The former Chairman of the ruling Unity Party or UP now Senator Varney Sherman, who last Tuesday fired several salvos at President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the party’s sitting President says, Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, does not need her support to win the 2017 election.
The disgraced former UP chairman who currently faces bribery charges, thanks to a Global Witness report, which accuses him of taking over USD900, 000 to allegedly bribe several government officials both past and present also told local journalist at the Capitol Building that he could not confirm nor deny that President Sirleaf is supporting her vice President for the 2017 presidential race.
Vice President Boakia is yet to issue any statement distancing himself from claims by Sen. Sherman that he (Boakai) does not need his boss’s support to win this year’s election.
Sources told this paper that Boakai has claimed that he did not listen to the statement and have not read it in the papers. Sources further alleged that the vice President said one of the reasons for him not hearing this is because he only listens to the British Broadcasting Corporation or BBC news.
The silence by the Vice President whose surrogates have over time accused the president of supporting opposition presidential candidates is also yet to make a public statement distancing himself from these divisive comments, something which has left many wondering as to whether the vice President is being use by Sherman as a bait to get revenge from the president or he is simply Sherman’s puppet in disguised.
Sherman among other things on last Tuesday branded Mrs. Sirleaf as being ungrateful –someone who has paid him bad for good. Both Sherman and Sirleaf were bitter rivals during the 2005 elections, which the latter won ushering in her first term. The both statesman and stateswoman later combined forces in 2011 as Mrs. Sirleaf defeated former UN official Winston Tubman in a race that was climaxed by violent demonstration in 2011.
The Congress for Democratic Change or CDC even though announced its withdrawal from the run-off of that election; its candidates were still on the ballot. Deterioration in relations between the two came to public notice when Sherman delivered the 2012 Independence Day oration in Tubmanburg, Bomi County, accusing his own leadership of departing from the cord version.
Addressing legislative reporters at his Capitol Building Office in Monrovia on Tuesday, 19 August Senator Sherman, narrated in frustration that following the 2005 General and Presidential elections, which they both contested as presidential candidates, President Sirleaf approached him and the Liberia Action Party (LAP) that he led as standard bearer, for a merger, which he wholeheartedly accepted, despite refusal by some powerful stalwarts of his party.
The Liberian corporate lawyer continues that he consented with the understanding that the deal was in the best of the country.Senator Sherman notes that in its final report and recommendations, the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommended that Madam Sirleaf should be barred from active politics, but he challenged the recommendation before the Supreme Court free of charge, adding that when Liberians rejected four proportions for national referendum, including tenure for presidency, he also took the matter before the Supreme Court and won the case to declare winner for legislative seat on the basis of simple majority.
According to him, President Sirleaf did not give him a dime for those legal services, but he did so purely on the basis of building cordial relationship with the President indirectly for the betterment of the Unity Party. During his entire tenure as chairman for the ruling party, relations with the then standard bearer, was rough.
Sherman further explains that when the merger deal was concluded with the Liberia Action Party, Liberia Unification Party and the Unity Party, which led to the second term victory of President Sirleaf, he raised millions of United States dollars to fund the President’s campaign activities. However, he notes that the only award the President gave him was to indict him falsely on the Global Witness report, thereby derailing his hard earned characters built over the years.
According to him, he deserves better from the presidency than using a “British boy” to disdain his image in the name of politics or fighting corruption. Sherman, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, further laments that during the 2014 special senatorial election, President Sirleaf refused to support his bid for the senate despite his lobbying powers that he brought on the table of the Unity Party. He claims that he won 60 percent of the total votes cast without any support from her.
He argues that the reported changed of concession law, for which he is on trial, was done with the involvement of the European Union, the United States Agency for International Development or USAID, and other international groups.
By Othello B. Garblah