MONROVIA – The Unity Party campaign in Montserrado, led by standard bearer Joseph Boakai, has temporarily paused due to his unexpected departure to Accra. Speculation surrounding his health has arisen, though party executives assert that his trip is primarily aimed at meeting with regional stakeholders who have a vested interest in the Liberian elections.
Amb. Boakai, 78, departed Liberia early Monday via Asky Airlines. FrontPageAfrica has confirmed that he flew to Accra, Ghana, He was expected to continue his campaign spree in Montserrado County on Monday with Doe Community and Logan Town located in Districts 14 and 15, respectively, scheduled for visitation.
Early Monday morning, rumors spread on social media that the Unity Party standard bearer who had been in the public eye due to concerns about his health, had been hastily transported to Ghana. He was reportedly accompanied by his son, seeking urgent medical care.
However, Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, a key member of Boakai’s campaign team, ‘Rescue Mother’ took to Facebook Monday morning to dispel the rumors of Amb. Boakai’s ailment. She stated: “Rescue One is not sick, and his trip is not a medical trip. Stop the cheap lies. Operation Octopus continues in all counties. One round victory”.
Also, in reaction to speculations of the UP standard bearer’s trip to Ghana, the campaign spokesman, Mo Ali released the following statement:
The Standard Bearer of the Unity Party, Amb. Joseph Nyuma Boakai, Sr., has made an impromptu trip in the ECOWAS sub-region for three days.
In view of the above, the Montserrado District tour involving the Standard Bearer is hereby suspended for the same period of days.
The Montserrado Campaign Team in collaboration with the UP Montserrado Leadership will reschedule the tour for the remaining districts.
Meanwhile, the campaign will continue with the same vigor throughout the country.
National Campaign Spokesman
Before the commencement of the campaign, Ambassador Boakai, who is set to turn 79 in November, consistently grappled with concerns about his physical stamina to endure the demanding nature of campaigning throughout the country, particularly because campaign activities typically coincide with Liberia’s rainy season, when the already deteriorated roads are at their most challenging condition.
In January this year, Amb. Boakai was admitted at the ELWA Hospital for a couple of days where he reportedly received treatment for a mild stroke. Following his release from the hospital, he traveled to the United States for an additional checkup.
Speculations regarding Boakai’s health gained momentum when Henry Costa, a former close ally of Boakai, made a revelation during a press conference in Monrovia last month. Costa claimed that the UP standard bearer had been advised to undergo heart surgery but was postponing the procedure due to concerns about its potential impact on his campaign.
“All the medical examinations from ELWA Hospital and from the doctors in the United States concluded on one thing; Amb. Joseph Nyuma Boakai needed to do a triple bypass open heart surgery in six months to have a weakening artery in his heart removed and replaced by another artery from his thigh,” Costa said.
However, during a Daybreak Africa interview on VOA in early August, Amb. Boakai addressed Costa’s allegation, saying, “Henry Costa might be a doctor of another kind who can determine the health of people. But I am moving around and who should know better about their own health than themselves? Maybe he knows more than the doctor and more than myself, but he’s still my son.”
Political analysts have observed a strategic approach in the Unity Party’s campaign, particularly regarding Ambassador Boakai’s extensive county visits. This approach, codenamed ‘Operation Octopus,’ entails a well-organized campaign team divided across Liberia’s regions.
As Ambassador Boakai focuses on campaigning in Montserrado County, his vice standard bearer simultaneously takes charge of Nimba County. Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence would assume the role of lead campaigner in Grand Bassa and Rivercess Counties.
Following his campaign trail in Nimba, Senator Koung will shift his efforts to the Southeast, where he will be joined by Ambassador Boakai in Grand Kru. Boakai would travel in and out of Grand Kru County by air due to the bad road conditions in the Southeastern region.
The campaign strategy also involves a significant campaign event in Bong County which would be led by Senator Prince Moye, after which Ambassador Boakai will journey to Lofa, accompanied by Senator Koung. In Lofa, he will formally introduce Sen. Koung as his vice standard bearer to the residents of Lofa, his stronghold.
While some pundits speculate that this strategy was devised with Boakai’s health in mind as a primary consideration, others contend that it serves as an effective approach, capitalizing on the constrained campaign timeframe to ensure nationwide coverage while also remaining cost-efficient.