The Director General of the Liberia News Agency (LINA), Mr. Jay Nagbe Sloh, has revealed that “the unpopularity and the dislike” of President Ellen Johnson-Sirelaf led to the eventual defeat of her son, Robert Sirleaf who, according to Sloh, should have been the best person to serve the people in the Senate from Montserrado County.
Mr. Sloh, a former political propagandist of the ruling Unity Party (UP), also said the out-of-favor (dislike) of the President is to blame for the defeat in the Grand Bassa capital Buchanan on Friday of President Pro Tempore Gbehzohngar Findley.
“If the President had not gone to Grand Bassa County to campaign for Senator Findley, he would have won,” Mr. Sloh said.
The tough-talking political commentator and LINA boss made the damning remarks yesterday on a radio talk show.
LINA is a government news outlet, housed in the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism. Its aim is to carry government messages, policies, plans, and programs to the Liberian people, including those in the remotest areas of the country, as well as report/collect news from the counties.
Mr. Sloh argued that two defeated candidates proved to their respective counties of being the best candidates to represent their own people, but their alignment with the President caused their defeats.
Though he failed to outline what caused the unpopularity of the President, who has ruled the country since 2005, some political pundits argue that “corruption and the untimely leasing of the oil blocks” increased the hatred of the Liberian people.
Additionally, an official of the Friends of Zoe Emmanuel Pennoh, who begged anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the media, told our reporter that the primary reason Rep. Pennoh’s lost in Grand Gedeh County was the endorsement of his candidacy by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and the Unity Party.
The UP publicly supported the candidacy of Rep. Zoe E. Pennoh and did not field a candidate in Grand Gedeh.
The spokesman said majority of the people in the county have the perception that the support of Rep. Pennoh by the President meant that he (Rep. Pennoh) is in support of the government incarcerating their kinsmen without fair trial.
It may be recalled that some Grand Gededians and others are in jail for allegedly being accomplices in the Ivorian Civil War, in which armed supporters of former President Laurent Gbagbo, believed to have lost the 2008 election to Alhassan Ouattara, were trying to overthrow latter.
Mr. Sloh and officials of the Friends of Zoe Pennoh’s allegations stemmed from provisional results of the Saturday senatorial poll.
In the provisional tally, Amb. George Weah of the Congress Democratic Change (CDC) is said to have overwhelmingly defeated independent candidate Robert Sirleaf, the President’s son, who was also contesting for the Montserrado Senate seat.
Also, another CDC candidate, Marshall Dennis, is poised to win Grand Gedeh, ahead of UP- endorsed candidate Rep. Pennoh.
Moreover, in Grand Bassa County, Liberty Party’s Jonathan Kaipay is ahead of Gbehzongar Milton Findley, who is currently President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate.
When contacted, Presidential Press Secretary Jerolinmek M. Piah told the Daily Observer that even though he hadn’t listened to Mr. Sloh on the radio, however, he counter argued that those candidates have not lost the senatorial race because the President supported them.
“The President has endorsed all Unity Party candidates in the race. Some of them, including Mr. Morris Saytumah in Bomi, J. Milton Teahjay in Sinoe and Conmany Wesseh in River Gee, are winning their race. Why they are not losing because the President is supporting them, too?” he asked.