Special Awards In Pictures

-PLEDGE OF SUPPORT BY LAWMAKERS TO SINGLE PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRANT

The pledge of support by close to two-dozen lawmakers (Senators) to the presidential bid of Vice President Joseph Boakai is considered in some quarters the strangest of politics in Liberia ahead of the October polls dubbed critical to Liberia’s next social, political and economic trajectory.

Lawmakers pledge 9x6The Capitol Building, seat of the National Legislature, became a picturesque scene of the rather unprecedented political maneuvering when about 19 Senators committed themselves to Veep Boakai, a presidential aspirant on the ticket of the ruling Unity Party.
What also makes it strange is that it is the first of its kind in the history of the legislative branch of government where the first branch of government serves as a venue for the endorsement of a presidential candidate in the country’s upcoming elections.
What happens?
Thursday, May 11, 2017, will go down in the chronicles of history as the day 19 out of 30 Senators of the Liberian Senate pledged their support to the presidential bid of a sitting vice president, in this case, Joseph N. Boakai, of the UP.
“Now therefore and in consideration therefore, we do hereby unequivocally support and endorse the candidacy of Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai, for the presidency of the Republic of Liberia,” an endorsement statement quoting 19 Senators of the Liberian Senate.
This action on the part of these Senators has been labeled by some Liberians as unprecedented and outrageous while others think it is a new precedent within the Liberian politics indicating the level of strength of the country’s democracy.
In their endorsement statement read by Senator Peter Coleman (Grand Kru), the 19 Senators said their action was an outcome of several months of careful consultation and discussion.
During this period, the Senators who come from 14 of the 15-subdivisions of the country, said they came to the realization that Veep Boakai has the capacity and vision to safely lead Liberia.
Amongst the rest of the other candidates, they proclaimed that he stands tall and possesses the qualities require to become Liberia’s next President.  “After several months of consultation and discussions, against the backdrops of considering the best candidate amongst all of the others, who will steer the ship of state of our country to anchor safely, nineteen (19) out of thirty (30) Senators of the Liberian Senate, find Amb. Joseph Nyuma Boakai, President of the Liberian Senate and vice president of Liberia, possess the qualities we consider appropriate for the presidency come 2017,” the Senators justified.
An elated Veep Boakai was full of praises of the senators’ decision, thanking them for the “for such a bold step.”  He called on every one of his team to remain focus in achieving their goal.
Veep Boakai said he believes in a Liberia where officials of government would now begin to send their kids to public schools and seek medical treatment in the country.
According to him, his administration would ensure a proper and better health and educational facilities in the country. “We are talking about a Liberia whether you are government officials you can attend hospital right here and make sure you children attend public schools because we have to make them what it should be. That the Liberia I believe in,” VP Boakai noted.
 A scene of drama and excitement, government officials, student groupings, youth groups and other well-meaning Liberians swelled the courtyard of the sacred building to witness the historic but somehow controversial endorsement program.
Besides the thunderous turnout of ordinary Liberians, several high profile government officials including Brownie Samuka, minister of National Defense (MOD), Lenn Eugene Nagbe, Minister of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), Mary T. Broh, Director General of the General Services Agency (GSA) and Oblayon Nyenpan, Director general of the Liberia Institute of Public Administration (LIPA) were in attendance.
Reactions
Reaction to the Senators’ decision is mixed. His proponents welcome it as good development, while opponents term it the worst Liberia has ever seen for sitting senators to use the ground of the Capitol to pledge support to a particular candidate.
“This is something unseen in recent political history that almost the entire lawmaking body of the country is putting weight behind a single candidate in a race of more than 20,” an angry youthful Liberian, Peterson Dugbah, told this paper in Benson Street.
“What the Senators did is a form of abuse of the trusts of the people they represent. Though they are politicians, they should have not gone this far.” According to Dugbah, their decision has the potential to impugn on the credibility of the elections in the sense no one stand out should something negative happens.

Also angrily responding to the senators’ decision, Ezekiel O. Mappy equated the action to a form of campaign for Veep Boakai. “I don’t know what these Senators were thinking about. I think it is wrong for anyone to pledge support to any candidate because the National Elections Commission, NEC, has not even accredited or qualified any one as legislative or presidential candidate,” Mappy observed.
He said the Senators’ action defied the sanctity of the process and even brings into question uniqueness of the election. In my view, the Senators would have done well by taking this action maybe after the first round of voting if there is clear winner, he said.
He said by their action, it would be hard for the NEC to even disqualify the Vice President if there were deficiencies in meeting the requirements for accreditation.
What is mind-boggling about their action, according to those spoken to, is that some of them are members of different parties. Some are calling on the NEC to take a critical look of the Senators’ decision and see as a form of campaign for the vice president, who is  yet to be qualified.
The Senators include Geraldine Doe-Sheriff, J. Milton Teahjay, H. Dan Morias, J. Gbleh-bo Brown, Edward B. Dagoseh, H. Varney G. Sherman, Henry W. Yallah, Thomas S. Grupee, G. Alphonso Gaye, George T. Tengbeh, Morris S. Saytumah, Armah Z. Jallah, Daniel F. Naathen, Dr. Peter Coleman, Albert T. Chie,  Dallas A. V. Gueh Francis Paye and Matthew Jaye.

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