Heritage (Monrovia)

27 December 2012

Liberia: No Desire to Run for Political Office Now - Says Laureate Gbowee

Liberian Nobel Laureate, Leymah Roberta Gbowee, has said that she has no immediate desire to run for any political office in her land of nativity-Liberia. In a Christmas Eve Voice of America (VOA) interview, the 2011 joint Nobel Peace Prize winner indicated that although she loves politics, she has no immediate desire to run for political office in Liberia.

Madam Gbowee, in 2011 emerged joint Nobel Peace Prize winner with fellow Liberian, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Yemeni Peace activist, Tawakkul Karman, for what the Norwegian Nobel Committee called an honor "for their nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work."

Said Laureate Gbowee: "Let me say one thing, my life has always been one of giving back. I tell people I'm a Liberian and I have the right to decide if I want to go into politics." However, the Nobel Laureate, who is also a social worker, was quick to register that: "But one of the things that I can say to you, very clearly, you will not see my name on any ballot paper any time soon."

Madam Gbowee's assertions come on the heels of recent criticisms from critics of the Nobel Laureate, who have accused her of being ambitious of state power.

Recently, several critics of Madam Gbowee, mostly females, lambasted the Nobel Laureate for what they called her [LeymahGbowee] unfair utterances against President Johnson-Sirleaf, adding among other things that Madam Gbowee was criticizing the Liberian leader to gain prominence for a possible run for political office.

While in Paris, France more than two months ago promoting the French edition of her book, "Mighty Be Our Powers", Nobel Laureate Gbowee resigned as chair of the nation's peace and reconciliation initiative; on grounds that the Johnson-Sirleaf led government has made no sufficient progress in promoting reconciliation, also blaming the Johnson-Sirleaf administration of not only condoning corruption but also of practicing nepotism.

Madam Gbowee , who stated that she stands guilty of betraying the people's trust by working in a government that is guilty of closing its eyes to corruption in high places, views her resignation as an act of forgiveness from a raging conspiracy that President Sirleaf has awarded "lucrative jobs" to her sons in a blatant act of nepotism.

She lamented that the president's appointment of one of her sons, Charles, as central bank deputy governor, another (Fumba) as head of the National Security Agency, and the third (Robert) as senior adviser and chairman of the state-owned National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) was unacceptable.

Regarding President Johnson-Sirleaf's son Robert Sirleaf, Nobel Laureate Gbowee averred: "This is wrong and I think it is time for her to put him aside." "He's a senior economic adviser and that's well and good - but to chair the oil company board - I think it's time he stepped aside."

Said Laureate Gbowee: "I've been through a process of really thinking and reflecting and saying to myself 'you're as bad as being an accomplice for things that are happening in the country if you don't speak up." "And when tomorrow history is judging us all let it be known that we spoke up and we didn't just sit down."

She acknowledged that the Johnson-Sirleaf led government has done a good job in rehabilitating the country's infrastructure, but was quick in pointing out that the rehabilitation of the country's infrastructure was not good enough for a country in which poverty was fast determining the social status of most Liberians.

Listen to Madam Gbowee: "What good is infrastructure if people don't have enough to eat?" "In her [President Johnson-Sirleaf] first term she developed infrastructure. But what good is infrastructure if people don't have enough to eat? Development in a land of hungry, angry people is nothing. The gap between the rich and poor is growing. You are either rich or dirt poor, there's no middle class."

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