Departing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has launched a seemingly open attack on Vice President Joseph Boakia and the ruling Unity Party via the dismissal of the VP’s allies and associates in cabinet.
The President is linked to the opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) with reports that she finances and supports the party’s presidential candidate Senator George Weah along with her allies and establishment figures including her son Mr. Robert Sirleaf.
Appointed officials who do not support the President’s push for Weah are intimidated, and coerced into joining the CDC, resign or face the marching order of the Chief Executive, multiple sources within the presidency have said.
Those accounts in the eleventh hours of the president are becoming a reality. At the close of November two cabinet officials were dismissed in two weeks. On November 17, Deputy Minister of Information for Press and Public Affairs Cllr. Jeddi Armah was fired with no stated reason and told by the President in the letter of dismissal that: she fires and hires.” Cllr. Armah supports the Vice President.
On November 28, Labor Minister Atty, Neto Zarzar Lighe Sr. was fired.
The President wrote” with the authority granted me by Article 56 (a) of the constitution of the Republic of Liberia, I hereby inform you that you are relieved of the position of Minister of Labor, effective immediately.
“I thank you for the time you served the administration and I know that with you exceptional skills you will achieve what you seek in you future endeavors.”
But on December 1, a press statement was posted on the presidential website (emansion) that Mr. Lighe dismissal is due to his continued, “gross disrespect and participation in wicked attacks and false accusations leveled against the presidency.”
The office of President has not explained the alleged gross respect and “wicked attacks” neither the claim of false accusations, thus creating the appearance of a presidential blackmail against the ousted official.
Lighe, beside the Vice President was the most senior party official in government following his election in July 2016 as the Senior National Vice Chairman of the ruling Unity Party.
Other party officials and supporters like ex Lofa County Senator Sumo Kupee who resigned his post as Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) and Dr. Henrique Tokpa, Defense Minister Brownie Samukai are victims of what appears to be the political cleansing of the Boakai people.