10 January 2013

Liberia: Veep Boakai Calm On 2017

It took only a year to 2011 before President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf controversially announced that she would seek second term in office after keeping calm for five nearly years despite the multiple petitions that came her way, and Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, rumored to be seeking the presidency in 2017, has also kept quiet on the issue.

Boakai has been mentioned among several top influential government officials including Finance Minister Amara Konneh, Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, Public Works Minister Samuel Kofi Woods, Unity Party Chair Varney Sherman and National Oil Company Board chair Robert Sirleaf to replace President Sirleaf.

Many of those being rumored have neither denied nor confirm their ambitions for the presidency including Boakai who dodged three separate rephrased questions during a press conference at his Capitol Building office yesterday.

On the first question whether he had any ambition to become the country's president, Boakai said he was pleased with the role he currently plays in Liberia. "As Vice President of Liberia I remain committed to serving this country and working to uplift its image...ensuring that we all work together to uplift our people."

"I am committed to what I am doing, serving our country as Vice President," Boakai responded to a rephrased question moment later. "I am grateful to the Liberian people for the confidence reposed in me and that's what I remain to do."

Asked whether he would accept a petition from the Liberian people, Boakai again cleverly responded: "Look, let me tell you, I am a Christina and I believe in the Bible. God has asked me to serve and that's what I will do, and I will do everything possible to serve this country in this capacity. Whatever God has in store for me will reach me."

President Sirleaf in 2005 promised that she would lead Liberia for one term and hand power over, but in January 2010, she declared she would be a formidable in the 2011 election when she delivered the state of the nation address.

She faced and survived bitter criticisms for "not keeping her promise" and for "desecrating the seat of the National Legislature" that no other president has done in the country's history. It remains unclear whether she Boakai or her son, Robert, would succeed her in the ruling Unity Party.

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