Special Awards In Pictures

-ENDORSEMENT PROGRAM GREETED WITH PROTEST IN CLARA TOWN
Since declaring intention to succeed his boss as president of Liberia, everything has been ‘bread and butter’ for 75-yr-old Vice President Joseph Boakai until he met probably his first calamity in the slum community of Clara Town, an enclave of over fifteen thousand residents with some of the shabby homes ever seen anywhere.

Boakai Calamity 9x6It was an assembly of Boakai supporters endorsing their cherished and illustrious leader, stepping into footsteps of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate who committed themselves to the Boakai cause sometimes against all odds. However, what supposed to be an-all-day celebration was short-circuited with a thundering protest by a group of residents who, perhaps, doesn’t share the views that the highly hallowed Boakai is the man needed at this time. As The New Republic reports, that seems the beginning of test Boakai and his team likely to face during the much-heralded campaign.

Just two days after bringing to a close the contention and rumpus about his running mate with the selection of House Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay, the glee and jolly-jolly that marred the long-awaited process was Wednesday greeted with near-ignominy for Vice President Joseph Boakai in the slum community of Clara Town.

What is seen as a first pre-campaign embarrassment for the UP first partisan was delayed reportedly due to the inundating presence of security officers, who according to our reporter were planted among the swelling crowd of opponents and proponents at the program.

However, the angry, deterred, frustrated placard-carrying group of residents of the slum community managed to storm the gathering organized by ‘Friends for the Future,’ a group established by stand-ins of the UP to lean support to Boakai’s presidential bid as he was about to depart the scene.

Heavily guarded by his security dictates, VP Boakai was greeted with booing by the protesting residents, according to eyewitnesses, as he came out of the Matthew Sonii School where the program was held.

Tension brewing out of the rumpus in the community reportedly with the highest population of supporters of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) sent residents fleeing for their lives after riot police was called into action to put the situation under control.

The first of its kind since declaring his intention to vie for the presidency in October’s polls, it is viewed in political circles and on social media as a bad sign for the UP and his first mishap.

Reports gathered by this paper and confirmed by eyewitnesses revealed that the angry crowd carried placards with scripted slogans: “twelve years of rule without dividends, Boakai US rate is 150,” expressions which speak to the present state of affairs where prices are sky-rocketing uncontrollably and the exchange rate between the US and Liberian dollars at its pinnacle.

The rather terribly embarrassing situation saw the ‘destabilizing group of residents’ reportedly tearing T-shirts with Boakai’s image off people and at the same time beating them.

“I saw them tearing T-shirts; by the time they see with T-shirts with Boakai photo, they will tear it off you right away,” remarked a journalist who was present when the melee erupted.

Though the protest may have been meaningless as it came after the departure of the man it was targeted against, journalists and other observers who witnessed it described as a precursor of greater embarrassment that lies ahead as it is a bad sign for the highly tipped Vice President who wants to succeed his boss, President Ellen Johnson.

It is the first time citizens have come out in opposition to the VP Boakai since he declared intention to run for president followed by the series of endorsements received from citizens in different parts of the country.

Wednesday’s somehow troubled gathering followed the announcement of House Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay on Monday after a heartwarming delay blamed on tension and pressure he had to endure to decide from a list of equally competent personalities to occupy the position.

The selection of Nuquay has generated personal and political inner tensions in many quarters, and as indicated by former Foreign Minister Augustine Ngafuan, a supporter of VP Boakai, will take affected individuals time to massage.

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