President’s Spokesman Bemoans Unfair Criticism

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President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Press Secretary, Jerolinmek M. Piah, has blamed the mass exodus of people, especially lawmakers of the ruling Unity Party (UP) on deception (cheating) and all the unimaginable vices in politics. What has drawn his attention, he says, is the level of falsehood and sweeping allegations against the President noting that it comes as no surprise because Liberia’s political history is replete with deception.

Conversing with Executive Mansion reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia last weekend, Piah said it saddens him that people always want to accuse the President falsely especially when they are maneuvering for political positions.

The Press Secretary was alluding to comments made by Grand Kru County Representative Wisseh Blamoh during a press conference following his resignation from the UP.

Representative Blamoh last Thursday told reporters that President Sirleaf has been destabilizing the UP and running party affairs from her Executive Mansion office.  He further accused the President of undermining the chances of all Unity Party’s candidates in the ensuing senatorial elections, saying this comes at a time when the President had failed to undertake development initiatives which she promised the people of Grand Kru County.

But Pia countered that Rep. Blamoh’s accusations against the President are based on fraud and deception, adding that people can be desperate and even sinister, especially during elections when politicians are seeking to outdo each other.

“You can’t be running the party from the Executive Mansion and at the same time undermining it. But if the claims are true, then of course the President should have been in touch with the Unity Party,” he said.

The UP, like all other political parties, says Piah, has a secretariat, headed by the Secretary General — and not the President — that runs the day-to-day affairs of the party.

Mr. Piah said that it is an acceptable practice, something even guaranteed by the Liberian Constitution, for one to associate and disassociate oneself with any political institution. But it is disturbing when such moves are based on deceit, he added.

“It is an acceptable thing that the man Wisseh Blamoh, and every other person myself included, has the right to do, which is to dissociate from any political party you want to disengage from. But what is sad is that when people take the interest to disengage from the original connections, they are always travelling on falsehoods and sweeping allegations. This I don’t think is the right thing to do.”

Asked what he thought of Rep. Wisseh Blamo’s accusation that the President is undermining the chances of candidates running on the party’s tickets for the senatorial elections, Mr. Piah said “For Mr. Blamoh to say the standard bearer of the party is campaigning and undermining the chances of the party’s candidates is unfortunate.”

He added that beyond endorsing all candidates of the UP and her assurance of support, the President has personally aided the campaign of all of the party’s candidates across the country.

“For example, the party endorsed three other individuals, who are not members of the party but have the interest of the party in those counties. The President has given her personal support to these individuals. This you can confirm from the candidates themselves. Besides, the President has given financial assistance to all the candidates, in addition to what they receive from the UP,” Piah said.

For his part, Rep. Blamoh said that his resignation from the UP-led government was based on the fact that it has failed miserably in meeting the expectations of the Liberian people, adding that the UP is dead, and he cannot be a part of any dead organization.

He said UP is faced with serious internal squabbling, with the secretary-general and chair in one camp and the party’s standard bearer and others in another. This has led to the absence of cohesiveness in the party, he said.

“Politics is interest. The Great America, you see, doesn’t have a friend; they have an interest. If my interest cannot be protected in any political entity, I cannot be a part of that entity,” said Rep. Blamo.

In response to Rep. Blamo’s comments, Piah said: “I’m not here to speak for the UP, but to give some clarity on some of the false allegations against the President.”

In recent times the UP has been plagued by infighting and accusations and has since lost many of its most devoted adherents, among them sitting lawmakers Senators Theordore Momo and Lahai Lassanah of Gbarpolu and Bomi Couties, respectively, as well as Representative Gabriel Nyenkan of Montserrado County.

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