In Liberia, opposition political parties and civil society
organizations are calling on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to withdraw the
nomination of former elections commission chair Frances Johnson-Morris as head
of the newly appointed Anti-Corruption Commission. The senate confirmation
hearing of Johnson-Morris resumes Thursday.
The opposition Congress for
Democratic Change (CDC), George Weah's party and the Center for Transparency
and Accountability described Johnson-Morris as a confidant of President Sirleaf
and said her nomination raises serious doubts about the neutrality of the
But information minister Lawrence Bropleh says Johnson-Morris is a
qualified individual who has served her country honorably.
The appointment of
the Anti-Corruption Commission comes on the heel of the publication of a series
of emails on the Internet implicating several members of President Sirleaf's
government in alleged corrupt practices.
Geraldine Doe-Sherif is acting
chairperson of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change. She told VOA
her party has a litany of complaints against the
nomination of Johnson-Morris.
are saying that the Anti-Corruption Act was tampered with before it even went
to the Mansion. Section six point-two originally stated that the president
shall appoint in consultation with the civil society. Also few months ago the
justice minister accused opposition political parties of wanting to overthrow
the president of the Republic of Liberia which she could not prove, thus
jeopardizing and putting their lives in danger," she said.
said the coup accusation against the opposition by then Justice Minister
Johnson-Morris, which has yet to be supported by prima facie demonstrates her
poor judgment as a lawyer and strong abhorrence for the opposition.
described Johnson-Morris as a puppet and confidant of President Sirleaf and
that such a relationship calls into question Johnson-Morris' neutrality as
chairperson of the Anti-Corruption Commission.
also see Counselor Morris is a prodigy and confidant of the president and will
become a presidential puppet if given this opportunity because she will not be
acting on her own. She will be used by the president to carry on these acts. So
we want to encourage other civil society members and other political parties to
join us in making sure that counselor Frances Johnson-Morris is not confirmed,"
overseeing the 2005 presidential elections that brought President Sirleaf to
power, Johnson-Morris once served as Chief Justice of Liberia's Supreme Court.
After the elections she served as justice minister and now commerce minister.
said Johnson-Morris got these various government positions because of her
relationship to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
is also rumored that she's even a relative to President Sirleaf, and we are
saying with all these problems and her credibility at stake, not talking about
her competence, we're talking about credibility. She has held two major
ministries which of course two weeks from now will be audited. So how can this
person that has held these ministerial positions be the one to go after corrupt
people when these ministries themselves have to be audited. So CDC is saying
that the playing field is not leveled. We cannot condoned it, we will not
accept it, and we will continue to fight to make sure that she is not
confirmed," Doe-Sherif said.
information minister Lawrence Bropleh said Johnson-Morris is not a relative of
Frances Johnson-Morris is not a relative of the president. The president only
met her when she had an unfortunate incident when she was chair of the Catholic
Justice and Peace Commission when she was imprisoned during time of former
President (Charles) Taylor," Bropleh said.
also said Johnson-Morris is a qualified individual who has served her country
"This woman is an astute lawyer of
high repute. She has served Liberia as Chief Justice of our highest arbiter of
justice in our nation. No body can point, in her public service, any act of corruptibility.
The issue here is we must bring up things that are tangible. There is none of
us that is perfect, but to suggest that because the president had previously
appointed her to a public position that another public position would mean that
she would serve at the whims and caprices of the president one has to be
kidding about this," Bropleh said.