And You Too, Ellen?
It beats my imagination to some level, and even beyond some level to have listened to a statement from Africa’s first female president-Ellen Johnson down- playing statement made by her chief bodyguard, Othello Warrick.
Quite frankly and with no ounce of surprise, she is entitled to her opinion like any Liberian citizen on anything she wants to comment on, and how she chooses to comment. But what is more disturbingly of concern is her latest utterances regarding the media blackout imposed on her by the Press Union of Liberia in the wake of Warrick’s bullying statement: “If they like, they can go on with the black out for the rest of the year.”
What a statement, Ma Ellen! What a tongue-tied way to respond to such national issue that hinges on the security of another group of Liberians who are doing a piece of job as their conscience depicts!
I am afraid to say that it is too soon for you, Ma Ellen, to ignore the strength and contribution of the media of Liberia to the glory you are parading. Have you forgotten, in less than a decade that it is the very media that created the platform for you to sit at the helm of power, after years of struggling, smartly smashing the heads of others in the name of fighting societal ills?
Oh yes, Ma Ellen, please recollect. This is the media which made you known globally; this is the media which made your actions and works popularly known today. This is the media, when you were in opposition camp, many years ago; you relied on to propagate your messages and views.
This is the media that hailed you as the iron lady of Liberia; this is the media that announced to the world the progress you were making in the investment areas; this is the media that you took on Belleh Yalla road; this is the media you took to South East to showcase the efforts your Government has made; this is the media you once said needed to be strong.
And then, you too Ellen Today! It was the media that trumpeted your plight to the Liberian people and the world when you were incarcerated by the late Samuel K. Doe Government. If the media had not informed the world about your plight, who would be aware of it? This is the very media you are disparagingly speaking against? And you too Ellen?
I am not saying you should not criticize the media when it goes wrong. You have the right
and for that matter, anyone has the right to criticize the media if it is carrying our unprofessional activities. But this one, it was the media day that your Chief bodyguard was invited.
The media said, come dine and wine with us. And at the end, Warrick said, I will wine, but I will tell use adjectives on some of you. It makes me to think of this saying: your action is akin to a crippled man being carried shoulder high by his relative and is saying, “Your ambit is smelling.” Good! The media has played very important role in this country and has helped to promote your agenda of change and transformation.
The media did not go on its own to write anything it wanted when it was needed in 1980s to voice out your views. Again, the media could not go on its during the ear of ex-president William R. Tolbert to inform Liberians when you criticized that leadership.
At that time, the press was friendly and was important. And you too Ellen! When the late Samuel K. Doe’s regime was criticized by you and others, the press was a friend to you. When you and few opposition politicians told Liberians and the world that 1985 election were rigged, the press was not asked to go on doing its own work.
We do know that all those years, there was no one like Othello Warrick and there as no statement made like that. But tell me madam, what your actions would have been if you were in opposition when this statement was made by either Doe’s Chief bodyguard or Taylor’s chief bodyguard?
Oh dear, the airwaves of radio stations and television stations would be flooded with condemnation to the highest level.
Also statements from you would have been all in the papers of newspapers. Indeed, when I sit and contemplate on some the utterances made by Africa’s first female president and look at her today, at times, I tell myself, “politicians will always be politicians and journalists will always be journalist.”
In 1997, the first elections, which president Sirleaf took part in, I remember a senior security officer of former president, Charles Taylor told some journalists who had gone to the stadium to cover his
rally; “if some of you are not trained, we will teach you lesson.” That statement went out like wild fire. I remember very well that candidate Sirleaf at the time spoke out against it and called on the
press to remain resolute and steadfast.
Oh yeah! When it is in your favor, the press is the darling club, but when it is not in support of something, the press becomes your ‘devil head’. And you too Ellen! I still find it hard to believe that it is
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf speaking like this today.
This is just distasteful and embarrassing to a president who has, over the past years boasted of press freedom to take this stand. Let us all know this old saying: the rope that hangs a monkey, can also hang a bamboo.
And you too Ellen! What would have happened if such a statement had been made by a police officer or an army officer? What the reaction would have been. Is it that no action is being taken because of the
closeness of Warrick to you? Wait a minute.
What is at stake here? It is that you instructed or couched him to make sure statement or what? Well, I do not know how true is it that the lady Warrick married to is a relative to madam president. Is that true? And you too Ellen!
Madam, do not leave a bad legacy behind. To be honest, you might have brought some level of stability to this land and made huge investment to come in as well, but you need to be careful in speaking on some national issues like what the EPS boss said.
Remember it was this same media in Liberia that you frequently called its leaders to calm down some issues. The same media you have worked with closely in solving some critical national issues. The same media you are trying to insinuate to go on with the black out.
Well, let it be known that whatever the case is today, the media and will remain the media. Leaders will come and go, but the press will remain to inform, educate and entertain the society. So, madam,
everyone is watching you. No matter what you say or do, we all watching.
And so, we are here. Remember “it is not good to destroy the object you use to cross over because you may be in need of it
tomorrow.” And you too Ellen?