Liberia: ‘Ex-President Charles Taylor Has Been Converted’ – Recalled Ambassador Mohammed Sheriff

Monrovia — Recalled Liberian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Dr. Mohammed Sheriff, says his comments to the BBC about former President Charles Taylor was miscarried by local Liberian newspapers.

Speaking to VOA James Butty recently, Dr. Sheriff said his comments in reference to former President Taylor were simply in connection with reconciliation.

Mohammed Sheriff was quoted as telling the BBC that Mr. Taylor is a changed man who should be freed and allowed to return home and participate in Liberian politics.

The Liberian government has since recalled Ambassador Sheriff with immediate effect.

“I did say that former President Taylor has learned his lesson in prison; that he has been converted to understand and if he is to come out of prison today, I believe former President Taylor will not be interested in politics, not because people will demand him not to, but because he himself will not love to get engaged in local politics,” he told the VOA.

He added: “We have had other people that have been converted; they later came to Liberia and are living among the citizens peacefully.”

“Some of them have been elected to positions of trust in the national legislature, and they have performed very well and peacefully. This is how we consolidate peace in Liberia by having trust in our people.”

According to Dr. Sheriff, he has not been in contact with Taylor who is serving his 50-year prison term in the United Kingdom. However, he said he would love to visit the former President at the prison.

“I have made that request to her Majesty’s government to have paid a visit to Liberians within the jurisdiction, not only former President Taylor, but any Liberian because when you are representing citizens abroad, you do not divide; you do not separate them from good and bad. You represent Liberians holistically,” he asserted.

Ambassador Sheriff said he was dismayed when he heard that he had been permanently recalled and that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf described his behavior as “unbecoming”.

According to him, he had sent in his resignation letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs since September 11, 2017 for onward submission to President Sirleaf and was awaiting acceptance of his resignation.

“When I read in the paper that letter where the President made a strident comment about my “unbecoming behavior of a Liberian diplomat I felt very bad because I know I do not have any unbecoming behavior. May be other people who are involved in corrupt practices are considered not to have unbecoming behavior.

But people like us who advocate for her; who follow what she said in her first about corruption being enemy number, we have been portrayed, but we found out that sometimes when people want to get at you, they create false cases against you,” he told the VOA.

He added: “I don’t understand why that statement was made because to say unbecoming means it sends out so many innuendos, too many nuances, too many similarities of what it means to be unbecoming.

I know I don’t have any unbecoming. I’ve always spoken the truth and I have always on issues that are not correct. So, if by talking about corruption, by talking about issues that are not straight forward, if that is what you call unbecoming, I don’t regret it. I will continue to be unbecoming.”


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