By Ty McCormick
She won the Nobel Peace Prize and steered her country through the Ebola crisis. But the Liberian president’s proudest achievement will be peacefully giving up power.
She was the first woman in Africa elected to lead a government and the second to win a Nobel Peace Prize. But Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is most proud of the fact that next year she’ll be the only ex-president of Liberia enjoying a normal retirement. “That hasn’t happened to us in so many years,” she told Foreign Policy in a recent interview in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
The record for retired Liberian leaders is grim. Charles Taylor is serving a 50-year sentence in Britain for atrocities committed in neighboring Sierra Leone, while Samuel Doe, Taylor’s predecessor, was tortured and decapitated on camera during Liberia’s bloody 1989-2003 civil war. Before that, President William R. Tolbert Jr. was disemboweled in his bed during the coup that brought Doe to power. (The most promising precedent is probably Moses Blah, who served as a placeholder president for just two months in 2003 and lived out his last days in Liberia before dying of natural causes in 2013.)
SOURCES: News Now/Foreign Policy Online Magazine