MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's son, who is running for a Senate seat, has filed a lawsuit contesting her Ebola-related ban on political rallies, an official said Monday.
While Liberia is the country most affected by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, infection rates are stabilizing there, and the government has decided to go ahead with the Dec. 16 election. Police initially agreed to allow political rallies and gatherings in the run-up to the vote, which had previously been postponed.
Last week the president issued a ban on all gatherings in the capital, citing fears they could help spread Ebola. There were concerns the president was using Ebola as an excuse and imposed the ban because large crowds gathered in support of her son's opponent.
Robert Sirleaf, who is running for a seat in the Monrovia area, has now filed a suit, asking for the ban to be lifted. The Supreme Court put a stay on the ban until it can hear the suit, Information Minister Lewis Brown said on state radio Monday. The case is scheduled to be taken up this week, he said.
Robert Sirleaf's opponent, soccer legend George Weah, also opposes the ban.
Critics of Robert Sirleaf say his suit is merely a show of distancing himself from his mother, who has been accused of nepotism for giving him plum government posts in the past. Robert Sirleaf has served as chairman of the board of the National Oil Company of Liberia and as a senior adviser to the president. He has since resigned both posts.