Liberian President Seeking No Protection From Potential Successor, Reiterates Support For VP
Monrovia – Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has reiterated her support for her Vice President Joseph Boakai in the wake of mounting reports in recent weeks linking her to backing a number of opposition political parties including the Coalition for Democratic Change and the Liberty Party.
Addressing reporters Tuesday, Presidential spokesman Jerelinmek Piah urged those within the camp of the opposition and some in he camp of the vice president to instead channel their rhetoric toward ensuring the election of vice president Boakai instead of sowing seeds of acrimony between the President and her vice president.
Said Mr. Piah: “To those spreading the fake news about the President’s support to candidates other than Vice President Boakai, we call upon you to use the energy you have to gather the votes and make the case about the Vice President’s election instead of seeking to tear down and destroy the unity of the Unity Party and the relationship of the President and her Vice President.”
Mr. Piah said the initial thought of the Executive Mansion regarding this issue was that it remains at the margins of the national discourse and not elevated because it represents triviality and a complete non-issue.
But because of the nature of our society, the presidency determined that the matter had reached an important stage for it to be address.
The presidency took aim at continuous attack and accusation mainly coming from individuals and groupings that are supposed to be collaborating for the sole purpose of electing the Vice President of the Republic of Liberia and Standard Bearer of the Governing Unity, the Hon. Joseph Nyumah Boakai as the successor to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during the 2017 General and Presidential Elections.
The Press Secretary averred: “Several months ago, following lengthy discussions between President Sirleaf and Vice President Boakai and a subsequent petition by the people of Lofa County for the Vice President to contest the 2017 General and Presidential Elections as a candidate for the Liberian Presidency, President Sirleaf made clear and known her support for the bid of her Vice President and comrade for many years.”
Mr. Piah said the issue opened declaration of support by President Sirleaf toward the Presidential bid of the Vice President and Standard Bearer of the Unity Party and has been renewed and re-echoed at least three times again based on the attitude and conduct of people associated with us that the President is supporting candidates other than the Vice President.
He went on to say that based on those declaration of support, the mansion was of the view that that the re-echoed and renewed messages were enough to clear the minds of those who question the President’s commitment to support her Vice President, but the unfolding trend of events is suggesting otherwise.
Describing the lingering insinuations and rumor mongering about the perceived lack of support of the Vice President from the presidency, is continuing unabated.
Mr. Piah said, the matter is sad to say the least.
He made mention of a purported fake communications and imaginary meetings which have been linked to the presidency in the past few days by many spreading such rumors, falsehoods and filled with simple errors.
“Perhaps, some are still not aware as to how competent President Sirleaf is by their attempt to associate her with communications that are grammatically sickening and logically out of bond. This is simply not characteristic of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf we know.”
Looking to lay the matter to rest, the presidency reiterated Tuesday that Vice President Boakai remains President Sirleaf’s choice for the Presidency realizing though that the actual power of determining who becomes President of Liberia from the October elections remain the sole responsibility of the Liberian people who will make the choice through their votes.
“This declared commitment by President Sirleaf has been supported in deeds and in actions well known to the Honorable Vice President himself,” Mr. Piah said.
The Press Secretary added that as it is customary among world leaders, President Sirleaf has informed all of her colleagues at the levels of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), African Union (AU), the United Nations and others institutions that she supports the Presidential bid of the Vice President.
“This has not changed!”
In fact, the presidency noted that the Vice President has already met a number of leaders on bilateral levels through the kind arrangements and intervention of President Sirleaf.
Mr. Piah revealed that on the president’s recent and final trip to the Extraordinary Summit of the African Union in Addis Ababa, she was accompanied by the son of the vice for the purpose of being introduced to personalities of critical importance for bilateral and collaboration purposes.
“She has also cooperated with and supported the Vice President in making the critical decisions of choosing a Running mate and constituting a Campaign Committee.
The President has further held consultative meeting with the named Campaign Manager of the Unity Party, Hon. Augustine K. Ngafuan to discuss the campaign of the party and other party-related matters.”
While doing all of this, the Press Secretary said, the President is aware that she is the President of the Republic of Liberia and must remain seized of the responsibilities of said office thereof.
“Remember that this is the first time in Liberia’s political history for a sitting leader to preside over an electoral process in which he/she is not a candidate.
This means that she has an obligation to provide leadership even though she has a candidate that she supports.”
Mr. Piah also dismissed suggestions in some quarters that the president was looking to shore up support from her potential successor for protection for she and her family after she leaves office.
“Let me state for the record that when it comes to the issue of integrity, President Sirleaf stands by her integrity and those of her family members.
“Her integrity remains untainted and exemplary.
This is therefore an open challenge to those who think otherwise because President Sirleaf has absolutely nothing to hide and seeks no protection from anyone because her records are just clear and clean.
In short, President Sirleaf has done nothing wrong to warrant seeking protection from whoever takes over as President of Liberia following the elections.”