9 August 2017

Liberia: Ellen Support to Boakai Remains Unhindered

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says her support to the presidential bid of Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai remains unhindered. Vice President Jospeh Nyumah Boakai has since elected as the new political leader and standard-bearer of the governing Unity Party (UP).

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has been political leader of the UP for the past twelve years, but her constitution mandate as head of state of Liberia comes to an end in January 2018.

But ahead of the impending elections, there have been lots of allegations in the public spheres that President Sirleaf is not supporting Boakai who has been Vice President to her for the past twelve years.

Addressing a press conference Tuesday, presidential press secretary Jerolinmek Matthew Piah said the office of the president has observed the continuous attack and accusation mainly coming from individuals and groupings that are supposed to be collaborating for the sole purpose of electing the Vice President of the Republic of Liberia and standard bearer of the governing Unity, Joseph Nyumah Boakai as the successor to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during the 2017 general and presidential elections.

Piah recounted that several months ago, following lengthy discussions between President Sirleaf and Vice President Boakai and a subsequent petition by the people of Lofa County for the Vice President to contest the 2017 General and Presidential Elections as a candidate for the Liberian Presidency, President Sirleaf made clear and known her support for the bid of her Vice President and comrade for many years.

According to him, such opened declaration of support by President Sirleaf towards the Presidential bid of the Vice President and Standard Bearer of the Unity Party has been renewed and re-echoed at least three times again based on the attitude and conduct of people associated with the President is supporting candidates other than the Vice President.

"We have thought that these re-echoed and renewed messages were enough to clear the minds of those who question the President's commitment to support her Vice President, but the unfolding trend of events is suggesting otherwise. The insinuations and rumor mongering about not supporting the Vice President is continuing unabated. This is really really sad to say the least," he said.

The Press Secretary further indicated that fake communications and imaginary meetings are being linked to the President by those spreading such rumors and falsehood.

He said perhaps, some are still not aware as to how competent President Sirleaf is by their attempt to associate her with communications that are grammatically sickening and logically out of bond; saying this is simply not characteristic of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf we know.

"Our direct response to all of the rumors and misinformation is: As of this point, Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai remains President Sirleaf's choice for the Presidency realizing though that the actual power of determining who becomes President of Liberia from the October elections remain the sole responsibility of the Liberian people who will make the choice through their votes," he added.

Piah said such declared commitment by President Sirleaf has been supported in deeds and in actions well known to the Vice President himself. "As it is customary among world leaders, President Sirleaf has informed all of her colleagues at the levels of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), African Union (AU), the United Nations and others institutions that she supports the Presidential bid of the Vice President. This has not changed! In fact, the Vice President has already met a number of leaders on bilateral levels through the kind arrangements and intervention of President Sirleaf," he noted.

Piah disclosed that President Sirleaf was recently accompanied by the son of the Vice for the purpose of being introduced to personalities of critical importance for bilateral and collaboration purposes.

She has also cooperated with and supported the Vice President in making the critical decisions of choosing a running mate and constituting a campaign committee. The President has further held consultative meeting with the named campaign manager of the Unity Party, Augustine K. Ngafuan to discuss the campaign of the party and other party-related matters.

While doing all of this, President is aware that she is the President of the Republic of Liberia and must remain seized of the responsibilities of said office thereof. Remember that this is the first time in Liberia's political history for a sitting leader to preside over an electoral process in which he/she is not a candidate. This means that she has an obligation to provide leadership even though she has a candidate that she supports.

"Let me state for the record that when it comes to the issue of integrity, President Sirleaf stands by her integrity and those of her family members. Her integrity remains untainted and exemplary. This is therefore an open challenge to those who think otherwise because President Sirleaf has absolutely nothing to hide and seeks no protection from anyone because her records are just clear and clean. In short, President Sirleaf has done nothing wrong to warrant seeking protection from whoever takes over as President of Liberia following the elections," he said.

"To those spreading the fake news about the President's support to candidates other than Vice President Boakai, we call upon you to use the energy you have to gather the votes and make the case about the Vice President's election instead of seeking to tear down and destroy the unity of the Unity Party and the relationship of the President and her Vice President," he concluded.

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