LIBERIA: Ngafuan Labels As ‘A Big, Black Lie’ Media Reports that President Sirleaf’s Advised Malawian Counterpart not to Fight Corruption

Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan has strongly denied media reports that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ill-advised her Malawian counterpart, Her Excellency Madam Joyce Banda.

During an interactive discussion with some Liberians on Wednesday afternoon at the Center for Exchange of Intellectual Opinions (CEIO) on Carey Street, the Liberian Foreign Minister, who accompanied the President to the southern African nation clarified that at no time did President Sirleaf tell President Banda not to fight corruption at a time when she, President Banda, is seeking re-election. Malawi is scheduled to hold Presidential and Parliamentary elections in May of this year.

“Let me tell you that the Malawian Press Secretary has come out with a clarification. But I can tell you that this statement that is going around, especially on the Internet, that President Sirleaf told the Malawian President not to fight corruption because it is a risk to fight corruption in an election year because people with money will fight her which could lead to her defeat, I can tell you that this is a big, black lie. I say that with all the strength of my integrity because I was there. I was even behind the Press Secretary to get some clippings so that we can play so you can hear”, Foreign Minister Ngafuan said in response to a young lady’s inquiry on the matter.

But continuing Foreign Minister Ngafuan added, “What even President Banda said is that her sister [President Sirleaf] is her role model. They discussed a wide range of issues including the anti-corruption fight and the risk that is involved. But she said publically at the state dinner that President Sirleaf encouraged her to stay the course, to soldier on, to continue the corruption fight in spite of the pending elections and the risk involved. That’s what President Banda said”.

He reminded his audience that Malawi is going to elections and, as a consequence, the Malawian political climate is getting very charged.  Therefore, falsehoods and twisted facts may be peddled by individuals with ulterior motives.

The Foreign Minister Ngafuan then encouraged the jam-packed audience at the haitai shop, dominated by the youth, not to lose sight of the progress that has been made since the end of the civil conflict that has created the environment for economic recovery and development as well as the institutionalization of the culture of democracy.

“We are not at the bottom of the bottomless pit. We are not way up there yet; but equally so, we are not way down there. We have miles to go but we have made some significant progress that you need to note and appreciate.”

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