28 February 2014

Liberia: Ellen 'Lied' Under Oath?

When President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf testified before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 2008 to explain her role in the Liberian civil war, she apparently lied and misled the Liberian people to believe that she wasn't a member or part of the former National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), instead, she admitted contributed US$10,000 to the armed group.

Now, it seems, contrary to Madam Sirleaf's testimony at the TRC, her true link with the NPFL has been unveiled by a leaked report. The report reveals conversation held (on Tuesday, February 26, 2002 at 14:05) between Madam Sirleaf, then opposition politician and former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Howard Jetter in Abuja, Nigeria.

The classified document quoted President Sirleaf as alluding how former President Taylor ignored his political sponsors, including herself, when he (Taylor) hijacked the undisputed leadership of the NPFL years ago.

President Sirleaf's comment contained in the leak report in which she disclosed that Mr. Taylor hijacked the undisputed leadership of the NPFL was a contending issue during her testimony as members of the commission repeatedly quizzed her leadership role with the former armed group.

However, she denied any leadership role in the group but admitted that she gave US$10,000 to for humanitarian purposes.

Howard Jeter: "... ESJ was alluding to how Taylor ignored his political sponsors, including Ellen herself, when he hijacked undisputed leadership of the NPFL years ago."

According to the report, Madam Sirleaf believed then that former President Charles Taylor would run away if he has to. Ultimately, she said the best thing for Liberia would be for Taylor to leave office; saying Taylor had proven himself incapable of governing. EJS contended that Taylor's persona was one that could only thrive on chaos; thus, as long as he was in power, he would burden his people and would be a drag on the entire sub-region.

"We all must work together to provide an exit for him," was Johnson-Sirleaf's solution. Taylor could not live in Liberia without being in power because his ambition and paranoia would prevent him from retiring peacefully to the Liberian countryside.

However, Ambassador Jetter said after he disabused her of the notion that the U.S. might provide haven for Taylor, EJS mentioned Morocco as a potential exile, given that Morocco was arranging a Mano River Summit at France's urging. Because of the favorable French connection, Taylor might be amenable to a permanent Moroccan vacation. Closer to home, the only country in the sub-region that could serve as a place of exile and keep Taylor sufficiently under wraps would be Nigeria. However, she acknowledged Taylor did not feel comfortable here and would think an invitation to live in Nigeria might be a trap to imprison him later.

Continuing, she added "Because of Taylor's addiction to power and money, Ellen did not think he would leave office quietly or quickly, although she had been told that Taylor was moving his most prized possessions from other parts of the country to Monrovia should a quick exit become necessary.

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