President Sirleaf : Sheriff’s Behavior “Unbecoming,” too little too late

Mohammed Sheriff, left, sworn in as ambassador by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, right

WEST AFRICA – Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf recently recalled the Liberian ambassador to the United Kingdom, ‘Dr’ Mohammed Sheriff for what she described as an “unbecoming behavior.” The allegedly conflicting, professionally untrained and diplomatically unqualified Liberian diplomat told the BBC World Service that ex-Liberian president and warlord, “Charles Taylor Has Been Converted” – Recalled Ambassador Mohammed Sheriff.

The former Liberian ambassador also 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. Taylor, who is presently accused of meddling in Liberian politics and is believed to be financing the campaign of a major political party associated with his wife, Jewel Howard Taylor, has been condemned by several international personalities and institutions including members of the US Congress.

Sherif, left, and Charles Taylor, right

Sheriff’s remarks to the BBC’s ‘Focus on Africa’ were in response to a question from host Audrey Brown on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

The question is, when did President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf know, understand and realize that Ambassador ‘Dr” Mohammed Sheriff had an unbecoming behavior? Is it because the untrained Liberian diplomat has exposed a ‘secret’ plan in which President Sirleaf is accused of being a part, which is, an attempt to return Taylor to active political actions in Liberia and indeed West Africa?

During the past few years, the Liberian communities in Rome, Italy and London, the United Kingdom, have repeatedly informed the Liberian leader, officials of the foreign ministry and others in Liberia that ambassador Sheriff was not only a conflicted liar, unbecoming and abnormal; he was also allegedly involved in taking crack. Besides, he terrorized the entire Liberian community in Rome, Italy and London, the UK as well as lied repeatedly on Liberians in those countries in ways that left many of them with frustration and hardship. In these lies and unbecoming behavior,  officials at the foreign ministry shamelessly stood by and defended the very man the president and the government described today as “unbecoming.”

Several Liberian news outlets and other media groups, in the past, have published stories and information from the Liberian community in Rome, Italy and London, the UK regarding the undiplomatic tenets and crack taking behavior of Ambassador Sheriff. But as always, President Sirleaf and her foreign ministry top officials disregarded the citizens who she and the foreign ministry’s officials supposed to be serving. Instead, they sided with one of their serial cronies, friends and loyalists. Several news stories and the following links show that Liberians in Rome, Italy and London, the United Kingdom, have vehemently complained about Sheriff many times as published in this 2014 news story in Liberia in Monrovia.

Yet, Sheriff was prioritized repeatedly over the various Liberian communities and citizens on many occasions.

First and foremost, how did Sheriff become an ambassador when all indications suggest that he was not only unsuited for the position but lacks the qualifications, training and education for diplomacy?  Sheriff is reportedly said to be a ‘medical doctor’ and a product of the medical school at the University of Liberia who briefly pursued a certificate program (in which he was expelled) in radiology in Rome, Italy, but claimed he is an Italian trained physician.  So far, available research evidence seems to suggest that his purported claim of being an Italian trained medical doctor remains questionable, at best.

Ambassador Sheriff is not the only Liberian government official, friend and crony that President Sirleaf has defended for years against the wishes of the Liberian people. She has defended many “unbecoming” officials, cronies and friends in the past and continues to do so. These include individuals who have stolen and/or misused millions of United States dollars from the coffers of Liberian government.

The former Liberian ambassador (Mohammed Sheriff) is not only considered a troublemaker, he is also regarded as an opportunist.  During the regime of Charles Taylor, the so-called ambassador, Dr. Mohammed Sheriff, did everything to date Taylor’s older sister.   And so, he became Taylor’s brother in law, benefited from Taylor’s loot until Taylor left power and then he subsequently dumped Taylor’s sister and became an informal of Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during the 2005 presidential election.

To his credit, the former Liberian ambassador (Mohammed Sheriff), in response to the president and the foreign ministry’s categorization of him, is also quoted as saying, “I know I don’t have any unbecoming behavior. I’ve always spoken the truth and I have always on issues that are not correct. So, if by talking about corruption, by talking about issues that are not straight forward, if that is what you call unbecoming, I don’t regret it. I will continue to be unbecoming.”

Deducing from the ambassador’s latest remark stated during a Frontpage Africa’s interview, the implication is that President Sirleaf only considers an official or ally as “unbecoming” only when chickens come home to roast––when it is against the interest of the president instead of the Liberian people. This is a bad way to govern a nation and lead a people.

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Blama G. Konuwah

Blama G. Konuwah resides in Vancouver, Canada. He is a public issues analyst and senior contributor to Globe Afrique.
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