‘Taylor Should Be Freed and Allowed in Politics’

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Liberia's Ambassador to the Court of St. James (London), Dr. Mohammed Sheriff (left), believes ex-President of Liberia, Charles G. Taylor (right), who is serving time in a British jail, "has learned his lesson and should be freed."

Liberia’s Ambassador to the UK, Dr. Mohammed Sheriff, tells BBC and gets promptly ‘recalled for consultation’

By Observer Staff

Liberia’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Dr. Mohammed Sheriff, told the British Broadcasting Corporation’s ‘Focus on Africa’ program (aired at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, September 20) that he believes President Charles Taylor has changed and should be freed and allowed to participate in political activities in Liberia.

Ambassador Sheriff made the remark to BBC’s  ‘Focus on Africa’ host Audrey Brown on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Amb. Sheriff, a medical doctor by training, said he believes the Taylor issue ought to be addressed by Liberia’s political parties, implying that it is not up to the Liberian government.

Ms. Brown reminded the Liberian ambassador that one of the conditions of Mr. Taylor’s confinement is that he is not allowed to participate in any way in political activities in Liberia.

Amb. Sheriff responded that President Taylor has served his time, learned his lesson, still has a loyal following in Liberia and should be allowed to return.

Ms. Brown further reminded the Liberian envoy that Taylor was a former president.

Amb. Sheriff revealed that it was in fact Mr. Taylor’s wife, Jewel Howard Taylor, who upon Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s request during the 2005 presidential elections, delivered vote-rich Bong County to madam Sirleaf, which Amb. Sheriff said helped Ellen win the presidency in 2005.

Asked by the BBC host whether he or his government was afraid of Mr. Taylor, Ambassador Sheriff replied in the negative.

Questioned further whether as Ambassador to London he had been to visit Mr. Taylor at his place of confinement, which is also in London, Mr. Sheriff said he had not.

When the Observer contacted an official of the Liberian government on Thursday evening (Sept. 21), said official told this paper that the government was apprised of Mr. Sheriff’s remarks to the BBC and that he had been “recalled for consultation.”

Meanwhile, the interview has been stripped from BBC’s radio rotation and its corresponding online platform.

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64 COMMENTS

  1. I wouldn’t say free him to part take in political activities in Liberia, but why he should bear all the burdens for the war. People helped Taylor and those same people are jumping around like cut-headed chicken in Liberia and bragging about what they did. I guess those people should see red card too.

    • Fatu Dunah, Taylor is not in jail for what he did in Liberia but neighbouring Sierra Leone. As for Liberia, these are the kind of people award for doing evil to us.

  2. Reassign this doctor to a hospital in one of the leeward counties where he’ll impact lives the most. Our healthcare system needs him more than Charles Taylor, who by all accounts gets free top of the line medical care. The swift action in this recall action is very exemplary by the way.

    • Hilary, thank you so much. The shortage of medical staff in our Nation, especially medical doctors requires that those with such highly specialized areas of study should be in medical centers providing care to our citizens. I do not understand the rationale for assigning this guy as an Ambassador when in fact he is not trained as a diplomat. This guy belongs in the hospital and not in the diplomatic arena. Sadly, this is why many appointees in Ellen’s Government are ineffective and nonfunctional due to their misplacements. I know a few assigned in areas they have no knowledge. A typical example is the Minister of Land Mines and Energy. This guy is a lawyer by profession with no knowledge in the area of Mining and Energy. As I recalled, the only person who refused assignment outside of his professional area was Dr. Arthur Karnuah who currently worked at Carrie in Bong County. He was initially appointed by President Sirleaf as Deputy Minister of Education and he told me that it will be a steep learning curve for him and unless he’s given an assignment in his area of study, he will refuse, that he did. Most disingenuous Liberians will take any assignment because the area of assignment is lucrative with greed at the center of their decision-making. No wonder why massive institutionalized corruption thrives unabated.

    • This So call , Dr. Mohammed Sheriff, Is one of Mr. Taylor’s supporter, who also worked in the Taylor government, he does not care about what Mr. Taylor and others did in the West African region. Why is he even an ambassador, is he not shore of his medical studies, especial when we have few doctors in Liberia, he should be their helping to deliver medicine to the Liberian instead of running his mouth about how Taylor has become a good man, and so he should be allowed to return to Liberia to take part in politics.

  3. Not possible. Investigate intent to disrupt election in process. A criminal cannot while in confinement seek office. No more war in this nation. No more rebel bases in this nation. Legitimate military bases have been reinstituted. Any attempt to disrupt this election will be crushed in peace without the Liberians pains. The actual factual count is sort.
    Go to the majority when the Presidency is decided. Let the Liberian people know.

