While I am NOT a member of the ruling Unity Party, notwithstanding as s citizen of Liberia and a journalist, I have a right to suggest to Mr. Joseph Boakai my choice for his vice Presidential running mate and why.
Here in America, journalists do speculate during Presidential political campaigns about potential candidates and their running mates. Even American newspapers do endorse candidates.
In one of my many interviews with the late Gabriel Baccus Matthews, he told me that you run for elected office to WIN.
"You either win or you lose and the rest is BS. Who cares about second place or last plsce," the "father of multi-party politics" in Liberia said then. Who can help Mr. Boakai to win?
Now, I don’t hide my advocacy and support for an "indigenous son of the soil" for President for those who follow my political commentaries. Thus, my support for Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, and my critics can call me a tribalist all they want.
I was born, I am, I live and will die a tribal/native Liberian, the 95% majority of our population who have been marginalized, humiliated and abused since the founding of Liberia in 1847. And I am not here to detail our ugly history but to say who and why Mr. Boakai should pick as his VP.
For those naysayers who continue to deny the existence of the ever present Native-Congua divide, look no further than from the political endorsements/statements of three of the largest tribes in Liberia in less than one month: the Kpellehs, Gios and Manos of Bong and Nimba Counties respectively.
There is a common thread that characterizes their endorsement of Mr. Joseph Boakai for President: that they support "an indigenous son of the soil" for President. Now, you go figure out what that means. I bet they don’t read my writings to accuse them of being "tribalists."
With that said, let me get right to business. I have heard the names of notable Liberians under consideration for the VP running mate to Mr. Boakai. With due respect to the mentioned individuals, I beg and ask Mr. Joseph Nyuma Boakai to please consider another true son of the soil, a great Liberian human rights activist, Mr. Tiawon Gongloe from vote-rich Nimba County as his VP running mate.
Lawyer Tiawon Gongloe's remarkable credentials and achievements are known not only to the people of Nimba County, but to all Liberians. Mr. Gongloe himself was a victim of human rights abuses during the Charles Taylor dictatorship that nearly cost him his life. His work representing those wrongfully arrested and accused by successive regimes, for "free and without pay" speaks volumes.
His clients include politicians, human rights activists, journalists, students, political prisoners, abused women, rape victims, common criminals and just about anyone who calls on him. He never turns anyone away.
The people of Nimba County have gone through a lot. They deserve this opportunity. Whether we are talking about Jackson F. Doe, Moses Duopo, Thomas Quiwonkpa, Sam Dokie, David Dwayan or Tiawon Gongloe, they have paid the ultimate political price in Liberia.
In naming your VP running mate, I and your supporters should not have to spend precious time trying to defend WHY you chose a particular individual. The name Tiawon Gongloe needs no defending. It will resonate across all segments of our country because he fits the label as the "people's lawyer."
You want a VP you can trust to be your number one honest and trusted advisor; a man who is not tinted by any scandal or corruption, a good family man, a good God-fearing man, a man when you put in charge of task you can trust will execute your directives without fear or favor. Mr. Tiawon Gongloe and I have marched and protested together in New York City in the 1990s when our people were being slaughtered during the civil war sponsored by some Liberians we all know too well. His hands, like the hands of Mr. Joseph Boakai are not tinted with the blood of our war victims.
He will bring to the ticket a vigor, vitality, and the youths, students, the working poor, women who all constitute the people he represents most when no one wants to represent them because they cannot pay.
This is your man, Mr. Joseph Nyuma Boakai. We want Tiawon Gongloe because he is a winner. There is nothing more important than winning in political contests. He has the constituents that span across all ethnic lines. He doesnt represent people because of their tribes or social status. He represents all those who call upon him. And this is the political philosophy of Joseph Nyuma Boakai. Mr. Boakai is no doubt, the most qualified, has the experience, the judgment, the temperament, the maturity, the calmness; behaves, acts, talks and sounds Presidential, traits I see in young Tiawon Gongloe. So, let Tiawon drink from your fatherly fountain of knowledge, wisdom and experience. And this is my appeal.
Jerry Wehtee Wion,
Journalist and Political Commentator
Washington, DC, USA