-Says She Makes No Apologies For Appointing Her Sons, Confidants
Until eternity, Liberians will not be oblivious of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s 12-year hold onto political power. It is a period fraught with diametrical social and political physiognomies– her style of leadership for which she left office lowly rated. As President, she was accused of flouting the law on ‘Nepotism’ by appointing her sons and relatives to lucrative positions in government. Robert Sirleaf, James Sirleaf, and Fumba Sirleaf were notable in the alleged desecration. Unending uproar did not change her stance on the issue, and might still not change her. Addressing herself to the issue in a recent interview in Kigali, Rwanda, the former President went a bit cheeky, saying he owes no one apology. The New Republic dissects her statement.
Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf often refuses to bow so easily when reminded of the ‘mishaps’ of her two-term presidency. In a recent interview in Kigali, Rwanda, she showed the stuff she is made up. She told BRINKWIRE news that she makes no apologies for flouting the law on nepotism – appointing her sons/relatives to government.
Madam Sirleaf endured the fiercest and hottest of criticisms and condemnations for not upholding the sanctity of the law, but showed no remorse to reverse the trend.
Her appointment of Robert Sirleaf as head of the Board of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL), one of her four siblings, came to be the most appalling of her actions.
The former Liberian leader is still adamant that she owes no apologies for her actions by appointing people into public service, saying they needed the right people.
When asked by BRINKWIRE whether she was embarrassed by criticisms about sons in being government, she said she made no apologies for such decision.
“I make no apologies. I did what I had to do under the circumstances, and I’m not the only one around Africa and the world,” she said, and added, “we needed the skills and they have them.”
“We had the skills, we used them. That did not take away from all the other things we did, from the complete inclusion of people at all the levels of society and all political parties.”
Her action to appoint her sons to positions in government ran contrary to actions she took against past governments for practicing the same thing she nursed and endorsed.
It was her first response to the issue since leaving office a little over three months ago.
Though promised to nip corruption in the bud, it became a vampire under her watch, an admission of failure to fight the menace.
Who was in government?
Most of her lieutenants came from overseas, leaving out qualified individuals on the ground. The former president argued she needed the best minds to run her government.
Her son, Rob Sirleaf who chaired the Board of NOCAL allegedly depleted the accounts of the company before his departure.
A post-Robert Sirleaf audit of NOCAL, once a booming entity, shed light on widespread corruption and mismanagement, but she defended her son’s role.
She took blame for whatever happened at NOCAL or son did.
Another son, Fumbah Sirleaf headed the National Security Agency (NSA) for the rest of her administration without accountability.
He was accused of having hands in the seizing of huge sum of money from Korean nationals.
Besides her sons, some of her close confidants were linked to malpractices.
They include former Commerce Minister, Miatta Beyslow, Matilda Parker, former Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA), T. Nelson Williams, former Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company (LPRC), Ellen Cockrum, former head of the Robert International Airport (RIA), former Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy, Eugene Shannon, Dr. Richard Tolbert formerly of the National Investment Commission (NIC).
Madam Sirleaf is noted for harsh responses to issues she often consider impugning on her integrity, that dint her presidency.
While at the presidency, she categorized Liberians criticizing her actions as ‘noisy minority,’ a statement which many dubbed to be so demeaning.