Unlikely Allies: Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Charles Taylor Reunite to Influence Liberia’s Presidential Election

Monrovia: On April 9, 1990, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a founding member of the Association for Constitutional Democracy of Liberia (ACDL) financed convicted warlord Charles Taylor by giving him $25,000 to initiate Liberia’s civil war, this information is based on an open letter by Mr. Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu. According to Mr. Woewiyu, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the ACDL started a fundraising campaign to support Charles Taylor’s insurgency in Liberia.  Liberia’s civil war was brutal; it led to over 200,000 dead and thousands displaced.

Mrs. Tarloh Munah Quiwonkpa, the widow of General Thomas Quiwonkpa, stated President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was also implicit in the 1985 abortive coup that left hundreds of Liberians dead including her husband, General Quiwonkpa.

According to documents and interviews collected by Globe Afrique’s Research team from Liberians in the country and the diaspora, President Sirleaf, who is sanctioned by the Truth and Reconciliation committee for her involvement in Liberia’s civil war, is back at it again with another round of misplaced support for Charles Taylor by way of Jewel Howard Taylor.

In an interview with the BBC, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was quoted as saying, “level Monrovia, we will rebuild it,” a statement she later regretted, saying it was a “stupid comment.” Yet, in her statement before the U.S. Congress, President Sirleaf supported the use of child soldiers – calling them “freedom fighters”.

Today, Charles Taylor sits in a UK prison with hopes of installing a puppet government in Liberia to carry out his “agenda” against those he perceives as his enemies – and, President Sirleaf is also on Taylor’s team via her support for Jewel Howard-Taylor.

Recognizing the threat Charles Taylor poses to democracy in Liberia, On October 2, 2017, the United States House of Representatives reaffirmed its commitment to Liberia through House Resolution 552 by calling on Liberians to engage in free, fair, and peaceful elections.

The Resolution condemns explicitly any external interference in the election, including “any communication or action by convicted war criminal and former armed faction leader Charles Taylor to influence the elections from prison.”

The Resolution is important because the United States is the most significant donor of international development aid to Liberia. From 2014 to 2016, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) donated $961,810,964 to Liberia via international development projects in education, healthcare, and security.

Despite billions of dollars received in foreign aid ($186.59 per capita), under Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia still has a poverty rate of nearly 60% and sits at the bottom end of the United Nations Human Development Index. Today, Liberia risks severe reductions in foreign aid by defying the U.S. Congress and President Trump, in allowing Charles Taylor to influence the October 10th, 2017 Presidential election.

Over the past several days, reports circulating on the Associated Press wire service and in Liberia have linked ex-footballer and presidential candidate George Weah and the ex-wife of Charles Taylor, Jewel Howard-Taylor, to holding secret talks to install Charles Taylor’s agenda in Liberia.

After initial denials by Mr. Weah’s party – the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) – in this YouTube video ex-footballer George Weah finally admits to speaking with Charles Taylor but denies the discussions were anything more than a mere hello. When pressed to say more about his meeting, Mr. Weah, who has been shielded from interviews and debates, was hurriedly asked to walk away by his handlers.

After his conversations with Mr. Taylor, George Weah, who was interviewed during the FIFA bribery scandal claims the monies he received from Sepp Blatter weren’t bribes but loans to pay his “school fees”. Today, Mr. Weah has an unusual amount of campaign financing which has been used to lease planes, cars, motorbikes and other campaign logistics.

Interestingly, as campaigning ends in Liberia and registered voters become more concerned over the possibility of restoring Charles Taylor’s ideology back in Liberia, Mr. Weah has once again denied ever speaking with Mr. Taylor.

Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which considered the underlying causes of Liberia’s civil war, strongly recommends restorative and retributive justice for those who participated in the country’s civil war. The commission recommended President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf be sanctioned for her association with Charles Taylor and other architects of war crimes.

In an interview with the Voice of America, Alan White, former chief of investigations for the United Nations Special Court for Sierra Leone said, he knows of two people who have publicly been encouraging retributive and restorative justice in Liberia – Vice President Joseph Boakai and businessman Benoni Urey.

According to sources close to President Sirleaf, it is VP Boakai’ s public call to follow recommendations of the TRC report and the President’s zeal to buy Mr. Weah’s senatorial seat for her son Robert Sirleaf that has prompted President Sirleaf to secretly funnel resources to ex-footballer George Weah. Thus, creating an unlikely alliance and reunion with ex-warlord Charles Taylor who she once financed to start the civil war in Liberia.

Perhaps VP Boakai, a soft-spoken and strategic leader will emerge from Liberia’s presidential election as a highly intelligent and savvy politician due to his restraint by not pursuing a public endorsement from President Sirleaf – a president, as the VP is accustomed to saying, he has dependably served for nearly 12 peaceful years in Liberia.

With a strong record of public service on a continent riddled with corruption – Liberia’s Vice President, Joseph Boakai appears to be one of a handful of politicians, including Charles W. Brumskine who have never been tainted with accusations of corruption.

Today, Liberia stands at the edge of a cliff – support the unlikely allies who brought the civil war to their country or move on with responsible leadership that does not risk cutting off the hands that feed Liberia.

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Globe Afrique’s Research and Analysis (GARA) is the primary wing of Globe Afrique Media and Communications that investigates certain research work and analysis, its results and impact, with the goal of discovering useful information, suggesting conclusions, and supporting decision-making for the clarity of the reading audience. With this, we seek to help the reading audience and the public rely on evidence ––based research and analysis and rigorous evaluation to interpret political, social, economic, scientific and cultural conclusions, developments, events, threats as well as promote effective policies and strong management.
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