Liberian president in nepotism row
Fighting broke out close to the residence of Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf yesterday as supporters clashed with several dozen members of her ruling party who accuse her of favouring close relatives for top government jobs.
Police and UN peacekeepers moved in to separate the two rival factions within her Unity Party.
Opponents have long accused the Nobel peace laureate of placing sons and other relatives in key positions in the state oil company, central bank and other agencies. However, this is the first public criticism from within her own ruling party.
“We have come here today to tell her to step down because she has become unpopular in the party,” said Patrick S Tiah, party chairman, on the youth policies that Johnson-Sirleaf put at the centre of her winning campaign for a second term last year.
Speaking just before the scuffles broke out, Tiah noted that her son Robert Sirleaf was chairman of the National Oil Company, son Charles was deputy central bank governor and son Fumba head of the National Security Agency.
“Liberia is not her family’s property. All we are saying is for her to step down from the party. It is the party that made her and sold her to the Liberian people,” he said, adding that at least 17 family members had positions in government.
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