Few days to Liberia’s presidential runoff election due 26 December, President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf says she has been hijacked into jointly breaking grounds along with opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) candidate Sen. George Manneh Weah, after his running mate Sen. Jewel Howard – Taylor handed him a shovel intended for her.
Just truly, truly as a matter of fact … Minister Eugene Nagbe will recall as soon as I left that program I sent him a message that said I’m just leaving this place, I had been hijacked, Mrs. Sirleaf said Thursday, 21 December hours after photos went viral on social media showing she and Mr. Weah performing a ground breaking ceremony in Gbarnga, Bong County.
The photos have generated mixed reactions here, with some claiming that they allegedly confirm longstanding speculation that Mrs. Sirleaf has been supporting the opposition candidate Sen. Weah against her deputy, ruling Unity Party (UP’s) candidate Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai.
The President notes that more often when falsehoods and lies are said, she doesn’t normally respond, but with the reported falsehood circulating on social media it was necessary that she respond to it.
She said at the groundbreaking ceremony for the road project leading from Gbarnga to Salayea, there were three shovels of which one was intended for her use, another for Bong Senator and running mate of Mr. Weah, Madam Taylor, and the last for the contractor.
As they went to break the ground, President Sirleaf said in Sen. Taylor’s wisdom she wanted her political leader Sen. Weah to be the one to perform the groundbreaking ceremony so she passed her shovel over to him.
The president therefore clarified that she had nothing to do with what went on between Sen. Weah and Senator Taylor that led to her giving him the shovel.
People will even recall when I made the statement, I said that I was sorry that the Vice President was not there because that’s his road and frankly I had hoped he had been there, but I also said that I believed that the Minister of Defense was representing him.
Mrs. Sirleaf argues that she has every right to campaign for “Joe Boakai, for George Weah or for any other candidate, presidential or otherwise.”However, Mrs. Sirleaf says she was clear when the political parties met with her colleagues from Guinea and Togo that she would not interfere in anything as it relates to this election as of that date.
“I have kept to that commitment and I intend to keep to that commitment,” she says and further clarifies that the event at Gbarnga is something she did not know the details of.
She says she is not campaigning for anybody, and she has not campaigned for anybody except for few representative candidates who even lost during the first round in October.
While in Bong County, President Sirleaf later made special statement at the graduation of 191 agriculture students from the Tumutu Agriculture and Vocational Training Center.
She says Liberia has been waiting for such a project for a long time, expressing hope that her government is going to leave enough in place including plans and arrangements to ensure that the road construction work in the country will continue until “we” have met all of the plans and goals that have been set by the administration.
Mrs. Sirleaf told the audience of the graduates “what we’re now looking for is to see what the students do after training, where they go to apply their training or whether they end up riding motorbike”.
She says government does not want to see the training lost, and so it needs to start a tracking system to see all the graduates.She says 171 graduated earlier, and additional 191 have now graduated, thus expanding the number of agriculture students coming out of the vocational school.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah