Ellen: ‘I’ll Retire Gracefully, Remain Active in Society’

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President Ellen Johnson Sirelaf

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says cannot wait to see the end of the current electoral impasse and to see the runoff held so she may retire. In a conversation with LBS director general Ledgerhood Rennie on the Bumper Show yesterday, President Sirleaf said she hope to retire honorably and be active in private life in the interest of Liberia and Africa.

“I need to retire gracefully,” she responded to her host as she laid down her post presidency plan.

Addressing a wide range of issues, including completed, ongoing and earmarked projects, she said Liberians will miss her for her resolve to get the country’s broken system and infrastructure on the right trajectory.

“The liberties (freedom of speech, press, etc.) I have allowed and the construction of roads, as well as the improvement of the living standards of my fellow citizens through job creation, will make up my legacy,” she noted.

Touching on projects, she said the new terminal at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) will have an initial dedication in December while the official dedication will take place in 2018 under the new administration. “The runway of the airport has been worked on and there is relief. We hope that more will be done before we step down,” Sirleaf assured.

“When we came into office we promised small lights today and big lights tomorrow. Therefore, we have built the Mount Coffee Power Plant and it is now serving our people. I am told that there are hundreds of connections every day in and around Monrovia,” she said.

Madam Sirleaf said electricity is now available for most of the southeast of the country, namely Grand Gedeh, River Gee and Maryland counties, as well as Ganta in Nimba County.

“One of the challenges we are faced with is power theft. People are tapping on the power system by illegally having access to it without doing the right thing,” she noted, adding that the electricity project intended to connect Monrovia to Bomi and Monrovia to Harbel is underway, too.

The outgoing president said inasmuch as there were challenges over the years, the Monrovia to Ganta highway and many other road networks have been built and the construction of others are expected to get underway soon. “The Gbarnga to Mendekorma road, which is estimated at US$300 million, will kick off soon as preparations are already on the verge of completion,” she assured.

“I did not promise to do everything in a short period of time or even in my full years of work at the presidency but I believe that we have achieved a lot more in building roads in the country than all the governments combined before me,” she boasted.

About media reports portraying her as an ugly person, she said it is unfortunate that many people don’t understand what they read in the newspapers or hear on the radio. “I hope that people will understand what patriotism and nationalism are. We need to love our own and refrain from denigrating our leaders and the systems that hold us together as a country.

“I welcome and respect professional criticism but a lot of our media outlets are so provocative. My own friend Kenneth Best has been and is still even writing tough editorials and publishing stories in his paper that are provocative, but I don’t have anything against him, neither anyone else for what they are giving out there to the public in the form of news. He is a person of his own kind and lives in his own nook,” she noted.

Sirleaf challenged Liberians with facts about the allegation that she has a hospital in South Africa. “It is so funny that our people don’t know how South Africa as a country functions. It is a lie and it cannot be proven by anyone,” Sirleaf challenged.

She pointed out that after turning power over to the next elected president she hopes to stay in the country and work to help build it. “People think I have so much money because I have become president, but this is not true. I was a Board Member of a financial corporation in the Diaspora for over thirty years. I have earned something for myself over the years as I served integrity institutions before 2006. Why then should somebody think that I have so much money because I am a president? In fact, I need to work for money and continue to make a living after the presidency,” she said.

Discussing challenges that stalled Liberia’s development in some aspects, she pointed out that the global economic challenges, which in most cases have led to the dropping of prices of the world’s natural resources such as rubber, iron ore, diamond, and gold, are responsible for the slow pace of development. “Ebola came and challenged us as a people. We lost our loved ones but we stood firmly together and defeated it in a limited time (for) what many thought of us as a country,” Sirleaf said.

She expressed satisfaction in Liberian women’s resolve not to be backbenchers anymore in decision making and are working for the common good of Liberia. “After me as one in the capacity of a president, it may seem a far distant thing for another woman but one thing I am sure of is that there are women in the queue already who are demonstrating their preparedness to serve in many areas of national leadership.

“I pray that as Rwanda has the highest number of women representation at the parliament so one day we will get there. I have the hope and confidence in the women of Africa to rise above all odds and support their male counterparts in building countries on our continent,” she said. Rwanda is the only African country in the world that has sixty percent female lawmakers in parliament.

Meanwhile, President Sirleaf remained tight-lipped on the current electoral dispute hearings and court proceedings. She said the justice system should be left alone to do its job.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. An open challenge. Those of you who have said over the years that President Sirleaf built a hospital in South Africa, prove it. Why will someone come from Liberia and built a hospital in South Africa. These are some of the lies by Liberian people.
    Some Liberian say International Communities and the United States of America will not support the presidency of Ambassador Weah, another blatant lie. I like documentary evidence on issues before I can really believe it especially national issues. Liberian people stop the lies.

  2. The silent majority at this point, until newly elected Presidential win is announced, awaits a smooth transfer. Whether the supreme jurisprudence decided requires a re-run ( 20 aspirants involved ) or run-off (2 campaigns left), Liberia will no longer have an electoral constitutional dispute dominated by one branch. Each branch of Government now has its own digger. Each will stay within the limits of its function to enable the freedom of choice given to Liberians under God. Only Liberians as a people can propel this extraordinary achievement. Go about your peaceful life. Let the people know. No Christmas gifts from me until I hear we have a new factual President, no matter who. Liberians themselves must decide their own destiny.
    Gone to 57% in silence. Do not reply this box.

  3. The Executive digger is standing by in peace. The funds to be encumbered, are ready, enough, ballots planted and accessories, transports with protection at all precincts all for action on Liberians constitutional time. Tell the Republic of Liberia. Gone in silence too. Do Not answer this box
    Gone in silence.

  4. Sirleaf go away, the trouble you and Taylor caused Liberia more than solution your provided, l hope you share cell with Taylor in the near future which is possible Madame war sponsor. Just pack your bags and leave.

    • K.K; how ever you look/put it; no other President/administration before Lady Sirleaf afforded Liberians such franchise to freely express themselves. Show me/us one. Lady Sirleaf is surely not leaving Liberia in the same state as when she first took office. You may critize. That’s your right. However, where/when due, let’s give CREDIT. I should remind you. No one or for that matter administration is perfect. President Sirleaf have already made it cleared. Don’t forget to take all the variables into consideration…

  5. Johnson-Sirleaf hopes to retire gracefully. Politically, it’s the right thing to do. Retiring without bullets flying over head is something that Johnson-Sirleaf’s predecessors should have done since the beginning of the republic in 1847.
    The Americo-Liberian leaders who preceded Johnson-Sirleaf were preoccupied with one official thought; To preserve the presidency and the economic institutions of the country at the expense of the majority. Such a way of life on the part of the Americo-Liberian leaders was a drag on the country for a very long time. Thanks be to God! Time has changed and continues to change.

    In order for Johnson-Sirleaf to be hopeful in terms of a graceful retirement, she must work harder to clear the thick smoke that hangs in her immediate environment. It’s been rumored that Johnson-Sirleaf worked a mysterious deal with CDC’s George Weah. The rumor persists irrespective of how Weah or his acolytes try their level best to quash it straight to hell. There’s a school of thought that maintains the view that Johnson-Sirleaf hasn’t said a whole lot to clear the smoke. Then there is the Korkoya invitation prior to October 10. Now, what was that all about? The full details of such an invite continues to create more smoke then ever before. As Johnson-Sirleaf prays for a graceful retirement, we wish her well. But, the stench of smoke that follows her permeates the air profusely. She must do more to exonerate herself before her retirement.

    • F. Hney; thanks! Well said/written. Lady Sirleaf made an error of judgment. She should have steered clear of Liberia’s Elections Commission; especially so, on the eve of National Elections. Part of the blame lies with J.G. Korkoya, he’s a LAWYER, I suppose. He should should have decline any [such] invitation to have a private audience with a sitting President; just before elections. What ever explanations they may give for the purpose of that meeting between EJS and Korkoya, people are suspecious. It’s now widely assumed that “The Elections Commission” was given special instructions. An election commission should be INDEPENDENT; in the best interest of the Nation/People.

  6. Strong headwinds are currently behind EJS’s sails, and regardless of which party – UP or CDC – wins in the “second round”, there would be a democratic transfer of power to burnish her domestic policy therefore her legacy. This is huge. We, however, suggest that she takes a much – needed vacation instead of sticking around. Her presence could be misconstrued as helicopter parenting of the country, or, worse, ruling it by remote control through whosoever is elected.

    EJS has a lot to offer as a roving ambassador based outside Liberia, and she should think about that.

    Her jab at her friend, Mr. Kenneth Best, is a low blow. He went to bat for her and UP all the way; even to the extent of losing his objectivity and credibility. Kenneth is a patriot first; a journalist second; her friend third; and to expect him to give up the two seemed unreasonable. Like “Washington Post” and “New York Times”, our own “Daily Observer” is a family business, whose primary business is to hold government accountable, not to be its mouth piece. Needless to say that newspapers desire legacies too; especially ones that will go to a “younger generation” – children.

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