    • Keep dreaming or u just don’t understand the process of international law, there is no way Taylor is getting out of there except in a casket heading to his grave, who ever got u thinking or hoping Taylor will be set free just urinated on ur feet and told u it’s raining.

    • We’re not even sure that he participated in the Sierra Leonean war. They needed to get him so they use Sierra Leone all because he refused to allow western governments to control him. I hope Liberians are better aware than they were before and the next leader will put his foot down and not be dictated to.

      • Yes Beatrice, I agreed with you 100%. We witnessed Iraq(weapon of mass destruction) and Lydia(funding terrorism). Our continent has always been used as a scapegoat to experiment drugs by the western powers.

  4. Appointment was one of our president weaknesses. So many misplaced people. A medical Doctor in foreign service without knowledge of diplomatic ethics and principles. Sad for him

  5. Is Ambassador a real diplomat! He is in the foreign service as a mouth piece for
    the President and Government of Liberia. Did he forget that? When Taylor was
    President, he wanted to be the only tree in the forest. He faked coup by accusing
    hundred of Nimbain citizens and executing them in midnight; including beating his
    Vice President Dogolea to death. He picked up Krahn citizens at 12:00 midnight
    and executed them, including Benson Gywan an FDA Managing Director along
    with Benson’s father who went with his son out of fear why he was picked up at
    12:00 midnight. Someone said that Dr. Mohammed Sherrif was a misplaced
    medical doctor to foreign service and recommended that he be assigned in the
    leeward county to practice his professional. I say no! Because he is likely to
    medically kill the people out of un-satisfaction. Let him fend for himself now!
    Liberians of all walk of life are, indeed, offended by Dr. Mohammed Sherrif, if is
    a true Liberian.

  6. He doesn’t have a home in Liberia he destroy it. You cannot destroy your home and expect to return what are you returning to? Keep him we don’t have place for him in Liberia. People in Liberia I still living in darkness because of him.

  7. Let him rot in prison. This is what is wrong with some Politicians in Liberia today. They are too soft on crime Let’s reassign Dr. Ambassador Sheriff to the health system.

  8. Amb. Sheriff, a medical doctor by training, said he believes the”Taylor issue ought to be addressed by Liberia’s political parties implying that it is not up to the Liberian government.

    The statement made above by Mr. Sheriff tells me that he knows nothing about politics. Stay in the medical field Mr Sheriff, you don’t know anything about politics. WHAT A STATEMENT? ” It is up to the political parties, not the Government”. What a joke?

  9. In the first place, Taylor never committed crime in Liberia . Taylor in jail because of Serra Leon not for Liberia.
    If your think Taylor is in Jail because Liberia then, our President and other should be in Jail as well. ..
    Liberia people, your need to go back and read your history book about Liberia war.

    • So true John. To get him they had to use Sierra Leone… Taylor is locked up not for any crimes he committed in Liberia but because he did not toll the line for the west. They have someone who’s been carrying out their instructions for the past 12 years. I hope Liberians choose wisely this time.

  10. Mr. Ambassador Sheriff I’m sorry to say this you are looking at this situation on a very low level,I expect you to know better.

  11. What is ironic about the Ambassador’s statement is his answer to the question whether he has met with Mr. Taylor , and the Ambassador said ” he had not ” . With the level of political violence and destruction and economic destruction left behind by the former President for that country to rebuild , is the Ambassador suggesting that Mr. Taylor is political stable now ? What are some of the questions the Ambassador would have liked to ask the former President as to determine his state of mind ? We just do not know where these kind of people given the chance to serve their country come from ? Guess the Ambassador thinking is that former President has suffered enough , so that makes him free to participate . What a political nonsense after failing to meet with the former President as to test his state of mind . Question like , if he Taylor had to politically participate in politics again , what would he like to see or do differently ? The Ambassador does not know . But tells BBC blah blah blah blah blah . Where do these people come from ? With the level of education they have , they should be able to answer questions based on their education or make comments based on their education. Wow ! These people .

  12. You see, Liberia is in dire need of medical doctors and then it has Dr. Sheriff in London serving as a diplomat. His statement is only a reminder that he’s been misplaced and wants to return to his chosen career. Please, Ellen, bring home Ambassador Dr. Sheriff and assigned him at JFK where his medical practice would be closely monitored.

  13. “Taylor should be free” . This is an ambassador for Liberia? Idiot! What you should focus on is getting the rest of the mass murderers who are still drinking freedom in Liberia in cgaes. They need to face charges too. But i guess you are afraid to face them in fear of your life.

  14. Taylor’s criminal activities took place in Sierra Leone. This not so; Excellency, Ambassador Sheriff should recommend that Charles Taylor be returned to SIERRA LEONE; to face African Justice in the hands of the High Priests of the PORO SOCIETY. They know best, how to handle a CRIMINAL like Charles Taylor.

