and Costa to withdraw their support, he holds no gross or malice against them.
He pointed out that he has personally reached out to the pair and explained the rationale behind his decision to select Jeremiah Koung as running mate over Costa and Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence of Grand Bassa County.
“I don’t let go of friendship; I don’t overlook it. There are times in life when you have differences and people go their way. You can’t stop it; I was not the one who rented from them. I made a decision that maybe or not be acceptable to them, but again, it was my right to make a decision and I made it.”
“I don’t hold any gross for them; I have told them over and over and I have reached out to them. Decisions are to be made and they were made and we made them to know the reasons we made the decision. I didn’t agree with them, but they still had time to think over them. But it was in the best interest of a way forward.”
The lack of unity among opposition political parties to form a united front to defeat President Weah in the ensuing elections remains noticeable.
But the UP Standard-bearer ruled out perception and speculation from officials and supporters of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and others that the opposition cannot win the presidency due to the glaring division among opposition politicians.
He said in keeping with democracy, the UP will not work with certain people at this time. However, he was quick to point out that the former ruling party’s collaboration with other political parties’ remains strong and the UP is willing to welcome more people on board in the interest of the country. He further assured that opposition politicians will form a collective front to unseat President Weah.
“I don’t know what people talk about divided; we don’t believe so. We may not be working with certain people, but we do understand that there’s a democracy. As far the Unity Party collaboration is concerned, we are strong enough to be able to go into that election. We do hope in the future if there is any reason to draw people, we will all see the bigger picture and work together.”
Ambassador Boakai maintained that the citizens’ realization that the Weah led-government has failed will serve as a stepping stone for the opposition to come together.
“Liberians know the situation on the ground; they know very well that the Weah-government is a no-go-forward for Liberia and I believe that’s what will bring us together to make sure that Weah goes so that the country can begin to see improvement, and growth and the real plan for development.”
“We are not looking for a second round; we are saying that in the event that happens, we have never been the one looking for a second. We believe that we’re going into the elections to make a one-round. We are saying that the options are there, but one round is what UP and other collaborators are looking for.”
Commenting on the recent provocative action by CDcians to carry casket bearing his photo, the UP Standard Bearer claimed that partisans and supporters of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) are noted for totting casket and sparking violence during the conduct of elections in the country.
It can be recalled that during the commencement of the political campaign for the October 10 presidential and legislative elections on August 5, over-jealous partisans and supporters of the governing CDC paraded the principle streets of Monrovia and its environs toting a casket bearing the photo and emblem of the UP.
Their action was greeted by huge criticisms from citizens both at home and abroad. Many believed that the move was provocative and only intended to spark up violence or chaos ahead of the elections.
Ambassador Boakai observed that it was quite unfortunate for the ruling party to provoke electoral violence, despite being one of the political parties that signed the Farmington Agreement to guarantee peace and stability before, during, and after the elections.
He maintained that CDC’s action is unfortunate, but not strange because the party is noted for such an ugly act. He, however, assured that the former ruling UP will not react to the instigation of violence by the CDC in any manner or form.
“That’s unfortunate (totting of casket) because after going and signing to peaceful elections, for you to be taking that, I think it’s unfortunate. But again, that’s the CDC- we know; that’s how they are. But Unity Party will not be drawn into that”