19 May 2017

Liberia: What Is President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Coming to America For?

opinion

Coming to America, again? She is already here. What is more important to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf?

Travelling to the United States of America to speak at a high school graduation, or staying at home to host the visiting US Secretary of Health and Human Services Thomas Price to truly lay out a vision to improve the broken Liberia healthcare system?

No wonder President Sirleaf has not had her blood pressure checked at any Liberian government funded medical center since she took office in 2006.

Well, we know that coming to America can mean many things for the world's most travelled head of state, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of the failed state, Liberia.

It also means pocketing a huge travel allowance, getting the best healthcare treatment in America that she can't find in Liberia and the huge cost to the Liberian taxpayers and picking up her much needed medication.

Since Liberia is close to bankruptcy, you would think Ellen would forego the trip and instead ask her ambassador to the United States to deliver her already prepared statement to the graduating high school students. But Ellen will be Ellen.

Ellen is trying to smooth over her strained ties to the new American President Donald Trump. Ellen had told the global broadcast giant, BBC that she was "disappointed in the choice of American voters who elected Donald Trump president and not Hilary Clinton," her friend.

She is going to urge her highly paid US lobbyists on K Street in Washington to try and mend fences with The Donald to try to make the US her retirement home as she leaves office next January.

It is rumored in high US officialdom that hanging over Ellen's head are possibly indictments for corruption, human rights abuses and war crimes charges. A source says President Trump who doesn't take "brown envelope" may likely turn Ellen over for prosecution if she is indicted.

Africa may not be a better option to run away from the far reaches of the International Criminal Court that gave Ellen's predecessor, Charles Taylor a 50-year or life sentence for war crimes Taylor committed in Sierra Leone. 50,000 people were killed in the Sierra Leone civil war, whereas 250,000 Liberian lives were lost in the 14-year Liberian genocidal holocaust.

In December last year, the two Americans who prosecuted Taylor, Alan White and Steve Rapp, said they have not given up in their determination to have a Liberia War and Economic Crimes Court and would lobby the Trump administration for support.

They problem is, both men said, President Sirleaf's government has refused to request for such court, a key requirement. Now, all hopes lie with the next President of Liberia who succeeds Ellen in the October presidential elections.

Some presidential candidates are on record against setting up a Liberia War and Economic Crimes Court.

But others are for such court which is one of the polarizing campaign issues. Many Liberians want such a court to address impunity and deter future warmongers.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who publicly admitted raising money for the bloody and deadly Liberian civil war on American soil--a clear violation of US laws--is strongly against the establishment of the court as she was recommended along with others for prosecution.

Now with about seven months to her retirement, Ellen is reportedly shopping around for her new host.

Because in Liberia, protests are expected to follow her around after her retirement. And, President Trump is leaving the US for his first official foreign visit to Europe and Israel later this week.

Jerry Wehtee Wion,

Journalist and Political Commentator

Washington, DC, USA

Liberia

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