The New Dawn (Monrovia)

2 December 2013

Liberia: 'I'm Back in Good Shape' - Ellen

Amid rumors here of her death, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf returned home on Friday, assuring the nation that she is in good health and physically fit to execute the job of the Liberian people.

President Sirleaf said the reception she got from citizens at places she visited on Saturday, 30 November 2013, meant that they themselves didn't believe rumors here that she had passed, saying, "Today, they were relieved to know that I'm back."

"I'm back in good shape to do those things that I was elected to do," said the President during an interview with journalists over the weekend.

"I had fun with them you know. Each person was trying to look [at] me; looking at my feet to make sure my feet [and] hands in a good place. I think it was good for the people to receive me so well in all the different areas," she noted.

Longstanding rumors here surrounding the purported death of President Sirleaf ended Friday, 29 November when the 75 years-old Liberian leader touched down at the Roberts International Airport or RIA in Margibi County at 8:20 p.m., as some of her officials and the loyalists cheered "resurrection."

Before embarking on a tour of roads and infrastructure projects earmarked for the dry seasons in Monrovia and other parts of Montserrado County on Saturday, the President had told journalists upon arrival at the RIA that when she heard rumors of her death being spread in Liberia, she thought: "Well, I just thought maybe like Jesus Christ, I would be resurrected."

At the end of a day-long tour of the city and its surroundings, President Sirleaf said she did not think biological age has anything to do with a person's stamina and strength.

Since her departure in November to attend the Arab-African summit in Kuwait and subsequent visits to other countries, speculations had abounded that the President was secretly flown out of the country due to critical health condition. During her stay out of the country, some claimed that President Sirleaf had died, while others said that she suffered a stroke after fallen off.

But after touring several communities in Monrovia, Madam Sirleaf said she was glad to be on the road to see how happy the people were to see her, "having risen from the dead."

The President, accompanied by her officials, including Public Works Minister Antoinnette Weeks and her deputies, visited the unfinished Defense Ministry where a proposed Ministerial Complex is expected to be constructed, and then moved on to Duport Road, parts of Paynesville and Brewerville, respectively.

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