Indeed, notwithstanding the historic, intense, political rivalry or tug-of-war between Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Counselor-at-Law, Mr. Varney Sherman, for the Presidency of the Republic, which Mrs. Sirleaf won, Cllr. Sherman – the veteran Liberian traditional, politically-connected successful attorney, who has achieved enormous socio-economic, political influence wheeling-dealing and consummate “fixer” of-any-problem position and standing in the community – managed to achieve, also, and become indispensable, socio-political-economic asset to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
Not only that the Counselor is an undisputable confidant of the President, but also, chairman of the ruling Unity Political Party, of which President Sirleaf is Flag Bearer. As such, Cllr. Sherman is dean of the President’s political advisors and influences all, almost, major socio-economic and political decisions, with far-reaching impact on the nation and people. The Counselor, who represents “important investors”, benefited and continues to benefit the Unity Party and the President.
For example, according to the Liberian, online news magazine (The Perspective, May 12, 2016), “a $200,000 payment from Sable’s (one of Cllr. Sherman’s clients) funds labelled ‘political contribution – UP Convention dated 22 April 2010. On June 24, Sable paid out US $25,000, labelled as Political contribution – UP Secretary-General resignation”.
There are others, the following Problems: a) Ellen’s rocky relationship with members of the National Legislature who hold the hammer of impeachment over her head. It was reported that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf paid US $31, 000 each to the 30 senators (or US $930,000) to “approve” an Oil Agreement between Liberia and an American, Liberty Petroleum Corporation, while her son Robert, was Chairman of NOCAL Board of Directors (The Perspective, December 28, 2014).
b) This – the impeachment hammer – includes Justices of the Supreme Court whose Chief Justice, by law, is the presiding Judge of an impeachment trial. c) Then there are the President’s Executive Branch Appointees – ministers, deputies, assistants, presidents and managing directors of state-owned Enterprises – some of which were and are the President’s inner circle and privileged to confidential information of and about the President. One of the most important members within that inner circle was the former Minister of Finance & Development Planning, R.L., with responsibility for Fiscal & National Planning & Development Policies. As such, the Honorable Konneh held the keys to the nation’s Treasury, among other lucrative, national institutions. This made him the very powerful personality to be reckoned with in the entire spectrum of Liberian socio-economic and political dynamics – from the President and members of the Executive Branch, Speaker and Members of the National, Legislative Branch and to the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Nation’s Supreme Court of the Judiciary Branch of government.
Recently, Former Minister Konneh was decorated in an elaborate investiture ceremonies, with pomp and pageantry in the ornate, C. C. Dennis Conference Hall of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the presence of a houseful of dignitaries. Finally, the Former Minister was sent-off, quietly, to temporal, political retirement in Kenya – and silence.
d) Others are the former Minister of Commerce, Mrs. Miata Beyslow, and former LPRC Managing Director, T. Nelson Williams, now in court for a US $5M scam, part of which is said to have been used for the President’s political campaign.
e) And finally, the corps of ACDL graduates – revolutionaries and their NPFL-INPFL agents who brought plunder, massive population displacements, refugees, destruction, human suffering and death – THE CIVIL WAR – upon the nation, but who, now, populate the government of Liberia, but will come face-face with the consequences, someday, real soon.
From all indications, the GW revelations are, simply, the tip of the iceberg. We will have to dig deeper to find out the “whys” we are that which we have been and are today. Perhaps, the slow, diplomatic Wakiki leaks of a few years ago and the GWs will help.