‘Where is Boakai’s moral compass?’ – Liberia’s former Rep to IMO scolds JNB over his running-mate pick
By Orlando ZEOGAI
MONROVIA – Liberia’s immediate past Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Atty. Isaac W, Jackson, Jr., has scolded Unity Party standard bearer, Ambassador Joseph Nyuma Boakai (JNB), over the latter’s pick for running-mate, among others, questioning the UP man’s moral judgment in making critical decisions.
Last Friday, from a long list of potential candidates to serve as vice presidential running-mate to the UP standard bearer, at an elaborate ceremony held at the party’s Broad Street Headquarters, JNB announced Nimba County Senator Jeremiah Kpan Koung as his running-mate for Liberia’s impending presidential elections slated for later this year on 10 October.
Even though, Boakai had said at the last Friday’s event that he did not set off to pick a sinless individual for running-mate, but Jackson is of the belief that the Nimba senator’s selection is a poorly calculated political move, indicating that Koung’s proximity with another senator of Nimba, former warlord Prince Johnson, who he accused of committing atrocities and widespread murders, renders the newly selected VP running-mate for UP, a contaminated political figure unfit for national leadership.
Jackson contends that more than ever before, it is now obvious that Liberia is in moral and national decline, in that, significant numbers of the population are willing to suspend their critical faculties in defence of an industrial murderer such as Prince Johnson, according to him, only because JNB is handcuffed and shackled by Johnson’s godson, Jeremiah Koung.
He described Boakai’s decision to have selected Koung as a desperate decision by the UP standard bearer, which he said was aimed at winning the 10 October presidential election, adding, “Boakai may likely ‘win’ but Liberia will be the loser!”
He lambasted Boakai, indicating that the former vice president’s decision to have chosen Koung is not the act or behavior of a statesman, but that of a desperado.
He averred that those who genuinely love Liberia should be concerned about the huge risk the Boakai-Koung ticket poses to the immediate future of the country both domestically and on the international front.
“Imagine, Prince Johnson hovering in the backroom as de-facto Vice President and President, Jackson emphasized.
Using the Holy Bible as his reliance without stating the specific verse, Jackson informed Liberians that the Bible teaches that “bad company corrupts good character,” wondering if supporters of Boakai’s 2023 presidential quest are willing to forgive Prince Johnson for the atrocities and widespread murders he committed, why wouldn’t they take what he calls the rational argument that Koung’s proximity to Prince Johnson renders the newly picked VP running-mate to JNB, a contaminated political figure unfit for national leadership.
He further wondered as to whether the Boakai-Koung ticket were to succeed, would a Unity Party government headed by Boakai as president and Koung as vice president, turn over Prince Johnson for possible war crimes prosecution.
“Or, are Liberians and the world at large willing to ignore thousands of murdered people who blood cry to heaven for justice?” Asked Jackson, who later stated that the natural response to such question is a resounding “NO!”
Regarding the Boakai-Koung ticket, Jackson also pondered over what Liberia’s international partners, especially the country’s longtime ally, the United States, think about Prince Johnson’s mentee Koung as possible vice president, recalling that U.S. War Crimes Ambassador Beth Van Schaack recently visited the country and declared the U.S. government’s serious determination to prosecute Prince Johnson and others who destroyed innocent lives in Liberia.
Jackson asked: “So, Boakai and his cohorts are positioning themselves to disregard the U.S. concerns brazenly and blatantly?”
Focusing on JNB’s judgement to have what Jackson referred to as the actual simulacrum of Prince Johnson in Liberia’s Executive Mansion, the former Permanent Rep to the IMO, again, wondered what decision is it that breathes life into Prince Johnson, who he described as a dying man choked by U.S.-sanction, when according to him, Boakai had a vast pool of talented progressive individuals to serve as vice presidential pick to maintain his legacy and the legacy of the Unity Party.
“We are not unaware that Henry Costa, Kofi Woods, Tiawan Gongloe, Nyonblee and others have been working diligently with the Oldman in the hope of keeping the progressive dreams alive,” said Jackson, who chided JNB that he said boasts about a forty-year government experience, of digging into a polluted mud hole for clean water.
Quoting exclaimed philosophers Socrates and Aristotle regarding the importance of practical judgement to leadership decision-making, Jackson lamented that regrettably, Boakai has consistently violated the teachings of these two great authorities, citing as example, the expulsion from the Unity Party of former UP standard bearer and ex-President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on her birthday, while according to him, JNB as standard bearer of the UP, sat idly by.
“Boakai also served as Government’s witness and testified against a fellow traveller on account of a bogus allegation. Having associated extensively and flirted politically with Henry Costa and the political leader of the Liberty Party as potential vice-presidential picks, he would spurn both figures for a guy who has been cozying up to the regime. What’s the meaning of this?” Jackson wondered.
He suspects that Boakai is unsuspecting of Nimba being overly marketed as vote-rich, because according to him, votes from Grand Gedeh will offset votes from Nimba as a result of the bitter rivalry between Koung and Nimba County formidable female politician Edith Gongloe-Weh.
“Also, Boakai may not get the angry votes from the Bassa-belt. Hence, I don’t see the political dividend of this poorly calculated move,” said Jackson, indicating, “Besides, where is Uncle Joseph Boakai’s moral compass when he demonstrates to Liberians and the international community that he is supremely comfortable with the godson of a man who chopped off former President Doe’s ears and sexual organs while drinking Budweiser beer and giggling?”
He continued: “I thought at this stage of our history, we are supposed to be working in harmony to ensure that Prince Johnson account for the grotesque trauma that he visited upon our dear country. Regrettably, we are unwittingly shielding the man for the so-called electoral votes anticipated from ‘vote-rich’ Nimba County.”
He’s of the opinion that the Boakai-Koung ticket gives not much of what he refers to as comfort level to citizens of Grand Gedeh County, from where slain former President Doe hails.
He added, “What’s about the Mandingoes in Nimba who are still grappling with the issue of land? How can we be confident that the protégé of Prince Johnson will not resurrect the ugly ghost of the past?”
Jackson accused Koung of being a politician who has been conducting himself as a questionable lawmaker, pointing out that therefore, Liberians don’t know where the UP’s VP running-mate stands with respect to the Legislative agenda, and issues of genuine reconciliation especially when his mentor, Prince Johnson, often boasts about murdering former Head-of-Sate Doe.
He also accused Koung of being vastly complicit in promoting and upholding the machinery of corruption in Liberia, adding, “As a Lawmaker, he has never raised a voice of protest against the wretched excesses of the CDC government. Instead, he is widely known within legislative circles as a legislator who enriches himself on the Ways and Means Committee while poor people continue to suffer needlessly.”