By: Laymah Kollie & Jeremiah Sackie
Monrovia – Unity Party Standard Bearer Joseph N. Boakai during the weekend announced Nimba County Senator Jeremiah Koung as his running mate in the pending October 10, 2023, general elections.
The decision was taken after several months of consultation on to rightfully fill the vice standard bearer position to take the Unity Party which suffered massive defeat in 2017 to victory this year.
Liberty Party Political leader Nyonblee Karngar Lawrence, All Liberian Party Executive Henry Costa and Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction Political leader Jemeriah Koung were all tipped to be named as running mate to the former Vice President.
But Vice President Boakai during his pronouncement at the headquarters of the Unity Party told UP partisans and well-wishers that the decision to pick Senator Koung is due to his compassionate nature, his experienced with poverty, and, that he is a man who understands the plight of millions of Liberians struggling to survive in the country.
“It is, therefore, my pleasure to announce Senator Jeremiah Koung of Nimba county as my choice for running mate in this year’s Presidential and legislative elections. The man I have chosen today is young, energetic, and relates to the younger generation. At age 45, he connects with a generation whose denial and abuse have rendered them helpless and without hope but he did not allow the challenges of his youth to defy his ambition. With every challenge he sought to discover the immense possibilities that our country could offer. His early childhood was difficult but he endured selling fish at 12, gasoline and engaging in petty business but eventually rose to the heights of a leading Liberian Businessman in thriving Ganta, Nimba County,” Amb. Boakai said.
Jeremiah Kpan Koung is a current Senator for Nimba County who firstly contested as Representative of Nimba’s District #1 and won twice. Currently, he is the political leader of the Movement for Democratic Reconstruction (MDR) a political party founded by Senator Prince Y. Johnson.
Amb Boakai believes that Senator Koung’s ability to carry on many development and well managing of private businesses and building a hospital worth USD$2.5 million which was turned over to the government in 2016 says how much he is willing to make an impact on Liberia.
He assured Liberians of not only winning the elections but also redirecting plans and statuses currently experienced by the Country; noting that the vice-presidential choice is a true Liberian who is willing to stand with him in fixing the economy, repair the broken system, reconcile and unite Liberians and provide a better future for the younger generation.
“Both Senator Koung and I will not only win these elections but intend to redirect the tragic course on which our country is now set. Senator Koung joins me on a rescue mission for our country. Senator Koung and I have a lot in common. We both come from a struggling and working-class background. We both rose by our bootstraps and demonstrated how courage and vision can lead to success even where adversity was evident. The Man I have chosen, like me, has the resilience, commitment and love of country” Boakai added.
However, Senator Jeremiah Koung accepted the nomination to contest as running mate to the old aged experienced former Vice President and said his selections was not a privilege but a destiny to fulfill.
“Honorable Boakai, I ACCEPT THIS HONOR TO SERVE OUR COUNTRY. This is a dream to me but I am here for one simple reason: I LOVE LIBERIA, I THINK LIBERIA AND I AM DETERMINED TO WORK WITH ALL LIBERIANS TO BUILD LIBERIA” Koung laments.
He termed his selection as a manifestation of Boakai’s commitment to transition national leadership to a youthful generation whose success can be an example to others.
Narrating his humble beginnings, senator Koung called on the young people and Liberia as a whole to remain determined and apply all their efforts in everything they do, at the same time committing himself to foster a brighter and better Liberia for all.
“I don’t know about you but I was just about 11 years old when the war started in Liberia in 1989. I saw first-hand the impact of war on our country especially the youths of our country. I sold fish, sold gas, became a taxi driver, a businessman, a representative and now a Senator of Nimba County. My story is the story of many. It is the Liberian story but my story must offer hope as I commit myself to work so that every young boy and girl can do better. To all young people, I commit and owe you my best and will work for you. Trust me as one of you!”
“Honorable Boakai and I have a history of working hard and we intend to put our people to work. In our conversation about our country, we both exchanged ideas on how the generation left behind by the mismanagement of the country can become part of our national renewal. I have joined Honorable Boakai to make this campaign about ordinary Liberians presenting a plan that will rescue our country. We will lay out a plan and offer opportunities to restore your dignity regardless of which party you are. We want you to join our team, join our efforts to reverse the ugly direction of our country.
We cannot wait any longer as we painfully watch our youths being decimated by drugs, young girls as pawns of sexual abuse, human trafficking and illiteracy”.
Senator Lawrence & Costa Dissatisfy
Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karngar-Lawrence of the Liberty Party and Henry Costa of the All Liberian Party two of Boakai’s long time confidants boycotted the running mate naming ceremony.
Senator Lawrence in particular in a statement issued a day before the ceremony said she and her party was holding series of consultations among supporters of her Liberty Party home and abroad to seek a new direction for the party.
Henry Costa and the leader of the All Liberian Party Benoni Urey were also absent; depicting how dissatisfied they were with the decision made by the 78 years old top politician.
Many believe the Boakai-Koung ticket will lack all international appeals due to the presence of Senator Prince Johnson who is the funder and financier of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction whose Political leader Jeremiah Koung was picked as running mate.