President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has warned Education Minister George Werner to desist from his habitual posts on social media denigrating state actors and institutions or risk losing his job.
The President’s warning came barely five days after she frowned on abuses Liberians have posted on social media during this election period.
According to a statement from Executive Mansion, President Sirleaf told Werner that his recent statements on social media are “unbecoming and inconsistent” with his position as a senior government official. “Minister Werner’s social media statement is also a contradiction to and undermines her (the President) recent special statement on vulgarity, abuse and spread of hate messages by some Liberians during the electoral process,” the statement said.
President Sirleaf made the statement on Monday during a conversation with the minister.
Min. Werner, who recently endorsed the ticket of the opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) of George Weah and Jewel Taylor, has in the last months caused an outrage with his posts, most of which were aimed directly at Vice President Joseph N. Boakai.
In one of those posts, Werner reacted to the VP’s analogy of a parked car by saying: “What a race car? No sensible person parks a race car that long. It was probably not road worthy, or it was too old to maintain. Get the director of transport to send it to GSA for retirement. Bad analogy!”
Werner said in some of his posts, “Education is ‘tabata’ (a Kru word meaning nonsense)” and that “book people will eat?”
Early this week also, Werner posted 10 reasons on his Facebook page why he is supporting the vice presidential bid of Bong County Senator Jewel Taylor.
Some of the reasons from his post include: “She is an experienced Senator, skill she will need as VP. She is strong, intelligent, articulate and creative. Jewel will do what she says she will. There must be a woman at the helm, after EJS (Ellen Johnson Sirleaf) to champion women’s and girl’s issues. Jewel has a record for doing so.”
But the most vulgar post that got the president’s attention was when Werner said: “How could you be trusted? You have turned Liberia into a prostitute that you have sex with when your penis vex-showing up when you need votes. We shall see.”
The President, therefore, warned Werner and all other officials of the government to put a stop to such attitudes, and act in ways consistent with their status as public officials.
“We condemn the abuse and misuse of social media through the use of invectives, hate speech and outright vulgarity, which denigrates adversaries with whom we might hold disagreement,” the President said in her last week statement.
Yesterday afternoon, Werner posted the following statement on Facebook following the President’s response to his reckless remarks:
“Over the past 12 years, Pres. Sirleaf assembled a fine team of Liberians, drawn from diverse backgrounds, to ensure that Liberia move forward from the dismal state it was in when she first took over. Having been a part of her administration for almost 7 years, I’m proud of the hard-earned gains we’ve made and my role in helping us achieve them. I have defended Liberia’s progress here unabashedly forcefully. However, I am aware, from feedback, of the severity of my indiscretion concerning my recent statement referring to some politicians taking advantage of Liberia as men would a sex worker. I regret the language used as it wasn’t reflective of my post as Minister of Education. If the VP, whom I hold in high esteem, felt personally offended by this, I apologize to him for the linguistic indiscretion.”