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Liberia's President Sirleaf not Afraid of Opposition Merger, Says Press Secretary

  • James Butty

Press secretary Cyrus Badio says Liberians have a choice in 2011 between president Sirleaf's record and that of the opposition

The press secretary to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said the president is not afraid of the merger of her two leading opponents in the 2005 presidential elections.

This comes as George Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change and Charles Brumskine’s Liberty Party issued a joint communiqué reiterating their commitment to run on the same ticket in the 2011 presidential elections.

Liberian opposition leader Charles Brumskine

Liberian opposition leader Charles Brumskine

They said their merger represents the desire of Liberians for a stronger opposition ticket to defeat the ruling Unity Party.

But presidential press secretary Cyrus Badio said the Liberian people will have to choose between President Sirleaf’s record of peace and stability and the no record of Weah and Brumskine and the rest of the opposition.

“The president has heard what is taking place; she’s welcomed it because it is in the interest of our political process, and more important, it is going to make it less confusing for our people because instead of choosing among 20 or more candidates as it was in 2005, the Liberian people will now have to decide among two or three or four candidates,” he said.

Opposition leader Brumskin told VOA earlier this month that the government of President Sirleaf should be replaced because it failed to reconcile the Liberian people and reform the institutions of government that would sustain democracy.

Brumskine said his Liberty Party’s vision is based on what he called the Four Rs – Reconciliation, Reform, Recovery, and Rebuilding.

Badio said the Liberian people will have to choose between President Sirleaf’s record of peace and stability and the no record of Weah and Brumskine and the rest of the opposition.

“For the first time children are in school; for the past six years they have not had to run; for the first time we have food; people are not in line to buy rice; they have something in their pocket. Even if they are not employed, they have a way of getting around,” Badio said.

He said the opposition, particularly Brumskine and Weah, do not have a vision for the country except that they are united in their desire to unseat President Sirleaf.

“The president has a record to defend, and the opposition, I’m afraid, does not have clear policy direction or vision for this country. All they are united for or that brings them together is to defeat the president or to assume the leadership of this country. But once they assume the leadership of this country, there is no vision to carry this country forward,” he said.

Weah and Brumskine came second and third in the 2005 presidential election, and observers say their merger could make it difficult for President Sirleaf to win re-election.

Badio said no level of merger will upset the desire of the Liberian people to continue with President Sirleaf’s leadership.

Brumskine told VOA earlier this month that Liberians will reject President Sirleaf come 2011 because she has failed to manage corruption and gone absence in bringing about economic recovery.

Badio said today’s economic woes are not unique to Liberia.

“The dismal economic situation of course is not only in Liberia. It’s all over, even in the United States, there is a dismal economic situation in that country. So it is a problem that is worldwide,” Badio said.

He cited a boom in the construction of private homes as one sign that Liberia was making progress economically.

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