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Liberian president Sirleaf rejects membership expulsion by governing party

NEW YORK — The presidential spokesman of Liberia’s outgoing president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Monday said that the outgoing Liberian rejects her expulsion by the country’s outgoing ruling Unity Party.

Presidential spokesman Jerolinmik Piah said the action of the leadership of the governing party was aimed at making President Sirleaf lose focus on the remaining days of her stay in office.

Sirleaf’s spokesman said her purported expulsion was “illegal and not in conformity with party’s rules and regulations.”

“The pronounced action by the Unity Party does not deserve or require a reaction,” Piah told reporters in the capital city of Monrovia.

The governing Unity Party on Sunday said it had expelled President Sirleaf from its membership on Saturday, laying blame on her for anti-party activities.

The governing party censured the 79-year-old Sirleaf for violating the political group’s constitution by functioning against her vice president, Joseph Boakai, who ran for president on its platform last year.

Vice President Boakai was defeated by his challenger and opposition candidate, soccer star  George Weah in the presidential run-off election held in the country on December 26.

Vice President Boakai, who has functioned as vice president of the country for 12 years, reinforced Sirleaf’s expulsion from the party.

Senator Conmany Wesseh and his wife, Medina Wesseh, both of whom are two strong members of the party known to be very loyal to the Liberian leader were also expelled from the political group.

Presidential spokesman Piah said the outgoing Liberian leader was not giving weight to the development because “she is focused on concluding her transition.”

President Sirleaf still considers herself a member of the political party, Piah added.

“The party rules are clear as to how such action should be taken. Expulsion does not come from thin air. There are things that an individual should do that result in expulsion,” the spokesman said, adding “when she leaves the presidency, the party matter will be handled the party way.”

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first female democratically elected president, leaves office on January 22 after completing a two-term tenure in office, from 2006 to 2018.

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Paul Stevens

Paul Stevens is a researcher, media issues analyst and senior contributor with Globe Afrique.

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