‘Strong Signal’ from Ellen: ‘It’s Time for Generational Change’


As  Liberians hurdle toward the possibility of voting in the first transitional elections in 46 years, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf continuous to send a message of who she prefer to be her successor.

As Liberia’s first democratically elected female President, as well as the would-be first free former President of the nation’s post-war era, she appears to be more active in the selection of the next President of the country which she has served and led for 12 years.

In Ellen’s Liberia, it’s time for “young people”  to take over the country, and the time is now for generation change.

Few months ago, the harsh rhetoric of President Sirleaf’s response showed her annoyance when her Vice President, Amb. Joseph N.  Boakai, who is currently the Standard Bearer of the ruling Unity Party, indirectly accused her of supporting Cllr.  Charles W.  Brumskine of the Liberty Party (LP).

Ahead of the campaign rally of Vice President Joseph Boakai last week, she announced that she would not attend.

Barely a week later, on Thursday, September 22, in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, President Sirleaf, in her true political wit, sent a clear message to Liberian voters in respect to the generation presidential race on October 10‘s election, of which 20 candidates are contesting.

“I’m sending a strong signal; not only should we respect the Constitution and the law, but l also say it’s time for generational change.”

“We have young people that are vying for leadership, that have the capacity, that have the passion and the capability and it’s time for them to take over and we’ve got to make way for them.”

“If we are going to practice democracy which we all want to do and we all strive for do, that we’ve got to do it by example,” President Sirleaf said.

Amanpour’s broad treatment of the question gave the President, who avoided mentioning Amb. Boakai by name, an equally broad frame of reference in her response. Yet, political pundits believed her criticism was aimed at the Amb. Boakai, who is currently 75 years old— the oldest  candidate in the race.

Vice President Joseph Boakai, 75, is the oldest candidate in Liberia’s presidential race.

Her call for young leadership renews doubts over her support for the presidential bid of her vice president Boakai, who has also been her long and trusted friend.

Meanwhile, in South Africa, former finance minister Trevor Manuel a day before President Sirleaf ‘s interview told South Africans at the Stellenbosch University (SU) to vote for younger President.

Manuel, who was at the university museum to speak about the role of students as active citizens, agreed with an audience member expressing concern over the age of leadership within the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

“I don’t understand it. One of the reasons I stepped out of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANC voluntarily [is because] I’d served for 21 years in the NEC and I said I can’t continue to serve, I mustn’t hang onto this position with white knuckles,” Manuel said.

President Jacob Zuma, like Mr. Boakai, is 75 years of age.

Manuel compared South Africa to the United States of America, saying the country managed to elect president Barack Obama while he was still in his 40s.

He said the ANC “has got to bring through a generation of people who want to be there and will be active and say to other people: you served us well, become part of a general reservoir of information and knowledge and a sounding board for what we do, but don’t sit in the chairs of those who need to be there”.

Manuel, however, acknowledged that his views about making space for younger leaders are held by a minority of ANC members.


  • I am a Liberian journalist, born November 7 and hailed from the Southeast and of the kru tribe. I began contributing to the Daily Observer 2008 and was fully employed in 2012. I am the 3rd of eight children and named after my great grandfather. Am happily married with three children (girls). I am a full member of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) and also the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL) and the Legislative Press Pool (LEGISPOL). I can be contacted through email: [email protected] or cell number/WhatsApp: (+231) 0886585875 or Facebook.


  1. While it may sound right for a generational change, the same ideals Mr. Baccus Matthew and others well meaning Liberians fought and died for, the same ideals that Natives Liberians have been denied for decades, is now suitable for Ellen to spill out at the depart of her departure. The million dollars question is not in words but in deeds: if there must be a generational change, please tell us, after twelve years in power, what have you done to prepare the generation for change madam Johnson? As students from 1984 we stuck our necks out for you; even though you engineered the war that kill us and mimed us and destroyed our country, you managed to become president for twelve good years – though you have nothing to show for it, yet you have the guts to spill a generational change garbage? Don’t you have shame? Is it because you just don’t your VP and wand to deny him of succeeding you, that is while you have the audacity to pull a page don’t form your propaganda book to polarize us with your generational change nonsense? For twelve years, there is no electricity, no save drinking water, no jobs, no good schools, etc., yet you talk about generational change? We don’t need you to tell us, since 1822 we have known this and this we must seek by blood and sweat, whether you say it or not, it must come about no matter how long it takes, as long as we have breath in our bodies, the seed Baccus and other planted, that our blood have watered, will surely germinate in God’s time!

  2. Is this an admission or endorsement of a new crop of leadership for Liberia that is youthful and energetic, and would take the country into the next decade? Even if we infer that the Madam’s advocacy for generational change is an attempt to undercut one or several of the candidates vying for the presidency, one cannot help but acknowledge the indisputable fact that the demographics of the country as reported by the Office of Geo-statistics, has estimated that 65% percent of the country is below 35 years of age; hence, the clamoring for such a change!

    • And then, Senator Geraldine Doe Sherrif tells the world that “Ellen supports Boakai BIG TIME!!!” Juxtaposing Geraldineś conviction viz Ellenś support for Boakai with that of Ellenś conviction and fight for “generational change,” one wonders as to:

      (1) whether this “big time support” is based on a certain political theory or:

      (2) it is simply one of those instances of the phenomenon of phagocytosis(phagocytose), where the incumbent ingests the opposition politician so controllingly that the ingested opposition politician turned incumbent politician, partisan or loyalist, becomes a fanatic. As it:

      (3) happened in the case of Eugene Nagbe a former opposition politician when he went publicly assaulting and insulting journalists on the premises of the Capitol for reporting on the incumbent President.

  3. What happened when the the so called many young and vibrant men and women flooded to Liberia to serve in the Sirleaf Administration? You bet! Some became “PLAYBOYS and THIEVES”. Many have since return to the USA with their “STOLEN LOOTS”; bought themselves expensive homes and are cruising around in LUXURIES… Age has nothing to do with an effective leadership. Ronald Reagan was one of the U.S’ oldest Presidents; yet he was one of the most active and effective Presidents. *Most “BUMPS and PLAYBOYS” are younger people. Let DEMOCRACY prevails. J.NYUMAH BOAKAI’S is a man of the People for the People by the People. Give him his “FAIR CHANCE”

    • Yes Ronald Regan is considered o. Of the greatest American presidents. If you take a look at old forge and do your research. You will ralize in his final term Nancy Regan stayed close by because he had dementia. He was showing signs of forgetfulness. Let’s be real weren’t people saying that Bernie Sanders was too old to be president of America . In addtion people also had a problem with Hillary Clinton and generational rule. Just saying!

    • I fully agree with you Henry. She should have shown her sincerity about this by not contesting in 2011. Boakai also believe in the generational change but he is more positive about it in that he has taken a younger person as his running mate whom he can groom. Hats off to JNB.

  4. Boakai Joseph is too old for a country like Liberia. The demands of the presidency is no joke. Unless he’s only trying to give Liberians another period of wasted years.

  5. The President is just to be an ordinary. If she prefers her own legacy, she should have her right to adjust her factual feelings. If you see some sense in an opinion. Better tick. The generation to come is near and coming to vote and abstain.
    Gone to the Liberian people in silence.

  6. Comment:Very well, the comments coming from President Sirleaf are antidemocratic and counterproductive so to speak. Madam Sirleaf should leave the Liberian people alone to decide their next leaders. Her comments now have clearly exposed she insincerity, biases and partiality toward her loyal Vice President. You have clearly proven to the Liberian people that your style of leadership is something no one should follow. Let me inform you, Madam President, whether you support Joe Boakai or not, the Liberian people will vote him come October 10, 2017. Finally, we the young people of Liberia do not subscribe to this ideology; so, please leave us alone as we are thinking, Loving and Building Liberia.

  7. How ironic will this Madam President Johnson to even think about generation change when she did not step down after her term at the age of 72.
    Madam President are a deceitful human being President i have ever known. Anybody can note me to get

  8. How ironic will this Madam President Johnson to even think about generation change when she did not step down after her term at the age of 72.
    Madam President you are a deceitful human being President i have ever known. Anybody can note me to get

  9. I am absolutely surprised at behavior of this president. Why didn’t you step down at end of your first term of office? But your diabolical and satanic plan against Hon. Joseph Boakai will not succeed. Is this the kind of reward you have in store for him? Da generational change we will eat? Oldma go and sat down . It is Joseph Boakai time to lead this nation. Now come to believe all that I have heard and read about your wicked plans against this quiet, intelligent and humble who served you so honestly and diligently. LIBERIA does not belong to you to dictate who should be elected. It is the responsibility of the Liberian people to elect either old or young leader.

