Monrovia – Per the thinking of businessman and politician Benoni Urey going after President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf after she shall have completed her tenure will be foolhardy.
His government, if elected President would not waste time on that, he says, while asking Liberians to be proud that she will be Liberia’s only past President who would be alive and not behind bars.
He made the statement on the 50-50 Talk Show on Sky FM on Monday.
“I know Ellen better than most people do in this country. Ellen does not need no protection from anybody. Ellen has gotten every award possible in the world."
"Only a fool will go after President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, so what are you going to be proving – that you’re the only smart person and the whole world stupid?” Mr. Urey said while responding to questions surrounding President seeking immunity from the Legislature.
The All Liberian Party political leader averred that by virtue of her being President enjoys some right such as she cannot be held liable for her actions and decisions while serving as President unless those actions and decisions are outside the laws of Liberia.
“If she did something outside the laws the immunity and you can bring and you can prove it then the law will take its course. But I personally not doing it and I want to say this: I’m not going to go after people; I’m not out for witch haunting, I’m here for moving Liberia forward,” he said.
Wants War Crimes Court
However, Mr. Urey admitted being in favor of the establishment for a war crime court, especially for those who admitted during the Truth and Reconciliation hearing that they participated in the country’s civil war but have failed to render apology to Liberians.
“I will even call for the creation of the war crimes tribunal only for those who that bear the greatest responsibility for the war in Liberia. Look! I believe it’s wrong for Charles Taylor to be in jail in Great Britain and others that participated in the war walking free – all the leaders of the warring factions – Prince Johnson, Joe Boakai, all of them that headed warring factions,” he asserted.
Ironically, many Liberians believe that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf helped finance the war by her admission to the TRC that she gave the then warlord Charles G. Taylor US$10,000 for humanitarian service and she should be prosecuted for that matter.
Back in 2009, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission caused a firestorm when it recommended a 30-year ban from politics for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and more than 50 political leaders and financiers of different warring factions’.
For Urey, going after Pres. Sirleaf for prosecution is not as important as focusing on building Liberia’s health care, fighting corruption and improving on deliverables.
Last week, President Sirleaf submitted a bill to the Legislature, seeking smooth transition from an outgoing government to a new democratically elected government.
In the draft bill, President Sirleaf stressed the importance to establish an arrangement for the transfer of administration from one democratically elected President.
“The purpose of this law is to build a strong foundation and culture that embrace democratic value for sustainable peace, management, and regulation of the transfer of political power and other related matters.
“This act when passed into law will continue the path of peaceful resolution, smooth transition of political power and governance, stability and a sustained democratic development,” her communication to the Legislature concerning the bill noted.
Interestingly, President Sirleaf did not include the bill immunities for former Presidents and Vice Presidents, but called on the lawmakers to use their discretion in that regard, noting that some jurisdictions do grant their past leaders some immunity.
The ALP political leader believes the Supreme Court was not fair in its judgment denying Abu Kamara for the opportunity to run for a legislative seat after failing to abide by sections of the National Code of Conduct, but allowed the vice standard bearer of the Liberty Party to contest though he violated the same sections.
Urey did not come clear but insinuated that the Liberty Party bribed the judiciary to rule in its favor in the Harrison Karnwea, Liberty Party versus the National Elections Commission case.
“You’ll deny a poor man, Kamara, and you let all the rest go. That’s not justice, that’s not justice; and when people try to ascend to the highest office and they get involved in manipulating the law and the Constitution for their political goals, it’s bad. How can we trust you as President when you have already started paying money to violate the laws?
Outlining his plans to fight corruption in Liberia, Urey said the fight against corruption in Liberia is yielding no fruits because the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission is in itself corrupt.
Urey: “First and foremost, the leader must have the will to fight corruption. After the will, you must be strong both physically and mentally to absorb the shocks that will come from the Liberian people when you’re fighting corruption.”
He noted there is a need to set up mechanisms that will ensure that corruption is minimized throughout the rest of Liberia’s existence.
“One of them will be to set up a fast track court to deal with corruption."
"This anti-corruption commission is a joke; in fact they’re more corrupt than the people they are charging."
"We’re going to give that institute real arresting and prosecution power.