  15. “True peace is never possible if people feel that their desire for justice has not been met. Abominable war crimes were committed in Liberia, and the perpetrators of the worst crimes should now understand that justice will catch up with them” – UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour

  16. Why aren’t we surprised that some of EJS’s “loyalists” are showing their true colors when time running out on her tenure.

    Dr. Sheriff represents Liberia at the Court of St. James, the oldest and most revered of ambassadorial postings, yet against all diplomatic decorum deliberately blabbed his “opinions” to BBC on a controversial topic without regard for the government’s position on it. Frankly, the blatant insubordination has nothing to do with Taylor’s freedom, which the former president has right to hope for like anyone deprived of liberty. It is about the fact that one of EJS’s ambassadors publicly undermined a foreign policy legacy she built over a decade in less than five minutes.

    The question is, what was the motivation, or inducement?

  17. This is what happens when you put a old and senile person in a position of power. The British must be laughing at us. This man is quite literally an idiot. I hope Taylor rots in jail. Sierra Leone should stand strong. Perhaps Mr. Sheriff should be right next to Taylor. Please recall this old fart.

  18. Very reckless comments from a man calling himself ambassador. This man has no training in diplomacy so I am not surprise of his damaging comments to the Liberian government.

  19. Are we to assume that ever-person, referred to as “Doctor”, is a Medical Doctor?…..FYI; through basic research, there is a distinct difference between a PhD…, and a MD!!…BOTH ARE REFERRED TO AS DOCTORS;. ..however, it takes only a BASIC understanding of academia to know the difference!
    Oh, what 20-years of war can do to a people!!!!!!!
    Know your facts, understand the facts, and post with accuracy!

    • Abbie, UTTERANCES SHOULD BE PRECEDED BY THINKING! It is you whom “the 20 years war” has taken a toll on! Reread the news report. Here is what is stated in the third paragraph of the report on Ambassador Sherrif:

      “Amb. Sheriff, a medical doctor by training, said he believes the Taylor issue ought to be addressed by Liberia’s political parties, implying that it is not up to the Liberian government.”

  20. Let us remember that Taylor is not incarcerated for atrocity committed in Liberia but instead, the heinous acts perpetrate in our sisterly nation, Sierra Leone. So no amount of advocacy by the Liberian people will bring him to Liberia lest participate in politics in that country. It’s preposterous for the doctor to make such assertion. Liberia is way better without Taylor.

  21. Why others that accompanied Taylor and even people in Sierra Leone who supported the process of the war in Freetown were not prosecuted is it because he was the president let justice be done to all

  22. This silent majority is aware of the fact that some day after his service or before, this ex-rebel will return home, because after death, as long as you have asked God in prayers and sincerity, he will return you. Remember also that cases on the civil war are in Liberian courts. Remember the same kids who ma’s and pa ‘s he might have killed to force their votes, some of their parents are still living and some died during his war. The ones who parents are still living want to know why they should have or should kill their parents. And the ones who parents died would like to know why he killed their parents if he did. Now if given a place to be by law which is also one of God’s laws “Thou shalt not Kill”, he repents but cannot escape the consequences of his own bullets before laid to rest. The other alternative is to died naturally and come home to rest. The children we see are not ready for war again. They need to vote their conscience in peace. In short, since this issue is based on this foolish Country Doctor’s statement near the United Nations’ peace mission, this Medical Doctor should answer why he makes such terroristic biological statement as an instrument to destroy or interrupt the election in process. This statement is not political. Seems to be medicated influenced. Why should we not be suspicious that such as EBOLA was not used as a terrorist weapon to motivate his(this MD’s) affiliates to destroy their enemies of West African Nations effected by this deadly disease. Is this why He was serving in the U.K. as an envoy of deception to the Liberian Government? This is lesson to Liberians to know who to give passports to when in power and who to put under its authorization. This is a reminder of the past when Liberia was the light of African Freedom. Many colonized under the British, French and Portuguese, envy or disliked Liberians and thought we would never be sincere because we were “pro Americans”. Now After they came through Liberia to get to the United States. Some cause our division. We give them positions in Government free them from the insanity of apartheid yet this is the result we have. We must return the next Liberian generation to accept their who style of life given by our founders. We have our own passports and never have we been colonialized. We must also examine the purpose of African solidarity to suite our culture which is no doubt connected to the past slave trade yet still to be reconciled in the Liberian and American nations. We are civilized with our own way of life. More to come after a this smooth election.
    Gone in Silence. Let the Liberian people know.

    • Ambassador Sherrif is not serving within the capacity of a politician but rather within the portfolio of a diplomat…THE AMBASSADOR AT THAT! OF course, he may be “given a break”, but just imagine were he to vis a vis his professional training proper (medical science) miss-do in the operation room as he has “mispoken”!!

