Dr. Adama Sirleaf, son of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has refuted claims that his coming to Liberia is meant to capitalize on the millions of dollars pouring into the country in Ebola-related aid under his mother’s administration.
Making the assertion on August 27 at the Ministry of Information, Dr. Sirleaf stressed that he is a Physician working at a renowned hospital in Georgia, the United States, and can afford to support his family there.
He made it clear that his coming to Liberia is meant to identify with his country in areas of need where he, as a trained physician, can make an impact, but observed that Liberians view his visit as an opportunity to make money, an allegation he strongly opposed.
Dr. Sirleaf has made numerous humanitarian trips to Liberia, working closely with the JFK Memorial Hospital. Through his instrumentality, several US-trained health practitioners have volunteered their services in Liberia to Liberia, treating many Liberian patients for hypertension, mental seizures, tooth aches and other infectious diseases.
Regarding the suspension of his health program, Dr. Sirleaf stated that he obviously could not bring physicians into the country at this time amidst the Ebola outbreak, noting that American doctors who typically accompany him on humanitarian missions do not know the disease and could easily contract it.
If such happens, Dr. Sirleaf noted that it would send a bad signal about his program and the country.
He warned politicians not to politicize the Ebola crisis in Liberia and West Africa, stressing that such is not a political issue but serious problem that involves the wellbeing of citizens.
Responding to questions as to whether his mother being President is pressurizing him to come to Liberia, Dr. Sirleaf vehemently responded that he comes to Liberia because he is committed to his country and not because his mother is the President.
He disclosed that while his mother was vying for the Presidency, he along with some of his siblings advised her against it because she would be killed, but were unable to dissuade her.
President Sirleaf has over the time been criticized for practicing nepotism in her two-term administration that began in 2006.
Being one who criticized other administrations for such ills, the public was outraged, especially after she brought three of her sons including Fumba Sirleaf, Charles Sirleaf and the popular Robert Sirleaf into key positions in government.
Fumba heads the National Security Agency (NSA), Charles Sirleaf at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) and Robert Sirleaf served as Board Chairman for the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) and Presidential Advisor.
As the public became increasingly concerned about prestigious jobs being given the Sirleafs and especially to Robert (alias Rob), he resigned those posts, including Senior Advisor to the President, but has remained an influential figure in government. He is currently running for senator of Montserrado County.
In an interview with this paper about two years ago, President Sirleaf persistently and consistently defended her actions, contending that her children were Liberians who were qualified for those positions, and therefore they were not forbidden from occupying positions in government.
On another occasion, Information Minister Lewis Brown is recalled to have stated in defense of the President’s action: “The President is not practicing nepotism. Her children are Liberians and equally qualified to work in Government. When you employ your children and other family members without regard for others, it is nepotism. When you employ women without regard for qualification but because they are women, it is sexism, and when you prioritize people on the basis of tribe, it is tribalism.”