FrontPage Africa and other media outlets, including social media users across Liberia, have reported that former Vice President Joseph Boakai, during a campaign rally, warned that it would be “the end of Liberia’ should the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) rig the October 10 general elections.
The report is seen here, here, here, and here. Those media institutions and social media users claimed that the opposition Unity Party political leader Boakai made the statement during a campaign rally in Grand Bassa County.
The party has, however, issued a statement providing clarity to the allegation.
The party said in a statement, “If the elections are rigged, there would be no country; he is NOT saying that he and his supporters will wipe out the country. What he is saying in effect is set against the backdrop of the terrible performance of the Weah government over the past years: complete disregard for our Constitution and laws (unconstitutional impeachment of Kabineh Janeh, etc.), excruciating poverty, extra-judicial and ritualistic killings, broad-day corruption, the KUSH epidemic facilitated and enabled by Weah and operatives of his government that is essentially wiping out the young generation of Liberians and depriving them of a decent future.”
The release added, “In essence, rigging elections will place the country in the hands of incompetent, wicked, corrupt, and visionless George Weah for six more years, and the downslide and retrogression that would ensue as a result are tantamount to not having a country. That is what JNB meant, and that is why he is asking partisans and supporters of the rescue mission to protect their votes to prevent our dear country from sinking further into the hellhole created by Weah and his cronies.
This is what Boakai said
The Stage Media (TSM) listened to the full Facebook video recording during the opening of the campaign activities on June 10, 2023, in Monterrado County District #16.
The video was uploaded by a social media user identified as Melvin Dauda on June 11, 2023, which was a day after the event.
The statement was made precisely three months and twelve days ago, and it was not made in Grand Bassa, as claimed by media outlets.
TSM established that during that campaign activity, Boakai said (14:20), “We want to put dignity on our people; that is the mission we are on and I can assure you, if you check your calendar, it is exactly four months from today. Today is the 10th, right? When is the election? You start checking, four months to the date (elections) after four months, you will see a new Liberia coming up. You will see a Liberia that will give you hope, a Liberia where corruption will be out because we are not going to do it.”
Boakai said, “Don’t worry about those people, they are driving all of this, they will not take that thing with them like that and that is why you need to protect it yourself. If they think they will steal this election, we will not allow it. Because if you do it, that is the end of this country. And we will not allow that to happen. So I want to thank you for standing and walking in the rain. “
“I want to give you the Liberia Liberia you want. I want to say thank you to all of those who are supportive; it is enough; our people are people of density,” he added.
Conclusion: It is true that Boakai previously appeared at a rally in Montserrado County’s District No. 16 and not in Grand Bassa. It is also true that the Unity Party of Ambassador Boakai rally took place in June rather than September.
However, it is fair to say that the circulated video published by media outlets is exaggerated and has a false context.
The statement by Boakai was on the governance of the country and was not related to war, as social media and news outlets reported.
This story was produced with the Center for Journalism Innovation and Development’s (CJID) support.
Correction: This article was updated.