Boakai Makes Bold Claims of First-Round Victory

Former Vice President Joseph Boakai in Ganta, Nimba County
Former Vice President Joseph Boakai in Ganta, Nimba County

We have never been the ones looking for a second. One round is what UP and other collaborators are looking for,” the former VP said.

Joseph Boakai, President George Weah’s primary contender for the October 10 polls, has boldly asserted that he will win the election in the first round.

Boakai’s unwavering confidence comes as the National Elections Commission has announced the campaign opened — igniting a surge of excitement and anticipation among his supporters that he will win the reelection.

We are not looking for a second round,” Boakai, the Presidential candidate of the Unity Party, told the VOA. “We believe that we’re going into the elections to make a one-round. We have never been the ones looking for a second. One round is what UP and other collaborators are looking for, [as] Liberians know the situation on the ground.

They know very well that the Weah government is a no-go-forward for Liberia,” he said. “I believe [this is] what will make Weah [lose the election] so that the country [would] begin to see improvement, growth, and development.”

Boakai, a former Vice President, who lost the 2017 election to Weah massively, believes that his experience and track record are resonating with the Liberian people, which would secure his victory in the upcoming election.

His campaign has in recent weeks gained serious momentum, rallying a diverse coalition of supporters — yet he still faces the momentum task of unseating Weah, who remains popular amidst criticism of his administration’s handling of the economy and failure to address pressing social issues.

Analysts, however, believe that Boakai’s claim of first-round victory is unlikely as four of the 19 presidential candidates are also very popular, and will create a situation where the electorate’s allegiances split across various contenders, making it difficult for any one to secure an absolute majority in the first round.

In the past three presidential elections, a runoff has often been necessary due to the presence of 20 or more candidates.

Liberia’s electoral system stipulates that a candidate must obtain an absolute majority to win in the first round. If not, a runoff election is triggered, pitting the top two candidates against each other.

Boakai, analysts noted, is capable of winning the election in the first round if he manages to significantly bridge the urban-rural divide and appeal to voters across both settings which is key in inspiring higher voter turnout.

However, Boakai remains confident in his belief of winning the election in the first round, saying the Weah administration has failed, leaving Liberians with no choice but to seek a change of government.

We are not looking for a second round; [and] we have never been the one looking for a second,” Boakai confidently told the VOA.

He however used the interview to firmly dismiss claims that the “disunity’ in the opposition would play in favor of Weah and lead to his reelection.

According to Boakai, the opposition is not divided as people believe in a democratic society, everyone has the right to contest.

He added that while the Unity Party cannot work with everyone at the same time, the party’s collaboration with other political parties remains strong and is open to the idea of welcoming more people on board in the interest of the country.

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 as the Unity Party collaboration is concerned, we are strong enough to be able to go into that election,” Boakai said. “We do hope in the future if there is any reason to draw people, we will all see the bigger picture and work together.

Still friends with Urey, Costa

Meanwhile, Boakai has disclosed that he is still friends with Benoni Urey and Henry Costa — two staunch allies who in recent times withdrew their support from his presidential bid, accusing him of betrayal.

Urey, who is the political leader of the All Liberian Party, has, along with Costa, a celebrated talk show host, promised to take a side during the October 10 polls and promised never to support Boakai again.

Costa also used his statement to claim that Boakai was ill and needed a heart-by-pass surgery — a claim that the former Vice President has denied and even mocked Costa.

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,” Boakai said. “You can’t stop it. I was not the one who ran away from them. I made a decision that may or not be acceptable to them, but again, it was my right to make a decision and I made it.

Boakai, who claimed that he holds no grudge against Boakai and Costa, saw his relationship with the pair break down after he selected Senator Jeremiah Koung of Nimba County, a protégé of a former warlord, Sen. Prince Johnson of the same county, as his running mate over Costa and Sen. Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence of Grand Bassa County.

According to Boakai, he made the decision in the interest of the country and has personally reached out to the pair and explained the rationale.

I don’t hold any grudges for them. I have told them over and over and I have reached out,” he said. “Decisions are to be made and they were made and we know the reasons we made the decision. It was in the best interest of a way forward.”

Boakai, in a sarcastic response to Costa’s claim that he was ill, noted that his former ally 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 is still my son,” Boakai said.


Meanwhile, Boakai has noted the action by supporters of President George Weah to tote a casket plastered with his picture on it is not strange as the party is noted for such an attitude.

According to Boakai, “it was quite unfortunate for the ruling party” to provoke violent sentiments, despite being one of the political parties that signed the Farmington Agreement to guarantee peace and stability before, during, and after the elections.

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,” Boakai said. “But again, that’s the CDC we know; that’s how they are. The Unity Party will not be drawn into that.

The President’s supporters, during the activities marking the opening of the campaign for the ruling party, were seen carrying a casket purporting to be that of Boakai and had his pictures pasted all over while parading the streets.

They also chanted traditional tribute songs that are meant for the dead. The incident, which took place on Saturday, has sparked widespread outrage and condemnation, with many questioning its appropriateness.

Weah on Sunday — a day after the incident — boldly warned his supporters that their actions were an “act of provocation and it undermines the peaceful nature of democracy.”

Stop carrying casket,” Weah said at Eternal Life Christian Ministries in Barnerville yesterday. “[I] call on supporters of the regime to abandon and desist from repeating the said insane action.”

Critics argue that the action by the President’s supporters, which symbolized death, was provocative and undermined the Farmington Peace Accord, which frowns against activities or utterances that would lead to violence.

Source: Liberian Observer

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