The NEWS (Monrovia)

16 April 2014

Liberia: Focus On Liberia Problems, Not Urey

editorial

The Executive Mansion and businessman Benoni Urey are embroiled in a war of words that is getting politically nasty. It appears that the battle line has been drawn between the Mansion and the businessman, who publicly declared his intention for the presidency in 2017. The Mansion and Urey have been firing political missiles at each other in ways and manners that seem preposterous for the kind of democracy we aspire to build.

The Crisis Started last week when Urey descended on President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for apparently being insensitive to the plight of the country following reports that the deadly Ebola disease had entered in the country from neighboring Guinea. Mr. Urey said the President has proven that she does not love Liberia and its people, evidenced by her travel at the time the country was faced with the reported invasion of the virus.

The Executive Mansion became infuriated by Urey's statement and decided to fire back. In a release issued last week, Press Secretary Jerolinmek Piah said Urey had 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.

Continuing, Piah said "if a person who desires to be 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 than having a naked desire for a presidency that he or she does not understand."

Still bitter about Urey's assertion against Madam Sirleaf, the Press Secretary added "Let me quickly remind him that Liberia does not need a murderer-in-chief or a criminal-in-chief but a Commander-in-Chief who will transform even the murderers and criminals to productive citizens."

The Harsh Comments by Piah provoked Mr. Urey to threaten legal action, which the Executive Mansion has challenged, telling him to go to court. The confrontation between the two became murky when a group, Campaigners for Justice, Inc., accused Mr. Urey for the death of Saye Lamin, a 16-year-old boy who is alleged to have drowned in a swimming pool at Urey's farm in 2007. Urey denied link to the boy's death, arguing that in 2007, he had no swimming pool on his farm at the time.

Although This Issue is between government and a private citizen, we do not see the significance of drawing undue attention to it when the socioeconomic needs of our people are enormous and largely unattended to. The Executive Mansion should leave Urey and allow him to express his opinions on issues of national affairs as long as he does not flout the laws of Liberia and those of other citizens.

It Makes No sense to describe Urey or anyone as a "murderer-in-chief or "criminal-in-chief" in the absence of cogent evidence. We believe this government has serious national issues such as poverty, unemployment and development to deal with.

Our people are suffering and the government is under obligation to change the appalling living conditions they are confronted with instead of attacking a guy who's aspiring for the presidency. The decision as to who becomes president in 2017 is absolutely left with the Liberian people.

We Want To encourage the government to focus on the country's numerous problems because we believe that comments made by Urey do not change anything here.

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