Will Liberia’s Women Support “Ma Ellen” again?

Women make up about half of the total registered voters in Liberia, according to the National Election Commission. They made up slightly more than half of voters in 2005. That is almost certainly what propelled Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to become the first woman elected president of an African nation.  Does Ma Ellen have the women’s…

The Morning After Is Only the Beginning

I knew I had to be home on October 11. Although it would mean blowing my modest student budget for a few months, I bought the cheapest ticket I could find from London to Monrovia. And despite well-intentioned warnings from those whom I love most, I came back to cast a ballot for the first…

Nobel Peace Prize winner Johnson Sirleaf runs for re-election

Just days before winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf stood on a makeshift stage at the jam-packed Antoinette Tubman Stadium in Monrovia. She launched into a rousing campaign song. Singing “Ellen’s got the Mansion Key” to cheering supporters, Johnson Sirleaf appeared confident that she would win a second term as Liberia’s…

Return to Conflict? Upcoming Elections Threaten Post-War Liberia’s Security

MONROVIA, Liberia — On a rainy August evening three days before a national referendum, white United Nations tanks rolled down Tubman Boulevard, the Liberian capital’s main road, and took up positions in front of the president’s house and the national legislature. It was a signal Liberia’s security forces and the U.N. force feared poll violence….

UN Prepares for Violence in Liberia’s poll

MONROVIA, Liberia — On a rainy August evening three days before a national referendum, white United Nations tanks rolled down Tubman Boulevard, the Liberian capital’s main road, and took up positions in front of the president’s house and the national legislature. It was a signal Liberia’s security forces and the U.N. force feared poll violence….

She Na Fini Yet ‘O: Why Ellen Is the Only Choice on October 11

There was a lot “spoiled” about Liberia in January 2006, when a woman draped in regal gold, with a glitter of hope in her eyes, took the podium, offering a promise of renewal. Monrovia roads had pot-holes the size of bomb craters, and the streets were littered with dirt and debris. Rural roads were barely…

Women lifted Ma Ellen to president in 2005. Will they do it again?

Maima Sackie has lived here in Memeh Town, a collection of mud and thatch-roof houses 30 minutes from Monrovia, for fifteen years, selling potato greens to take care of her four children. The stout 46 year-old, wearing a dark t-shirt and flowery lappa, says incumbent President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf hasn’t done enough to improve women’s…

Liberia’s elections, ritual killings and cannibalism

MONROVIA, Liberia — The pregnant woman was found dead in the shallows of Lake Shepherd. The fetus had been removed. A candidate for Liberia’s Senate and a former county attorney are among those standing trial for the 2009 murder, the latest in a long history of ritual sacrifices performed for political power in Liberia. In…