8 August 2013

Liberia: Lewis Must Go! Ruling Unity Party Calls for Resignation of Liberia's Information Minister

Monrovia — Liberia's ruling Unity Party has termed as bundles of lies and irresponsible statements coming from Information Minister Lewis Brown against Party chairman Cllr. Varney Sherman regarding remarks made during the 166th Independence anniversary recently.

In a strongly--worded statement read by the party's Secretary General Wilmot Paye Wednesday, the party, reacted to statements from Minister Browne during last Thursday's weekly press briefing.

Brown has explained that his statement against the Unity Party standard bearer was a unilateral action and not the official position of the Government of Liberia.

Said Paye: "We have all assurances and reason to believe that Mr. Brown, whose presence in Government remains worrisome to many Liberians primarily because of his complicity in former President Charles Taylor's fall and for the same reason he demonstrated last week, acted on his own."

The Party commended its Standard-bearer President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for choosing the party's National Chairman as this year's Independence Day Orator.

Paye explained that the President's decision shocked critics, who have tried to deceive themselves that the Unity Party is divided and that this discourse is not intended to clarify an unqualified assertion that lacks substance which he says, is a known fact.

Paye said the party' remains mindful that the critics of the Unity Party are delusively carried away by the notion that if division obtained within the UP now, that division would further their political agenda. "Consequently, the proponents of this propaganda have been tireless in their campaign. Yet, their message is growing fainter and fainter by the day. The harder they try, the stronger, more resilient and tenacious our Party becomes. Anyway, because the UP has become an irreplaceable brand."

Paye said Mr. Brown's action considering the official platform used to perpetrate it--is a poignant reminder that the vestiges of the very past that the government is correcting, are reluctant to go away.

Paye noted that Minister Brown's use of a facility established to promote the public interest for his personal agenda is an abuse of public office that should be condemned in the strongest terms. He described the action of Browne as a breach of the public trust. "Once more, it reminds us of an earlier concern expressed by many that Mr. Brown's presence in government might not have been desirable. We should not forget that it was this presence that compelled some critics to draw unnecessary parallels in 2012 between us and previous governing political parties," said Paye.

'Same Bundle of lies'

The party confirmed that it has no doubt that last week's statement by Minister Brown constitutes the same bundle of lies he told when he served former President Taylor in three key positions.

The UP Secretary General also said that the President of Liberia and the Standard-bearer of the UP are not "troubled" by the Independence Day oration, as Minister Brown has insinuated. "Instead, she is and has always encouraged and welcomed useful comments, especially those that proffer practical suggestions," Paye said of President Sirleaf.

The UP Secretary General added: "I am aware that conversations on recommendations from the Independence Day Oration are already underway. He could not have been privy to this information because he is probably still stuck in the decadent governance culture of the past--when the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism viewed itself as a propaganda organ rather than a public policy and regulatory Body."

Paye averred that the democratic credentials of the party encourages the free exchange of views. But declared: "Maybe after being asleep for many months and only waking up briefly last week, Minister Lewis Brown has forgotten that our Party's Motto still reads, "ONE NATION, ONE PEOPLE WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL".

Mr. Paye said the actualization of the party's motto is what has sustained people like Minister Brown, especially to the extent that he is taking liberties with his position as a minister in the UP-led government to spew out derogatory comments against the Party.

'Sleeping Giant' Still Asleep

The party said it is also aware that because Minister Brown and our critics lack the moral credentials to proffer any clear alternative views, they will try to portray a picture of disunity within the UP.

The party also accused the Information Minister of failing to wake up the ministry he himself declared a sleeping giant, fifteen months ago when he took on the post.

Said Paye: "Shortly before assuming office in 2012, he had condemned his predecessors, describing the ministry as a "sleeping Giant". But fifteen months later, it is uncertain if this Giant will ever wake up from his sleep. Fifteen months later, Mr. Brown has taken a comfortable position near the sleeping Giant. Now he himself has fallen asleep. It appears therefore that the task of waking up the sleeping Giant has become even more daunting than it was before Mr. Brown assumed office."

Last week Minister Brown termed the ruling party chief's decision to use the 166th Independence Day celebration as a platform to vent out his personal frustration at President Sirleaf, even though Sherman forms part and parcel of the system, as highly disingenuous.

Said Minister Brown: "Admittedly, it does take a lot of courage for the chairman of the Ruling Party to publicly chastise the person who bears the Standard of the Party, and to strangely separate himself and the Party not only from the achievements of the government, for which the Ruling Party ought to be proud, but also to openly offer himself as better suited with fresher and bolder ideas to transform the country because "... all of these achievements and accomplishments, including the many others that I have mentioned, are not enough as a foundation to transform our country."

Brown went on to ask: "Did the public criticism of the Standard Bearer of the Unity Party by the Chairman of the Unity Party improve the chances of the Unity Party at any upcoming elections? Like lawyers would say, did Counselor Sherman's briefs include improving the public perception of the Party and offering a reasonable case that the Unity Party is still worthy of the public's trust? "

Brown termed Sherman's action as undermining the intent of the Independence Day Celebrations.

Said Brown: "Every citizen has the right and will continue to have the right to criticize the government; to bring forth their recommendations as to how we can do what we are doing better. The leadership of our country has the collective responsibility to keep the focus of our people on the building of a better future for themselves and their children."

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