Monday, August 11, 2008

Executive Mansion Reacts To TRC Witness

...Says It Lacks Truth

The Executive Masion has vehemently reacted to claims by Political Advisor of the defunct ULIMO, Jesus Aleui Swaray who said he spotted Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Charles Taylor's so-called "Greater Liberia" during the Liberia's prolonged civil war. The Liberian Presidential Office said the testimonies of Mr. Swaray are fraught with lies and untruths, especially when it comes to seen Madam Sirleaf in military uniform in "Greater Liberia during the war with Charles Taylor."

The Executive Mansion is not alone in reacting to Swaray's claims, a stalwart of the ruling Unity Party (UP), former Lofa County Representative David Kortie also lashed out at Swaray for his claims that he saw Madam Sirleaf with in military in the socalled "Greater Liberia" with Charles Taylor.

Kortie threatened a lawsuit against Swaray if the defunct ULIMO political advisor fails to substantiate his claims. Mr. Kortie is convinced that some of the testimonies at the TRC are made out of unsound minds or out of prijudices. he said some people who want jobs and are looking for relevance could potentially use the TRC's public hearings for that purpose. He said yet others who were mentally affected as the result of roles play during the war could also spread misinformation.

Kortie then called on the TRC ensure Psychiatric clearances from future witnesses before they can be allowed to testify before the TRC.

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (in a blue suit)looking on at the ground breaking for the reconstruction of the Voinjama Administrative Building in Voinjama City Lofa County. Voinjama was the seat of Swaray's ULIMO-K faction during the 1990 imbroglio. Madam Sirleaf took a cabinet retreat to Voinjama to ensure that spoilts by ULIMO-K are reconstructed and rehabilitated.

Similarly, Presidential Press Secretary Cyrus Badio told the Liberian media that utterances emerging from the Truth & Reconciliation Thematic Hearings are appalling. He made specific reference to statement attributed to one Jesus Alieu Swaray, over the purported role played by the President during the country’s civil crisis. "Mr. Swaray’s statement that he reportedly saw President Sirleaf dressed in military uniform in NPFL areas has absolutely no basis in fact and truth," Mr. Badio said.

"Mr. Swaray’s utterances contain a mixture of historical facts and fallacies, imagination and conjectures of rumors which he publicly alluded to," he maintained, adding that as this was a live broadcast, the public’s concerns were allayed by the follow up questions made by Commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, who questioned the veracity of witness Swaray’s statements, which exposed the falsity of his claims and brought his credibility to doubt.

President Sirleaf’s public service life open testimony

The Office of the Press Secretary to the President categorically recalled that the President is on record to have said previously then and now that she has never worn any form of military uniform in her lifetime, neither participated in the inspection of NPFL military bases during the country’s civil conflict.
President Sirleaf’s more than 40-years of remarkable public service are an open testimony and can be referenced and checked
against timelines, Mr. Badio said.

The President will appear before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and provide full information on her role in events from 1979 to present, the Executive Mansion assured.

"President Sirleaf supports and remains committed to the TRC exercise and welcomes the latest stage of the process. She, however, wants the public to be mindful of utterances that may have no basis in facts, since the exercise is aimed at establishing the truth, a principle critical to our country’s reconciliation process," Mr. Badio said in a statement circulated to the public.

Swaray's Account before the TRC

The former political Advisor of the United Liberation Movement (ULIMO) says he saw Africa’s Ironlady Ellen Johnson with exile President Charles Taylor in military uniform in the so-called “Greater Liberia” that was created by Taylor’s National patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL).

Although Jesus Alieu Swaray did not give substantive explanation on this claim, he alleged before the Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s Thematic & Institutional Hearing at the Centennial Pavilion Thursday, August 07, 2008 that he left Monrovia in 1990 for Bong and Nimba Counties in search for saved haven.

Swaray told the Liberian people during the TRC process that upon arrival at the so-called “Greater Liberia”, he was making arrangements to travel to the Ivory Coast but could not make the trip for reason best known to him.

According to Mr. Swaray, it was during that course of time that he spotted Madam Sirleaf in her military attire. He said a friend of his called his attention, “Look, there is Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf dressed in the military outfit;” Mr. Swaray indicated and noted that when he looked keenly, he recognized that it was the astute female Liberian politician visiting the Charles Taylor rebel military base with Taylor himself present at the time.

He further alleged that Ellen and Taylor paraded the streets of “Greater Liberia”. With a spirit of boldness overwhelming him when he appeared before the commission, Jesus Alieu Swaray, a Liberian Mende and political activist, requested the TRC panel to asked Madam Sirleaf, whom he said was linked to Charles Taylor.

I play Good Role

He however claimed that his role played was purely humanitarian and that he risked his life to establish the Liberia Islamic Union for Reconstruction And Development (LIURD) to help not only the Muslims, but also all others, an effort which he added had afforded him the opportunity to Western Liberia to distribute relief to residents of that part of Liberia dominated by Muslims.

The TRC witness impressed on the audience that he was asked to join ULIMO, the warring faction which was controlling security in northern and north western Liberia during his relief tour, as political officer.

Jesus Alieu Swaray further told the TRC that he gave positive advises to the ULIMO faction through its leader Alhaji Kromah. Mr. Kromah led the divided rival ULIMO-K which was opposed to ULIMO-J headed by the late General D. Roosevelt Johnson during the split of ULIMO as a faction. But Mr. Swaray intimated that the selection of the Liberia National Transitional Council that was headed by Professor Wilton Sankawolo tore the ULIMO movement apart to ULIMO-K and ULIMO-J.

He said the Krahn component of ULIMO sold out the slot for the Mandingo component on the Council to prevent a Mandingo from ascending to the transitional presidency the council represented. He rejected responsibility for occurrences in the war and added that he did not engage at the battlefield as one may surmise. Mr. Swaray’s testimony was fraught waivers, uncertainties and inconsistencies that raised eyebrows amongst the audience.

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