  23. The president authorized the ambassador to make this request in London, why are we attacking the ambassador and not the president?

    Most Liberians don’t understand how people like Sirleaf, Sawyer etc operate when they are not sured of the incoming head of government.

    They are the masterminds of tactics of instability for a negotiated government to give them some relevance and control since they can no more head government.

  24. All you guys are missing the point. The misspeaking Ambassador (known by some as ex-boyfriend of one of Taylor’s sisters) was withdrawn not so much for his advocacy on behalf of Taylor, but for publicly disclosing at his level what Taylor’s ex-wife, Jewel Howard Taylor, has often claimed: that in order to win the run off with George Weah in the 2005 elections, Ellen had reportedly​ promised Jewel that upon securing the Presidency with Jewel’s help in Bong county, she (Ellen) would help influence the release of Taylor from prison. That Ambassador Sheriff could voice out that claim in his capacity and in such an international way almost guaranteed his prompt dismissal by Ellen. So, his dismissal is less of advocacy for Taylor’s release than personal political embarrassment to Ellen, who, by the way,
    has several ex-officials of Taylor in high positions in her government, including Minister of Information Eugene Nagbe and current Liberia Ambassador to U.N, Lewis Brown.

    • Sesay Badi, which “political embarrassment”? “Political embarrassment” about a long gone election 12 years ago about an incumbent President constitutionally exiting the presidency? Not necessarily, Sesay Badi. Charles Taylor is behind bars because he was not one of those dictators planted by Modern day Rome the USA, nor dealt with by Britain. If he were, Taylor may have still been President of Liberia today!

      Accordingly, with Ellen been indicted by the TRC of Liberia for war crimes, she Ellen needs the sympathy of those very two P5 members of the UN Security Council to not be dashed to the wolves as Charles Taylor, Gbagbo etc. etc. And so with her ambassador at this time making such remarks, she MUST demonstrate to Washington and Brussels that she is not in support of such views expressed by her ambassador. And any leader in Ellenś shoes would have reacted similarly, if not even more harshly!

  25. Just as one who claims he or she is a lawyer, but IS UNABLE TO ARGUE FOR OR AGAINST the very given case, IS NOT A LAWYER, so is the case with a diplomat WHO LACKS THE APPROPRIATE CHOICE OF DICTIONS TO MEAN AND SAY THE ANTI-PROTOCOL OR “TABOU” WITHOUT BEEN SEEN AS ANTI-PROTOCOL OR OFFENSIVE, BUT IN FACT, ACCEPTABLE AND RESPECTED!!

    In short, since the ambassador is the apotheosis of the diplomat, MEASURE SHOULD BE HIS OR HER MIEN; to the extent that he or she should be able to tell another “go to hell” and that person or institution gets happily ready to make the great and historic trip!

    Its a pity that Ambassador Sherrif inadvertently did not realize that the DE FACTO COMPLAINANT OR VICTIMS viz the Charles Taylor´s conviction is no other but the RECEIVING COUNTRY AND FORMER COLONIZED respectively of his Ambassador Sherrif´s diplomatic posting! IN ALL THINGS MEASURE!!!

  26. Charles Taylor will be free and will live in Liberia freely. By the way, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf just proved to us her crafted political practices. Her 12 years reign is about to end and has left the country to thank her allies for helping her and them to saving their wealth in the Swiss bank. Now Liberians, you are left on your own. Those 12 years were about Ellen and ended with Ellen. She made sure to allow all wars financiers to get their money back. Charles Gankay Taylor will be back period.

  27. This doctor is prescribing bad medicine. By the way, is this man a member of UP or CDC? He sounds like George Weah or his running mate

    • Menqueeakarh Gonyon ,

      An incumbent of a small country in the political jungle of Africa sends a member of the opposition …the leading opposition at that… to represent him or her as his or her Ambassador to the Court of St. James (London)? That would be a historic rarity!

  28. Apparently, Liberia’s ambassador to London is not perceiving the hype being propagated by the Unity Party Government under Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her allies in the West about the alleged security issues around the incarceration of Charles Taylor.

    Now his interview is being barred and stripped from the So called “free press” of the BBC world service online medium.

    At the end of the day the truth and reality about the fabricated hype will unravel to all eager to know whether the So called insecurity issues on the post war era in Liberia was a scheme to hoodwink the International Community and Donor nations whilst a few crooks fleece the revenue streams from donor aid to line their pockets surreptitiously.

    TWT!!

  29. The statement made by the Ambassador was so unfortunate for him
    thank to the president for recalling as a diplomat you don’t express felling but sit down on issue.

  30. Never should this happen in this land again. Time to express our preferred freedom of choice. Not to group dupe.
    Gone to silence. Let the nation know.

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