Former Vice President Joseph Boakai has frowned on individuals that keep amassing wealth and keep telling the people to be patient, thus arguing the Liberian economy is dead.
In an interview with Africa Briefing, the former Vice President warned, “You have to be honest with them and be able to demonstrate that integrity has got to start with yourself, you have to demonstrate you are serious when you say that there’s no corruption, you are serious when you say children should go to government schools.
“I have said this in the past that I would want all ministers’ children to go to public schools; let them go and make sure that the public schools are well equipped, that the same education your children get is what they get.”
The Unity Party Standard Bearer pointed out that double standards in Africa as the way of conducting business is not a way that will drive the people to unify and promote a society.
Amb. Boakai said loyalty is necessary for the stability of society as one cannot work in an environment where people are not loyal.
“I have learned in the past – like a past leader said – when someone is “pushing the person up” and as they go up your feet leave the ground but you pull them down as you go lower down. Loyalty is a necessity; it’s not blind loyalty, but loyalty with an intent to promote.”
The former Vice President points to integrity as been extremely necessary because when one is a leader everybody is watching such a person.
He believes a small country like Liberia needs leadership it can trust; a leadership that says what it means; a leadership that leads by example; a leadership that will provide guidance and makes sure the country’s resources can be managed for their benefit.
Amb. Boakai admits that Liberia is endowed with a lot of resources – human and material – but in managing this, there should be training for the youth so they realize that they are stakeholders and they’re part of an economy that serves the family.
“Right now, in Liberia for the many years we have, not many people have felt the full impact of living in a country that cares for all. The people look up to their leaders. For example, when they see that you mean what you say they will follow, but it has to be done in a way that will assure them that you’re not just talking to them, that you’re living by example.
“I think much of what we’ve gone through in this country, can be attributed to the average person not benefitting from our natural wealth.”
According to him, the leadership he wants is one that is honest, willing and ready to lead by example, to let the people know that the resources of the country are for them, not just on a silver platter, but move them in a direction that they too can benefit, because all of them have the same needs like anyone else, as their children need to go to school, they need to get good medical facilities.
“You cannot continue to tell them to look out for tomorrow. Besides that, we live in a society where we are too dependent on foreign aid.
“Every time we thank [the foreign donors] for what they are giving and you look out for more to follow tomorrow – you cannot build a dependent society and expect it to prosper. And that’s what leadership is about – challenging the people, make sure that you make them know that resources can benefit them and move them in that direction in honesty. I think that’s what I believe in – my vision is to see this country being able to do some of the things like adding value to its own commodities and creating employment for the people and making sure that the resources of this country benefit the people.”