Liberia: Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Shies Away from Politics but Serves as ‘Advisor’ to Opposition Unity Party

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ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF: “My colleagues asked me to meet with them. I was very clear and they know it; I am no longer involved in active party politics. I have major global obligations. I’m working for the peace, development and empowerment of women in other nations in the world”

MONROVIA – Liberia’s former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has held a closed-door meeting with National Executive Committee (NEC) members of the former ruling Unity Party (UP), including ex-Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai.

Madam Sirleaf won two consecutive elections as President of Liberia in 2005 and 2011, respectively on the ticket of the Unity Party.

The meeting took place during the early evening hours of Wednesday, July 8 at the party’s headquarters in Congo Town, outside Monrovia.

The meeting was reportedly called to cement a harmonious relationship and collective front ahead of the party’s national convention.

Speaking in an interview with reporters shortly after the meeting, Madam Sirleaf disclosed that she is no longer involved into active politics, though she remains a partisan of the UP.

“My colleagues asked me to meet with them. I was very clear and they know it; I am no longer involved in active party politics. I have major global obligations. I’m working for the peace, development and empowerment of women in other nations in the world”.

“I am a Unity Party partisan and so, they can talk to me anytime. If they say they want to meet with me, I will meet with them, but I am not involved in active politics anymore”.

Madam Sirleaf, a former Nobel Peace Laureate known as “Africa’s Iron Lady,” was appointed Health Workforce Ambassador by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2019.

When quizzed why she decided to meet with executives of the former ruling party even though she is not involved in active politics, the ex-Liberian leader responded in a harsh tone: “You tell me why not”.

Also speaking, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Prince K. Moye, disclosed the meeting was intended to drink from the fountain of knowledge of the former Liberian President, who is the standard bearer emeritus of the Unity Party.

“I am a Unity Party partisan and so, they can talk to me anytime. If they say they want to meet with me, I will meet with them, but I am not involved in active politics anymore”.

– Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

He justified that the meeting was prudent to help move the party forward.

“She is our partisan and so, she needed to sit with us to give us some of the advices that we need to carry our party forward. We invited her so that we pick from her knowledge and try to strategize to move our party forward”

“We are discussing Unity Party and there is no where you can discuss better than the party’s headquarters”.

For his part, the Chairman of the Unity Party legislative caucus, Representative Hanson Kiazolu, noted that the global role assumed by the ex-Liberian leader does not imply that she is not a member of the UP, or would not be supportive of the party.

Lawmaker Kiazolu is representing the people of electoral district # 17 at the 54th National Legislature.

He added that though Madam Sirleaf will not be seen physically running campaign, she remains the standard bearer emeritus of the party that will always be consulted for ‘pieces of advice’.

“Madam Sirleaf is our standard bearer emeritus and as we go into party politics we need pieces of advice to strengthen the young generation to face the prospects and challenges ahead of our party. This is why today we assemble here. The meeting is the Unity Party legislative caucus and the standard bearer and standard emeritus

“When you accept a global responsibility, it means your focus has increased beyond party’s politics. She is not going to be actively involved in running campaign like before. But, she remains a member of the Unity Party”.

Representative Kiazolu continued: “This is not exclusively Boakai and Sirleaf’s meeting. Madam Sirleaf has accepted a global responsibility and so, she is not going to be involved into the day to day activities of the party”.

The latest closed door meeting comes in the wake of the ensuing convention of the former ruling party.

Several names have popped up for the chairmanship of the party.

They include: Senator Conmany Wesseh of River Gee County, who is a long time progressive friend of Madam Sirleaf, renowned businessman Amin Modad, and former Nimba County Representative Worlea Saywah Dunah.

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