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Editorial: President’s Comments: Putting Debate to Rest

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Recently in the U.S. during a fund-raising ceremony under the auspices of the Sirleaf Market Women Fund at a public school in New York’s Harlem Community, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf reportedly announced to her audience that she was told that women who supported her during the 2005 elections confiscated the voting cards of their children.

President Sirleaf reportedly noted that the fear of the market women was that if they did not do so, their children would have voted her rival George Weah. According to her, the action of the market women did not have the propensity to temper with the result of the process that brought her to power as President of Liberia.

Following sharp and unfavorable reactions to her revelation from several quarters of the Liberian society, including  Representative Acarous Gray of the Congress for Democratic Change or CDC, Madam President, upon her return on Sunday, described as “absolute nonsense” nurtured by ‘irresponsible reporting’ for anyone to think that the 2005 Legislative and Presidential Elections were not ‘free, fair and transparent’. She noted that for anyone to think that her statement in the United States suggests that the process was fraudulent; such person should be “out of their normal thinking”.

While many Liberians may be in total disagreement with their leader in view of the foregoing, as well as her inability to explain the context in which she made the revelation, it was also hasty and premature of representative Acarous Gray and a few others in the House of representatives from the CDC (as he said) to publicly announce that meetings were being held for the possibility of creating a bill to impeach the President on grounds of aiding and abetting cheating during the 2005 elections.

Even though Representative Gray  may have though he had his right to ‘talk the way he did’ on the issue abide, he was equally and completely out of order, especially acting in the name of the Congress for Democratic Change or CDC without the acquiescence of the Party Leader’s Executive Committee to include Political Leader  George Manneh Weah.

While Mr. Weah’s reaction to the President’s revelation may have also been harsh, perhaps, to match her ‘emotional and harsh’ approach to the matter immediately upon her return to Monrovia, his admonition  for Liberians to put the matter behind them and move forward was the most appropriate for national renewal. The National Executive Committee of the CDC must also be commended for dissociating itself from the unwholesome political behavior of former Secretary General Gray and others in the House of Representatives. The Committee’s action is a clear manifestation of the internal transformation now occurring in the CDC.

With regard to Sunday’s response to the mounting concerns about her comments in the United States, it was important for the President to have exercised the highest degree of restraint in addressing the matter in context other than the way she chose. In view of the foregoing, as well as providing clarity on what may have precipitated her comments in New York, the President would have easily driven her way through in weakening the un-necessary political agitation.

In any case, the war of words on whatever President Sirleaf may have said about the 2005 Legislative and Presidential Elections in Liberia must now be put to rest because there may still be greater ‘things ahead.

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