The NEWS (Monrovia)

Liberia: 'Murderer-in-Chief'

Photo: FrontPage Africa
Benoni Urey on the campaign trail for the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (file photo).

Presidential Press Secretary Jerolinmek Piah has rebuffed comments made by businessman turned politician Benoni Urey against President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

He said Mr. Urey's comments about President Johnson Sirleaf reflect serious lack of governance, political ineptitude and naivety.

Piah asserted that Liberia does not need a "murderer-in-chief" nor a "criminal-in-chief" but a Commander-in-Chief who will transform even the murderers and criminals to productive citizens.

Piah said if Mr. Urey who desires the President of Liberia does not understand simple elementary principles of the presidency, such person, according to him, should remain "selling scratch cards and making their farms" rather than having a naked desire for a presidency that he or she does not understand.

Mr. Urey has reflected clearly from his outburst that he has gross limitations in understanding the intricacies of the presidency - a fault he has exposed as a result of his loose comments.

"We have followed a lot of loose comments made by Mr. Benoni Urey, specifically targeted at the presidency. Our initial thoughts, I must say in all honesty, is that Mr. Urey's comments reflect serious lack of governance, political ineptitude and naivety on the part of a "political nobody" who has allowed his quest for the presidency to render him mischievous and disingenuous," the Press Secretary said in a statement.

In remarks made last week, Mr. Urey said President Sirleaf has no interest in Liberia and its people simply because she departed the country to participate in the 4th EU-Africa Summit at the time an outbreak of Ebola was reported in the country.

If this statement came from just anybody, we would not have been surprised at all; but coming from a man who says he has the desire for the Presidency, we are not only surprised but ashamed of him, Piah indicated.

The Press Secretary explained that the presidency, not just of Liberia but all other countries, is an office of government that is not and cannot function as a one-stop-shop. "In fact, a President must deal with multiple issues at the same time and does not shut down all other activities of government due to one. When one is President, he or she remains President no matter where he or she is - whether in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Brussels or in any other part of the country."

Mr. Piah disagreed with Mr. Urey that the President has abandoned the country in the face of an Ebola outbreak. He said Mr. Urey needs to know that when the President of a country is out of the country on official business, he or she mobilizes and directs the government to perform, adding "in fact, on such occasions, Presidents are always engaged bilaterally, most times to the benefit of the country."

Mr. Piah informed Mr. Urey that many of the bilateral engagements that President Sirleaf has had on her current visit abroad has been dominated by issues surrounding the outbreak of Ebola in Liberia.

"The simple reason is this: A disease like Ebola not only requires the intervention of the Government of Liberia, but international partners as well to ensure that it is contained. This is exactly part of her agenda during her bilateral discussion while away," Piah added.

He said President Sirleaf has informed her colleagues, partners and friends who are now on the alert to assist Liberia, should we find it difficult to control the current outbreak.

Piah: "Another issue here is that if a person who desires the President of Liberia does not understand these simple elementary principles of the presidency, such person, we advice should remain selling scratch cards and making their farms rather having a naked desire for a presidency that he or she does not understand. Mr. Urey has reflected clearly from his outburst that he has gross limitations in understanding the intricacies of the presidency - a fault he has exposed as a result of his loose comments."

"If there are people who by the deeds and actions have made others murderers and criminals and therefore already see themselves as president for those people, then that is a zone of comfort that they could remain rather than seeking the presidency which they have demonstrated that they have no understanding about," Piah stressed in a statement issued on April 3, 2014.

He said before the President departed the country, she was engaged with the Ebola outbreak. Three separate meetings were held with the President by the technical committee who provided adequate briefing to the President which enabled her to direct the course of affairs as was required in handling the Ebola situation.

Urey needs to also know that more than three times a day the President receives briefing from the acting Chair of the Cabinet, Internal Affairs Minister Morris Dukuly.

"Mr. Urey ought to know that in six weeks, nearly 70 persons died in Guinea from the outbreak. In the past three weeks, you can see for yourselves the mortality rate in Liberia. This should be a clear demonstration to him that those who are in charge of this process are performing with efficiency and proficiency purely based on an account of the kind of supervision that is being provided by the President," the Press Secretary said.

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