LIBERIA: Race for Boakai Running Mate Intensifies in Bong, Sulunteh and Tokpa Queues

{By Philip T. Singbah}

It appears the battle in Bong County for who becomes the running-mate to vice president Joseph Boakai in 2017 is not ending anytime soon, as more groups continue to push and lobby for their favorite personalities.

Calls have already intensified, albeit separately, for Boakai to select either Liberia's Ambassador to the United States of America Jeremiah C. Sulunteh or former Cuttington University president Dr. Henrique Flomo Tokpa, who came second in December 2014 special senatorial election. However, the latest name to pop up is Ambassador Sulunteh, who is enjoying support from a group that calls itself Victory for Boakai 2017.

The group says Sulunteh stands tall amongst all the various names that have come up because of his political experience and competence. Whilst admitting though, that the other potential candidates equally are deserving of the slot, the Victory For Boakai group noted that Sulunteh brings on board vast political experience and economic competence that will engender trust and confidence in the ability of the Unity Party to surmount the economic challenges confronting this country.

“We understand the call from our friends from the "Friends of Tokpa" and Salala Women Association urging the vice president to choose Dr. Tokpa Mr. and Senator Taylor respectively. They are all equally good choices, but we believe their track records and general social reputations are questionable,” the group noted. Continuing, the group added: "We think our case is clear here. We saw what the Tubman-Sulunteh ticket brought out from Bong County. It was because of Ambassador Sulunteh's popularity that Tubman won Bong County during the 2005 election. Sulunteh's popularity is entrenched in Bong County as compare to Tokpa's." They further asserted that the competence of the CU president has been doubted by lots of Bongese (citizens of Bong County), stressing that many feel that Dr. Tokpa has not made any significant contribution to the county.

They contended in a statement signed by its leader, Beatrice Thompson, that the best candidate to match Boakai is Ambassador Sulunteh, whose contribution to Liberia could not be over-emphasized. The group observed that though Dr. Tokpa is a fine gentleman and possesses lots of admirable qualities, but it doubts his ability to complement the efforts of the vice president in 2017 in maximizing votes especially from Bong County.

Boakai-Tokpa group formed in Bong County

Another group dubbed as the "Friends of Tokpa" has been formed. The group vowed to vehemently resist the emergence of a Boakai-Sulunteh ticket.

This group, according to a source, comprises some officials in the leadership of the county who have begun to reach out to other chiefs and elders of the county to join forces with them in their determination to defeat the agenda for a Boakai-Sulunteh ticket.

It was learnt that the move has gained much ground outside Gbarnga to the extent that some notable pastors have been dragged into the fray.

The group, it was learnt, has argued that it has opted to support a Boakai-Tokpa ticket without reservations, and that it will only be fair for the Unity Party to compensate the people of Bong County with the partnership of the vice president and Dr. Tokpa ticket in 2017.

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