Several hundred thousand supporters of the ruling Unity Party Saturday, September 16, defied heavy downpour of rain and locked down the city of Monrovia in an unprecedented show of support for the party’s presidential candidate and Vice President Joseph Boakai.
Many business centers were shutdown in solidarity, Monrovia stood still and without formal pronouncement declaring holiday the throng of human being celebrating across the city made it a holiday.
Before 2:00 PM, the Antoinette Tubman Stadium with a 15,000 sitting capacity was filed including the playing pitch. One opposition politician Samuel Jackson put the attendance beyond 50,000 but conservative estimate would placed it in the neighborhood of 200,000 as the rally was simultaneously carried out across Monrovia and its surrounding towns and cities.
“The city is shutdown, as you can see; we are moving with men [and] we are walking [because] the city is pack and there is no space [because] the city is overwhelmed,” Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff who chairs Montserrado County Campaign team said.
“I told the people of Montserrado County that I was going to deliver the county to vice president Joseph Boakai and Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay and I have done so.”
“I’m in the street and so happy because Joseph Boakai is a good man with credibility. The election is only one round,” one voter Yarmah Forbah said.
For Lofa County Senator George Tengbeh: “This [UP’s rally attendance] is marvelous and is beyond human understanding because Monrovia is lockdown. We have put out crowd that I think the people can see that the elections are over. The Unity Party is going for one round and that is 50% plus one.”
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, opted not to attend the rally amdist claims she’s backing the main opposition candidate George Weah. Senator Tengbeh considered her absence as a missed opportunity to witness the people’s gratitude towards her ruling party’s accomplishment.
“it is very unfortunate that she cannot be on the scene today because she has worked hard for the government,” he said.
“The elections are over, you see the people out already. Liberians have spoken and we are ready for a democratic transition to a Boakai led leadership and that leadership will bring integrity to public service, social justice and democratic pluralism and that’s why we are under the rain for the continuation of democratic and economic gains,” Rufus Neufville, former member of the House of Representatives said..
“I want to tell you that the deal is done. There is absolutely no way that anybody can look at what is obtaining now and think Boakai is no force to reckon with in these elections. These people are committed to ensure that the Boakai-Nuquay ticket win the October votes.” Raymond B. Ziaman, another supporter said.
Vice President Joseph Boakai in a statement presented to the press following the rally lauded his supporters, recounted the accomplishments of the Unity Party, including “uninterrupted peace and uncensored civil liberties. He is running his campaign on democratic stability peace, economic reforms and infrastructure development.
He said “Back in 2006, the national budget was $86 million USD. Most institutions of governance were non-functional. Quality of Life measurements had no data and so our Human Development Index was sadly nonexistent. Liberia was an outcast facing international sanctions and not even credit worthy.
“Here we are today with a different scenario. Liberia is no longer isolated by other nations, but respected and considered as a leader amongst its peers in the Mano River Union and ECOWAS, even in the African Union and United Nations.
“After just 12 years, the budget today stands at 563 million USD. Liberia has emerged from the ashes of war and the prospects for increased improvement are high depending on whose hands you put the country to lead–a novice or an experienced manager. Liberia is peaceful because Liberians have said no to war. Liberia is stronger because of your strength. And Liberia will get much better because we are all in this together.