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Liberian Opposition Leader Defends US Trip with President Sirleaf

  • James Butty

President Sirleaf Addressing the 52nd National Legislature of Liberia

President Sirleaf Addressing the 52nd National Legislature of Liberia

Eugene Nagbe, secretary-general of George Weah's CDC party says there was no quid pro quo in traveling with the president

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is scheduled to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington Thursday.

The White House said earlier this week that the two leaders will discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues.

Traveling with President Sirleaf on her trip to the United States is Eugene Nagbe, secretary-general of George Weah’s opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC).

Rumors circulating in parts of Monrovia that the CDC was being courted by the president to support her re-election in next year’s elections.

But, Nagbe said there was no quid pro quo in accompanying the president.

“It has been the tradition of President Sirleaf that when she makes these foreign visits, she invites members of the opposition to travel with her to represent the country. The CDC as a political party is not adverse to this. When we have the opportunity to engage the government in this manner we do it,” he said.

Nagbe categorically dismissed suggestions that the CDC was being courted by President Sirleaf.

He said such rumors were being peddled by those he said were against peace in Liberia.

“The CDC as a political party has been in the vanguard of putting the interest of the Liberian people (first) and we will continue to do so. These rumors, these gossips are not accidental. They are the work of people who don’t like peace, who don’t like Liberia, and who are desirous of seeing our party split up,” he said.

Weah said the CDC has a policy of engaging not only other members of the opposition but also the ruling party.

Nagbe said the CDC has been in talks with other opposition parties, but he denied that CDC leader George Weah’s ego that only he can be president was making efforts toward a merger difficult.

“What the executive committee of the CDC has done is to agree to have discussions with other members of the opposition. These are geared toward ensuring that we can have a single platform. There is no precondition on our part. If the CDC goes into an alliance, a coalition or whatever with any other political party, the terms of that merger, that coalition would be determined,” Nagbe said.

Nagbe said the CDC supports a full implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TR) report.

He called on President Sirleaf to adhere to the law which created the TRC and implement the report.

“It is the duty of the president to report after 90 days, and that has passed, to the national legislature about progress she has made in the implementation of the TRC report. If she doesn’t do that she doesn’t do that, it is the job of the national legislature to call the president and find out why that hasn’t been done. So the CDC position is that the law that created the TRC must be followed to the letter,” he said.

VOA was supposed to interview President Sirleaf today, but the interview was canceled because of conflict in President Sirleaf’s schedule.