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Editorial: Joseph Nyumah Boakai Must Look at the Bigger Picture

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The Unity Party Alliance will foot the bill should the peace and stability of the country is disrupted and substituted with chaos and anarchy.

After winning the 2023 presidential vote with the tiniest of margin in Liberia’s modern political history, the party is desperately fight to gain control of the leadership of the national legislature. This is the UP’s right politically and constitutionally but unwise in multiple dimensions.

Official results from legislative elections held on Oct. 10 showed President George Weah’s CDC won 25 seats in the 73-member House of Representatives. Incoming President Joseph Boakai’s Unity Party took 11 seats. Independent candidates grabbed 19 seats while other parties won 18 seats.

Neither of the two main political parties –  the outgoing ruling Coalition for Democratic Change and the opposition Unity Party enjoys the outright majority to control with commanding numerical strength.

This means the CDC or the UP cannot produce the Speaker on a standalone basis. The best option here is for the party wanting to control the House to nominate a candidate that enjoys multiple-party support.

Richard Nagbe Koon, the incoming President’s pick for the job likability amongst peers is low with palpable distrust regarding ability to lead the lower chambers.

Boakai-backed Koon has about 28 Representatives supporting his bid while Grand Kru County and Coalition for Democratic Change Jonathan Fonati Koffa has about 41 House members resolved to elect him Speaker, according to verified Oracle News Daily sources.

Blinded to reality, the Unity Party is not looking in this direction and is working on a troubling line. Knowing full well that it lacks the numerical capability to win the Speaker race in the House of Representatives, the party has hatched series of bedlam-packed strategies to thwart the democratic process in the legislature.

On frivolous grounds, UP working to halt the Speaker election through a Supreme Court prohibition to prevent Koffa from contesting for the position. Other options most likely include but not limited to demonstration that will make the grounds of the Capitol chaotic.

“We are in an election and we are strategizing. It’s either we go to the election and win him or we find a way to stop him. So, we are review all our options,” Amos Tweh, Secretary General of the Unity Party told Front page Africa.

UP is proceeding dangerously and it will most certainly prove suicidal when it backfires. This is an incoming government devising and executing violence to make an entry statement of winner take it all.

First, it was a group of party supporters disrupting confirmation hearing of presidential nominees under the guise of legislative workers protesting for benefits.

For days these people occupied the Capitol in a hostile way preventing lawmakers from accessing the building. The benefit protest ended when it became clear that the nominated officials will not face hearing due to the 54th Senate end of session.

This was an assault on the country’s democracy and constitution. People kept quiet on this matter and the perpetrators celebrated because it was committed against the Congress for Democrat Change, which they see as a pariah.

CDC itself has become helpless and voiceless and fear a stance on such issue would bring it more sanctions.

With the Unity Party succeeding on tactics of violence and fear, it wants to continue on this path by potentially stalling the Speaker vote.

Who stands best to benefit from such “strategy”? What if there are counter protests and legal strike that could delay the President-elect inauguration beyond the constitution timeline and plunge the country into further uncertainty and crisis?

Joseph Nyumah Bokai must look at the bigger picture here, which is keeping the peace and uniting a divided nation.

When Liberians voted for Boakai, it was on the perception that he is a skilled negotiator and an experienced statesman that will build the country on the basis of fighting corruption and ensuring an open government that will benefit all.

Richard Nagbe Koon the man he is backing for the Speaker role is several nautical miles from the ideas and principles Boakai stands for and has promised to instil in public service for the next six years.

If man like Koon is the best amongst UP House members that Boakai is depending on to roll out his agenda of transparency and accountability to the extent that he’s pushing the country towards potential crisis, then he just simply fooled the voters.

Liberian deserves better than this. The choices in the House’s race just as in the just concluded presidential elections could be bad, let the lawmakers decide what’s good for them. The Peace of the country is paramount and this is the bigger picture that matters!

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