Taylor is a "pathological Liar", Says Sirleaf
August 21, 2000

Liberia's Opposition leader, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, describing President Charles Taylor as a "pathological liar", says the President's accusations against her for allegedly backing the current fighting in the country indicate his growing paranoia of defeat in the elections scheduled in 2003. She added that these "false accusations" are designed to conceal Taylor's failure in fulfilling his many promises to the Liberian people since he took office three years ago.

In a press release issued after President Taylor swore and threatened to arrest her if she lands in Liberia, the former UN executive said:

"Mr. Taylor has accused me of involvement and complicity in the so-called Lofa incursion. I strongly and unequivocally deny involvement, participation or support in any form or fashion in the Lofa plot or any other plot that would attempt to destabilize the country or bring about a change in government by violent means.

"Mr. Taylor has indicated, as partial evidence of the accusations, that I was recently in Guinea. I defy him to expose details of this visit, to expose to the nation the date when I was in Guinea. If he is a true Darkpannah, let him reveal this little bit of what he calls "fact". This will be my opportunity to prove my innocence thereby exposing him as a pathological liar to use the characterization of him by a revered Liberian cleric some time ago".

Mrs. Sirleaf, whose development project offices were ransacked and equipment looted allegedly by Taylor's loyalists, added:

"Mr. Taylor has said that I will be arrested if I put my foot on Liberian soil. I cannot deny that he has the power to carry out this threat. I would have no fear of being arrested or for that matter being tried if I but had confidence in his respect for the rule of law. In fact, if there were this confidence, I would slap a libel suit on him that he would not forget. But the many experiences and examples we have urge me to be cautious and mindful of what has happened to so many others.

"Mr. Taylor says that he knows me. I don't know how one gets to know someone with whom one has not shared ideas or experiences or been a part of the same association or group or organization. For that matter, it is only on one occasion in my entire lifetime that I have had a one on one tete-a-tete with him, an experience which changed my whole opinion of him and his movement. Unfortunately, I do not know and did not know Mr. Taylor or I would not, on the urging of common associates, have provided a small measure of support during the early days of his rebellion. For this, I owe deep apologies to the Liberian people no matter how small or insignificant that support was".

Mrs. Sirleaf, the second runner-up in the 1997 elections which ended the country seven-year civil war Liberia emphasized:

"Certainly, with that experience, I would be deranged if I attempted to support any other such uprising only to lead ultimately to the introduction of a demon in our society. If Mr. Taylor's intelligence apparatus is worth its grain of salt, he would know of my movements, my travels and my operations which are open to all. I do nothing clandestinely and can be reached at any time in a place which my schedule shows me to be. He also knows that I am involved in trying to raise the resources for the support of my Party in preparation for the 2003 elections in the only way I know how - through honest, hard work. He knows also that my plans are to return to Liberia for continued stay toward the end of this year and is therefore hoping by this threat to keep me away from the country to preempt the political work that needs to be done for the 2003 elections preparation - elections which, if free and fair, will undoubtedly lead to his defeat.

"I would like by this release to reassure all partisans of the Unity Party and all of my supporters that I am innocent of these wrongful and misleading accusations from someone who clearly is in desperation to deflect from his failures to meet the needs of the Liberian people and from the international accusations to which he is subjected by those who have the power and the means to know the truth and to have evidence thereof.

"I call upon Mr. Taylor, once again, to consider a change in the way he does things, to attempt to do more for reconciliation and the reconstruction of our country. It is not too late if he would but turn to the God whose name he uses frequently".

President Taylor has linked nearly all opposition leaders out of the country to the current fighting and a witch-hunt of suspected supporters has been launched, targeting opposition politicians, Krahns, and Mandingoes. Leading members of the Krahn ethnic group have been imprisoned while some are reported missing.