Liberia: Toga McIntosh Likely to Contest for UP Standard Bearer Post; Says JNB Must Compete to Earn the Post


MONROVIA – Liberia’s former Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Toga Gayewea McIntosh appears to be uncertain over speculations that he intends to contest for the Standard Bearer position of the Unity Party (UP) against former Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai in the pending primary.

Dr. McIntosh is a former member of the UP who resigned and joined the Liberian People Democratic Party (LPDP) prior to the 2017 general and presidential elections-a party which was established by his closed ally former House Speaker Alex Tyler.  

The LPDP is one of the political parties that make up the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC). The remaining parties include: former ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC).

He is currently a member of the Governing Council (GC) of the CDC.

For sometimes now, there has been growing speculations in Monrovia and other parts of the country that Dr. McIntosh, a closed confidante of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, will contest the UP primary in a bid to ensure that Mr. Boakai does not contest on the party’s ticket come the 2023 elections.

According to reports, Madam Sirleaf, who did not support her ex-VP for the top post during the 2017 general and presidential elections, is allegedly imploring means and strategies to prevent a Boakai presidency in Liberia.

The relationship between Sirleaf and Boakai who served as her Vice President for 12 years turned soured following the decision taken by the ex-Liberian leader to overwhelmingly support President George Manneh Weah for the presidency, thereby leaving her closed confidante in the wilderness.

Dr. McIntosh pointed out that though his decision taken to snub the nomination was based upon several factors, including the need to protect and uphold the Act that created the Governance Commission; his action has been speculated and misconstrued by citizens who do not analyze critically due to limitations.

He made these comments when he appeared as guest on the morning show on state radio ELBC on Wednesday, May 11.

He maintained that he has not reached a conclusive decision to contest for the presidency, vice presidency, senatorial or representative seat in Liberia or at the district and county level, but he will no longer sit on the fence and be a spectator to the political process come 2023.

He wondered why those intensifying the speculation did not accuse him of contemplating on contesting the primaries of other political parties as an aspirant for the standard bearer position, but rather the UP.

 “I joined the Unity Party many, many years ago. The day I joined the UP, the party was in one room and we were sitting on benches. We took it from that one room-day and night working- to the point when it became a ruling party. I remembered months I was not sleeping in my house”.

“Our society is so gullible and we are so gullible of getting information. We get the information, nobody call or contact you. Their choice is centered on the presidency. So, that’s how limited and narrow their brain power is to analyze and discuss this kind of matter. If rice is in the bowl, there is a spot where the spoon reaches and the mouth opens and for now, I am in the bowl. People do not rush to judgment. You got to analyze”.

When quizzed whether he intends to contest the primary against former VP Boakai, Dr. McIntosh stated: “It’s not what is wrong with me; it’s what is wrong with the speculators. When I finish my consultations and I am obliged; I am right here in Monrovia and if you want me to make a statement on your radio, I will be more than happy”.

He vowed to conclude ongoing consultations before providing a definite decision on the speculation.

Appointed without consultation

Recently, Mr. McIntosh was appointed by President George Manneh Weah to head the country’s Governance Commission (GC). But few days later, he declined his preferment due to his quest to actively engage into politics ahead of the 2023 general and presidential elections.

He previously served as the Executive Director of the Governance Reform Commission (now the Governance Commission).

Following his decision, the Liberian leader was constrained to withdraw his nomination.

He recalled that the GC was established in keeping with the Accra Peace Accord which ended over a decade of civil conflict in Liberia.

According to him, the Act that created the entity recognizes the caliber of its authorities who primarily focus on issues relative to all branches of government as well as the civil society and private sectors, among others.

Dr. McIntosh stressed that the Act also places keen emphasis on the need to safeguard the workings of the GC to be non-political and impartial in carrying out its assigned tasks and responsibilities.

Quoting Section 3.5.2 of the document that established the GC, Dr. McIntosh pointed out that the Act prohibits commissioners from being a part of political parties or engaged into political activities.

He disclosed that his decision taken to snub an appointment from the President was intended to ensure that the Act that created the GC was not compromised or conflicted.

“When the President made the nomination-first of all, I was out of the country-secondly, there was no consultation because with modern technology, I can be contacted from anywhere around the world. I heard it when I was out of the country just flash on the news or someone sends me something”.

Dr. McIntosh noted that though he did not had the opportunity to have a reflection on his nomination after it was abruptly made by the Liberian Chief Executive, he flown back to Liberia five days after the pronouncement was made.

In keeping with marching orders, he disclosed that consultations were held with others upon his return to the nation and he has declined his preferment by the President.

 “You sit home and eat your fufu and soup and all the political things happening in the country but you are still sitting in your house eating your fufu and soup. You are inactive. I don’t want to take that option because Liberia is too big for somebody who has accumulated some of the things you just heard to just sit”.

Dr. McIntosh disclosed that he played a major role towards the ascendancy of President Weah to the helm of power in Liberia.

Boakai is suitable

According to him, the present political leader of the UP is “suitable” and has played his role and earned his stripes.

Dr. McIntosh predicted that Mr. Boakai would become President if he is given all of the necessary supports by his party as Standard Bearer ahead of 2023.

“If he (Boakai) emerges on the party’s ticket and the party gives him all of what it means to be able to compete effectively then of course, he’s going to emerge as President”.

He added that it is not enough for Mr. Boakai to be nominated to head the ticket of the UP, but he has to work to earn the post and showcase a high level of energy and enthusiasm to draw the voters to the party.

Dr. McIntosh further expressed concern over the current impasse with the UP following its withdrawal from the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP).

He, however, used the medium to call on Liberians to build their analytical skills and avoid jumping into quick conclusions or rendering judgments.

He said citizens should engage into adequate programming, planning and execution if they must be successful in the future.

“To do these things means you must be rational; you must sit back and you must listen. I beg our people”.