Amb. Thomas Greenfield: Liberian Leaders Have Failed Liberians


Monrovia – Former U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, could not mince her words while criticizing leaders of political parties protesting the results of the October 10 elections.

Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]

“My question to Liberian leaders is: What’s wrong with you? You have a responsibility.

This problem we have today should not exist in Liberia.

The people spoke and they deserve the opportunity to speak again at the election to elect their chosen leader.” 

In her view, their action has let Liberians down, denying them of their right to peaceful transition from one democratically elected President to another. 

Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield lamented that the challenge against the election results was being led by third-place candidate “who only got under 10 percent.

A third place candidate who has ran three times and never got more than 10 percent. And once he won in the Supreme Court everybody jumped on the bandwagon.” 

She made the statements during a panel discussion organized by Friends of Liberia in the U.S at the NYU Brademas Center Events in Washington D.C. 

Liberian Journalist, James Butty of the VOA and other experts working with civil society organizations and NGOs were also on the panel. 

According to Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield, she agrees with the U.S. Embassy in Liberia statement that the election was free, fair and transparent. 

Despite the statement coming under attack widely in Liberia both on social media and mainstream media outlets, the former Ambassador said she supports the statement and the Embassy in Liberia does not even need permission from Washington to issue such statement. 

She noted that Liberians earned the right to vote for any of the two choices who successfully competed to the runoff. 

“Come January 18 Liberians have to transition and they don’t have an election, they wont transition; and we would have a constitutional crisis in this country.

This is unattainable and it is unfair to the Liberian people who put their trust I their leaders and they’re being failed by those leaders because of personality competitions,” she asserted. 

According to her, Liberia had a chance and still has the chance to make history through the democratic transfer of power, which would enable the country to continue to earn the respect of the international community and earn the respect of the region. 

“Nobody wants to see Liberia starts to go backward,” Ambassador Greenfield asserted. 

“My question to Liberian leaders is: What’s wrong with you? You have a responsibility.

This problem we have today should not exist in Liberia.

The people spoke and they deserve the opportunity to speak again at the election to elect their chosen leader.” 

U.S. Embassy Statement Defended 

Answering to inquiry whether the U.S. Embassy’s recent statement on the elections in Liberia was approved by Washington, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield said with her years of experience as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and as a former Ambassador of the United States to Liberia, there has never been an instance where she out had to seek permission from Washington to issue statement. 

According to her, that only happens when they have to talk to the international press. 

The statement from the Embassy disclosing the Embassy’s confidence in the integrity of the October 10 elections sparked debates both on social and mainstream media. 

According to the statement the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia was inspired by 1.5 million Liberians who expressed their commitment to and faith in democracy by voting in the October 10 elections.   

“The U.S. Embassy has confidence in the integrity of the October elections.”

” No accredited Liberian, regional, or international observation group suggested [link] that the cumulative anomalies observed reflect systemic issues sufficient to undermine the fundamental integrity of the electoral process,” it noted.

 The statement continued – “Where issues were identified in the first round of voting, we urge the National Elections Commission (NEC) to undertake corrective actions before, during, and after the runoff election. 

“The U.S. Embassy urges the top two finishers, who collectively received the support of two-thirds of Liberian voters, to focus on constructively engaging each other and voters as they prepare to compete in the runoff.” 

The Embassy appreciated parties channeling their grievances and disagreements via the legal process.

The Embassy, however, warned that with rights come responsibilities, adding that litigation should be initiated and conducted in good faith by the claimants, the NEC, and if needed, the Supreme Court, in an expeditious manner to permit the timely conclusion of Liberia’s electoral process and a peaceful transition.   

Some local newspapers described the assertions contained in the statement as “falsehood”. 

Responding to these criticisms based on an inquiry from the FrontPageAfrica, U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Christine Elder described reactions as healthy, and demonstrates how Liberians have advanced in understanding their rights in a democracy. 

She said the freedom to express opinions – on any side of an issue – and a free press is central to democracy.

Continuing, the embassy said: “Liberia asked the international community to send top-tier Election Observation Monitors, and they were in every county on Election Day.

Amb. Elder advised that to review the findings and recommendations of the first round of the election.  

“If not now, when would such information be more relevant? She asked.

According to her, the United States holds the institutions, Constitution, and sovereignty of Liberia in the highest esteem. 

Liberia’s October 10 elections were observed several national and international organizations including the Carter Center, the National Democratic Institute, EU Observer Mission, ECOWAS Observer Mission, AU Observer Mission who all claimed the that the elections were generally free, fair and transparent, despite a number of noticeable irregularities.