13 December 2012

Liberia: 'I'm Disappointed' - Laymah Gbowee Vents Frustrations

Photo: Leymah Gbowee
Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee.

Liberia's Nobel Peace Laureate, Laymah Gbowee, has expressed disappointment in the manner and form President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is steering the affairs of State.

"If you ask me whether I am disappointed, my answer is indeed, I am very disappointed in our President, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for the manner and form she's steering the affairs of the country."

"Beware, Madam Johnson Sirleaf criticized past administration, including William Tolbert on nepotism and corruption; she also bad mouthed slain President Samuel Doe for corruption; in fact, she referred to him as 'idiot' and Charles Taylor; those things she considered at that time as form of bad governance to surprisingly see her engaged in those things, it worth disappointment. And I'm also disappointed in my very self for being silent for long time," she said in local radio show recently in Monrovia.

Madam Gbowee, who won the Nobel Peace Prize alongside the Liberian leader, indicated that she fully supported Madam Sirleaf in both her first and second presidential bid with the hope that she would have transformed the nation for the betterment.

She added that, but unfortunately, the President appears to be trending the path of the past leaders that she once criticized and condemned.

Commenting on President Sirleaf's recent description of her (Laymah) as 'too young to criticize' Madam Gbowee noted that the President could be right, but added she is not too young to know what is right or wrong. On October 8, 2012, Madam Gbowee resigned her post as head of the nation's reconciliation commission.

Speaking during the launch and promotion of the French edition of her book; "Mighty Be Our Powers" in Paris, France, Laymah attributed her decision to three major reasons: corruption, nepotism and lack of political will by President Sirleaf and her administration to promote national reconciliation.

According to her, the President has done little to tackle corruption, wondering as to 'what has really changed in Liberia'. She noted that the gap between the rich and poor in Liberia continues to grow, emphasizing "you are either rich or dirt poor, and there's no middle class."

She further criticized the President, her one-time friend and god-mother, for not doing enough to ease poverty, noting "In her first term, she developed infrastructure; but what good is infrastructure if people don't have enough to eat?"

On the issue of nepotism, the 2011 Nobel laureate accused the President of appointing her relatives, including her sons to lucrative positions in her administration.

For example, she named Charles, Robert and Fumbah Sirleafs as some of those closed relatives holding positions such as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Senior Advisor and Chairman of the Board of the National Oil Company of Liberia, as well as Director of the National Security Agency, respectively.

Laymah frowned at President Sirleaf for failing to promote the spirit of national reconciliation, stressing that much progress is yet to be made by the President in healing the nation, adding that in view of the foregoing, she stood guilty to continue in the government and saw her resignation as the best way out.

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