MONROVIA, Liberia – Although she won the Nobel Peace Prize, this might be enough to persuade voters to re-elect of Liberia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
The 72-year-old Harvard-educated leader from a rare paradox: its is celebrated and her star continues to shine in the world, even if in her country, her popularity was overshadowed by critics who denounce its failure to reduce poverty. In Liberia, the unemployment rate reached 80 percent of the population.
According to one of 15 candidates, Charles Brumskine, Liberians have nothing to do since the Nobel-thirds of them are unable to feed themselves.
Candidates of 60 years believes there is a real gap between what happens abroad and how it is perceived in the country. He even believes that the Nobel laureate would be lucky if she got 10 percent of the vote in elections.
Five years ago, Ms. Sirleaf inherited one of the states most torn social fabric had been irreparably damaged after 14 years of civil war that has left cemeteries throughout the country.
But the president managed to erase the country’s international debt of $ 5 billion, allowing Liberia to obtain a sovereign credit rating, a prerequisite for issuing bonds. Her government built clinics, schools and roads, but opponents argue that it has not done enough. And despite the deep scars left by civil war, she credits the maintenance of peace.
Friday in Oslo, the Nobel Prize committee awarded her and two other activists, the Nobel Prize for Peace for her nonviolent struggle to ensure women’s safety.
Even those supporting Sirleaf argued that the problem is that her accomplishments are mostly intangible and that Liberia is still very poor.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected in 2005, becoming the first African woman to be elected democratically. She defeated the soccer player George Weah, who came second because of her lack of education.
In addition, many denounced the alleged role Sirleaf in the civil war. Before the commission for reconciliation in the country, she admitted having given money to the warlord, Charles Taylor, whose rebels invaded the country in 1989. However, she claimed to have stopped the fund when its ruthless techniques were revealed in the open.