  10. It is absolutely up to the Liberian people to decide whom to elect. This suggestion undermines Vice president Joseph N.Boakai intention to contest the forth coming elections. We will vote for him comes October 10, 2017. He is strong and energetic for the task ahead.

  11. It’s laughable to see these same very guys who were cheering the madam yesterday are now castingating her simply because she making some Revelation that seems not to favor them. They have forgotten about all that happened in 2005 and 2011 when Said that there some manupulation in those elections and they said we were crazy but thank God they are becoming mad.

  12. Barnabas, those who the gods want to punish, they first make mad. So the hosanna cheerleaders of yesterday, now going mad is no surprise! For it is written that the victory of evil or falsehood over good or truth is temporal; for in time THE TRUTH REARS ITS HEAD!

  13. How come the same very President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf allowed herself to run in 2005 and 2011 when she was already old and in her 70’s but wants to ban VP Boakai from running because he is in his 70’s? Is this any different than a disguised manifestation of the longstanding practice of the Congua vs Native divide and rule politics in Liberia? Haven’t there been loud outcries that the politics of Congua vs Native divide and rule is not true or real? So, only an old TWP Congua person (Ellen) is qualified to rule Liberia but not a native son of the soil? Wow!These people think people are stupid here?

    • James Larsah, in 2005 Ellen was 66. Six years after experimentation and observation, she became convinced that generational change is good for Liberia. Boakai is too old for contemporary Liberia presidential task. Besides, Ellen IS GOLA AND NOT CONGAU. The expected winner of the presidential election George Weah IS NOT Congau, In fact, nearly all of the 20 presidential candidates are not Congau. That is only three or four are Congau. THE ETHNIC CARD CANNOT PREVENT THIS REVOLUTIONARY GENERATIONAL CHANGE. Boakaiś retirement is now a foregone conclusion! AND HE KNOWS IT!

  14. How come the same very President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf allowed herself to run in 2005 and 2011 when she was already old and in her 70’s but wants to ban VP Boakai from running because he is in his 70’s? Is this any different than a disguised manifestation of the longstanding practice of the Congua vs Native divide and rule politics in Liberia? Do Liberia actually needs a generational change or system change – change from a corrupt, nepotistic and warlord-dominated system to an accountable, transparent and people-centered system? Haven’t there been loud outcries that the politics of Congua vs Native divide and rule is not true or real? So, only an old TWP Congua person (Ellen) is qualified to rule Liberia but not a native son of the soil? Wow! Do this TWP oligarchs think the people are stupid here?

  15. Please watch the video before you react or conclude. The president’s comment may have been a broad reference to the need for the inclusion of young people in the political process. I did not interpret it as her not endorsing VP Boakai. However we will see if this assumption is true if she directly says so in the near future.

  16. Ellen please sit and watch the Liberian people choose their leader. Please, we ask God the father to talk to you. Your time is now over. This is not your govt, of nepotism.

  17. After your finished looting the country and messed it up is time for generational change. We had young Liberians qualified to work but some of them were told to gave their ass for jobs. Many qualified Liberians even appeared in the news to prove what was going on still we ain’t heard nothing from gov’t. I don’t blame your but the same people who put your there.

  18. My Liberian People:

    Over the last two decades, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has fought and still fighting to demograph a very long lasting and unstable ratings of the poor Liberian population.

    Ellen over the years developed a rebelous tendency not to allow experienced individuals to meaningfully contribute to nation building, if it is not her way. I vividly remembered when she was at the finance ministry as minister coupled with her unceremonious and rebelous departure under Late President William R. Tolbert, Jr., followed by persistent disagreements with other Presidents.

    I also recorded her preparations in reducing the population of the Republic of Liberia, inorder to become President by the deadly insurgency, commencing before 1989, that killed most of our educated fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, you just go on naming and by the mass infestation of deadly weapons in the Liberian territory. We all should never forget but remember the total denial of education, health care, protection among other rights. That GENERATION was drastically reduced during the 15 year war. Today, there are individuals, over thirty years of age, still in high schools.

    Now, with this brief summary of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ‘s characteristics, she has crafted another avenue to infest a long instability in the country by her SO-CALLED “GENERATIONAL CHANGE”. My people, please be smart. The intent is SATANIC.


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