Liberty Party Denies Being Supported by President Sirleaf

MONROVIA, Montserrado – The opposition Liberty Party of Charles Walker Brumskine has again denied rumors that it is being supported by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

It has long been rumored that Sirleaf, who is ending her second and final term on the ticket of Unity Party, is providing financial support to Brumskine’s Liberty Party.

The president had however since disclosed she would support her two-term vice president, Joseph Boakai, for the highest office in the republic.

However, she is being accused of not doing much to support the party’s activities ahead of elections in October this year.

Boakai, in a recent Front Page Africa interview, acknowledged hearing speculations of Sirleaf’s support of Liberty Party.

Although he did not confirm the authenticity of the speculations, the Unity Party standard bearer said he has heard many Liberians speak of the president’s support for the opposition party.

“I am not the one saying that President Sirleaf fully supports Brumskine. The people are reading the signs, and they are saying that,” he was quoted as saying.

“I know what she’s not doing for the Unity Party, but the people probably know what she’s doing for other parties. We’re asking her – the Unity Party is her party, it’s the party that would bear her legacy and she ought to be supporting it.”

The vice president continued, “Whether she’s supporting Brumskine wholly and solely, I don’t know. The people who are reading the signs are saying, ‘this is what we see.’ They have spoken to it publicly, she has heard it.”

He said although the president has denied the speculations, she is not giving the necessary support to her party. Despite the speculations of not being supported by the president, Boakai said he was certain of victory in the October elections.

Liberty Party’s vice chairman for political affairs, Darius Dillon, on Monday described speculations of Sirleaf’s direct or indirect support to his party as “outright calculated lies.”

Dillon said it is disrespectful to Sirleaf, who has openly announced her support for the political ambition of her vice president.

He said it is also insulting to the efforts being put into Liberty Party by its partisans for anyone to insist on claiming that Sirleaf is providing support to them.

Liberty Party has participated in three successive presidential elections since 1997 and lost.

However, Dillon said the party, before engaging activities of the October elections, has analyzed its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, thus making necessary corrections for its past defeats.

“It’s interesting that a ruling party that has almost lost grip of everything is now blaming an opposition party, or equating an opposition party to a ruling party,” he said.

He said Unity Party and its standard bearer are cleverly disassociating themselves from Sirleaf, seeing and believing that they have not done well in the nearly 12 years. This, he said, will not be accepted by Liberty Party.

“The Liberian people in the vast majority have determined that Joseph Boakai and the ruling party have not done well; they have failed. So, the smart thing to do is to run away from Ellen and make Joseph Boakai appear to be on his own,” he said.

Recently, Liberty Party has had key personalities join the party, including a head of a government agency. The Managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority, Harrison Karnwea, announced his membership into Liberty Party after tendering his resignation as a member of Unity Party. Karnwea, who hails from Nimba, is however still serving within the Sirleaf government as a presidential appointee.

Additionally, Fonati Koffa, who chairs the Special Presidential Taskforce set up to investigate the 2016 Global Witness report on the Sable Mining agreement, was the chairman of Liberty Party when he was appointed by the president. Ben Sanvee is now the new chairman of the party.

The president has yet to comment or take any action, and her failure to comment on the issue or take any action against Karnwea has intensified speculations of her support to the opposition party.

Accusations of Sirleaf’s support of Liberty Party surged when the party began to parade a fleet of new vehicles in late 2016 as part of its preparedness to win the presidency in October as many saw the vehicles as evidence of the president’s support.

Featured photo by Zeze Ballah

Gbatemah Senah

Gbatemah is currently a senior student at the University of Liberia and a recipient of the Jonathan P. Hicks Scholarship for Mass Communications. In 2017, Senah won three Press Union of Liberia awards: Women's Rights Reporter of the Year, Legislative Reporter of the Year, and Land Rights Reporter of the Year.

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