Liberia’s former Vice President and presidential hopeful of the former ruling Unity Party (UP), Joseph Nyuma Boakai has consistently described himself as a “parked race car in the garage that was not utilized” as justification whenever confronted with the question of why he did not perform during the Unity Party’s twelve years reign. The former Vice President indicated in 2017 that throughout the 12 years tenure of the former ruling party, his potentials were never utilized, arguing that he sat and watched President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf handled the affairs of state.
But the Chairman of the Strategic Steering Committee of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Eugene Lenn Nagbe said during a live radio interview on the morning of May 17, 2023, that the former Vice President’s assertion of being a “parked race car” is a brazen deception only associated with a desperate politician seeking to maneuver his way back to power through gimmicky.
According to the CDC Strategic Steering Committee Chairman, former President Sirleaf was magnanimous to waive some of her statutory responsibilities to her Vice President, Joseph Boakai to oversee the Ministries of Youth and Sports and Agriculture.
He disclosed that the two critical ministries reported to the Vice President as instructed by former President Sirleaf given his experience working for many years as Minister of Agriculture and putting he (Boakai) in direct contact with the young people through the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Mr. Eugene Nagbe served as Minister of Youth and Sports, Minister of Transport and Minister of Information Culture Affairs and Tourism under the Unity Party led government for twelve years.
The CDC Strategic Steering Committee Chairman indicated that in addition to having direct oversight role over these ministries, the former Vice President received, accumulatively, more than US$20million as direct money disbursed to his office through budgetary allotment as enshrine in the Ministry of Finance fiscal out-turn report over the twelve years of the UP political leader’s stay in the Vice President position.
Mr. Nagbe argued that these resources and critical institutions put at his disposal provided a golden opportunity for the former Vice President to demonstrate impactful leadership but performed dismally as he has admitted to “squandering opportunities”.
“Mr. Boakai said he was a parked car in the garage. I was in the same government. How can you be a parked car when your budget in the same government was US$20million? I am not talking about money for other things. I mean money for his office. He didn’t even rescue one percent of Liberia with US$20million. Can you rescue the whole country? Let’s leave the national budget because he said former President Sirleaf did not give him chance but the money that went to his office. I have the record. If you parked car, then you are supposed to pack the money too,” Eugene Nagbe said on the government owned national broadcaster ELBC.
He added that when President Sirleaf took over the country’s presidency, the Vice President’s office saw incremental increase in budgetary allotment. This US$20 million does not include dividends from the Liberia Youth Empowerment Program (LYEP) at the Ministry of Youth and Sports which was around US$15 million. “I was Minister of Youth and Sports. I reported to the Vice President, not the President because she dedicated that sector to the office of the Vice President. And the Ministry of Agriculture which are the two largest cohorts in the country were under his supervision. He didn’t use those platforms to rescue any portion of Liberia. He couldn’t even rescue his community, ELWA but he is now claiming he can rescue the whole country,” the CDC Strategic Steering Committee Chairman pointed out.