Liberia: Executive Mansion Responds to Former Vice President Statement That Liberia Is 'Hurtling in the Wrong Direction'

Monrovia — Presidential Press Secretary Isaac Solo Kelgbeh has described as 'unfortunate' comments coming from Unity Party Political Leader, former Vice President Joseph Nyemah Boakai.

Mr. Kelgbeh indicated that VP Boakai requesting accountability in the allegedly missing L$16 billion saga, when he (Boakai), according to him (Solo) served in a regime that disrespected other authorities, runs contrary.

"It is regrettable that such a man, somebody who was in authority when the L$16 billion was printed, when he was President of the Liberian Senate, without authority to the government and when they were leaving office, he did not ask for accountability, will make such comments," Kelgbeh declared.

In a statement by VP Boakai on December 5, the 75-year-old who seems to still eye the presidency said, "I have observed that recent events in our country seem to be taking on their own momentum. Liberia appears to have become a rudderless ship adrift on a turbulent sea hurtling towards disaster."

But Kelgbeh told Executive Mansion reporters Tuesday, December 10, that such statement coming from former Vice President Boakai is 'unhealthy' for Liberia and is geared at "undermining the current administration."

He said the 'political regime' of Boakai and others has elapsed and that such an 'undermining statement' could not bring him to the presidency.

He branded the former Vice President as one of those who have masterminded protests under the George Weah Administration.

Kelgbeh said the Liberian Constitution spells out procedures by which elected officials in the country can be removed, which he believes must be followed by the former Vice President.

"People need to tell some of our politicians and not just politicians, but people aging that there are certain things you can't just remember and Boakai needs to be reminded that his administration is over," Kelgbeh stressed.

"Boakai should be reminded to stop pushing people to the street to do things that are unconstitutional. There is no part of our constitution that says the President should step down to satisfy the egos of politicians."

Kelgbeh furthered that the US$8 million recently paid by the government to the Liberia Electricity Corporation was an amount owed by the past administration of which Mr. Boakai served as Vice President.

The Presidential Press Secretary then added that the statement made by Boakai was only intended to bring his voice to light in the public and cannot be taken seriously by the government.

In a related development, Kelgbeh said the temporary suspension on issuance of US visa to Liberians has no political implications as being perceived in some quarters of Liberia.

According to him, the United States and Liberia remain allies and have no political differences.

"One thing we do not understand here is the Non-Immigration Visa (NIV) are visas very difficult for the Americans to say no, we cannot continue with. Those visas are issued exclusively to family members of US citizens," Kelgbeh maintained.

"When you are a US citizen and you want your wife to go [to the US] and it's proven that it's your wife or husband, there is no way you can be denied visa," he further stated.

The US government announced a temporary suspension of its visa issuance few days ago and it has raised serious eyebrows in some quarters of the country. Some have concluded that it is due to the US government having a sour relationship with the Liberian Government.

The US Embassy has, however, clarified that the temporary suspension has nothing to do with policy differences with Liberia.

Speaking further, Kelgbeh noted that instead of denying those who meet the criteria for receiving such a document as being speculated, there are conditions spell out where people will stand in a queue to obtain that visa.

He also said the US Embassy has informed the government that some of the cases canceled will be rescheduled.

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