Liberia: UP Disrespectful to Ellen

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Of the many heart-breaking developments this election could be remembered for, is the maltreatment of the standard-bearer Emeritus, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf by the ruling Unity Party.

From the belly of reality, it is her integrity, prestige and connection the UP rode on in 2005 AND 2011 to where it is in the politics of the country. But instead of recognizing her for the party's glory and success, she is being made a whipping girl by party stalwarts for allegedly not 'supporting the presidential bid of her Vice President who himself joined the anti-Ellen crusade by saying "he is a racing car parked in the garage." For many, it is the highest of disrespect, disingenuousness and disservice the UP is showing toward the woman without whom it would have been at the bottom of the political leader, struggling like many others for recognition. As the New Republic reports, the Free Conscious Independent and Objective Thinkers of Liberia is the latest to come down hard on the ruling elite of the UP for making 'caricature' of the President.

With President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on whose glory the UP thrives to be where it is about to leave office and by extension politics, political experts, pundits and communicators are worrying about the wellbeing of the party in years to come.

The pending election, as indicated by most of these experts, serves as defining moment for the UP in determining its role in the governance of the country. Otherwise, they contend, it will join the likes of True Whig Party, National Democratic Party of Liberia or the National Patriotic Party, all former ruling parties that are struggling for political comeback.

Apparently aware of what could happen, the UP it is fighting tooth and nail to reclaim its place as ruling party after its political maker, madam Sirleaf.

Furious and nervous partisans are that much is not being seen from her in terms showing up for Vice President Joseph Boakai is now wearing the cap she sometimes ago.

Party stalwarts including Chairman Emeritus, Cllr. Varney Sherman have been expressing disdain over lack of support by the President toward the party's efforts to retain power. Recently, Cllr. Sherman said the UP would win the elections with or without Madam Sirleaf, accusing her of proceeding wrongly against the UP.

Apart from him, other stalwarts have accused the former flag-bearer of undermining the party by allegedly lending support to other parties such as the Liberty Party and Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).

Tacitly discrediting his boss, VP Boakai told the nation he has not been able to function with his full potential, referring to himself a "racing car parked in the garage." Critics see his statement as an attack and insult against Madam Sirleaf whose success he is riding on to become president.

With few days before Election Day, the UP remains unwavering in unleashing its onslaught against the President. On a local station, a party stalwart termed as 'disingenuous' Madam Sirleaf's failure to support VP Boakai.

But not many Liberians and entities agree the UP is treading the correct path by the constant vilification of the standard-bearer emeritus. One of them is the Free Conscious Independent and Objective Thinkers of Liberia, a civil society body which thinks the UP is being deceptive and irresponsible by insinuating the President is not supporting the Presidential bid of her Vice President.

"It is regrettable that while President Sirleaf is making frantic efforts that will ensure victory for the Vice President, a band of UP partisans has continuously opted to mislead other partisans of the party and the public at large that President Sirleaf is working against the Vice President," Free Thinkers argued in its statement under the signature of Chairman Morris Swen.

The group wants VP Boakai and the Executive Committee to take a lead in finding an amicable solution to the problem before the votes on Tuesday next week.

The group said it is aware that in order for VP Boakai to win the presidency, it was important the level of mistrust harbored against Madam Sirleaf by 'misguided UP partisans' be resolved by him VP Boakai and the National Executive Committee.

"It is time that Vice President Boakai exercise leadership by showcasing his ability to reconcile the party and maintain respect for President Sirleaf who happens to be the Standard Bearer emeritus of the Party," Free Thinkers suggests.

"It is an open secret that President Ellen Johnson worked tirelessly for the political survival of the Unity Party, in fact she has been the Chief architect for the record success of the Unity Party from 1997 to 2011, and to rule her out of Vice President Joseph's victory in 2017 is tantamount to committing a political suicide."

"To also attempt to brand her as a detractor in exchange for her commitment and loyalty to the party and the country at large is a clear demonstration of broad day wickedness and high level deception that must not be tolerated by Unity Party partisans, officials and sympathizers."

According to the body, its support to the UP in 2011 was based and/or premised on the party's ability to exhibit total unity and maturity in all of its activities, adding "the party is gradually loosing this characteristic and there is absolutely no effort in sight to restore this cardinal characteristic thereby derailing its chances."

"It is not the wish of the Free Conscious Independent and Objective Thinkers of Liberia to continue to operate in a fragmented political terrain as in the case of the Unity Party."

It called on party leadership to resolve all negative perception held against Pres. Sirleaf in order to restore the respect that due her or risk the withdrawal of our support to the party before election day.

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