Yemi Adedeji, Abuja
After being accused of meddling in last year’s presidential elections in which its candidate suffered a bruising defeat, Liberia’s ruling Unity Party has expelled Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the country’s outgoing president.
Reuters also reported that four other party officials were also expelled, the party said in a statement on Sunday.
Sirleaf, who has been in power for 12 years, however denied the party’s allegations that she held inappropriate private meetings with election magistrates before the Oct. 10.
The statement said Johnson Sirleaf and the other members had violated rules, including a requirement to support all Unity Party candidates in elections.
“The behaviour of the expelled persons … constitutes sabotage and undermined the existence of the party,” said the statement announcing the decision, which was taken by the party’s executive committee.
Johnson Sirleaf was not allowed to run for re-election due to constitutional term limits. A split between her and Boakai burst into the open during the campaign.
George Weah, former football star defeated the Unity Party’s Joseph Boakai in a landslide, marking the first democratic transition of power in Liberia – a nation founded by freed American slaves – in over 70 years.
Weah will be sworn in later this month.