News / Africa

Liberian President Begins Second Term

Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf sits at a ceremony to mark her second presidential inauguration at the Capitol in Monrovia, Liberia, January 16, 2012.
Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf sits at a ceremony to mark her second presidential inauguration at the Capitol in Monrovia, Liberia, January 16, 2012.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has taken the oath of office for a second term, promising more reconstruction and reconciliation in a country still recovering from a long civil war.

President Sirleaf's supporters cheered her second inauguration Monday on the grounds of Liberia's capitol in Monrovia, as the Nobel Peace Prize winner called for a restoration of hope after years of division and conflict.

“Today, we can state with conviction that our country has turned the corner," she said. "Liberia is no longer a place of conflict, war, and deprivation. We are no longer the country our citizens want to run away from, our international partners pity, and our neighbors fear. We have earned our rightful place as a beacon of democracy."

Sirleaf was re-elected late last year in a vote marred by violence and an opposition boycott of the second-round run-off over allegations of electoral fraud. She called this second post-war election more critical than the first, explaining that it establishes a routine of democracy for subsequent elections.

"The first takes place on the world stage in the spotlight with great fanfare," she said. "But the second election is the true test of the will of the people and the institutions they have created."

Challenges remain despite accomplishments

Widely credited with building roads and improving infrastructure during her first term, Sirleaf's efforts to reconcile Liberia's deep divisions have been less successful. Emphasizing national unity as a second-term priority, she welcomed her opponent in last year's vote, former justice minister Winston Tubman, who sat in the first row of the audience on the capitol grounds, his party having canceled plans to boycott the ceremony.

Sirleaf said her plans for reconciliation are based on economic justice.

"The cleavages that led to decades of war still run deep, but so, too, does the longing for reconciliation -- a reconciliation defined not by political bargaining or by an artificial balance of power by tribe, region, religion or ethnicity, but by the equality of opportunity and a better future for all Liberians," she said.

Sirleaf supporter Eric Monger said the president is better prepared for a second term.

"Looking at what she has done for the country the past six years, I think the second term she will do much better because now she has already laid the foundation," said Monger. "The implementation has started already."

Voter Solomon Weah backs the opposition Congress for Democratic Change party and believes Sirleaf lacks the electoral mandate to soothe Liberia's divisions.

"The re-election of President Sirleaf will not be able to reunify Liberians," he said. "At the moment, we are still divided after the election. We still feel that President Sirleaf hijacked the elections. Her government is not legitimate. And with that, I don't see how she can be able to reunify Liberians."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attended Monday's inauguration along with heads of state from Benin, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Guinea. Secretary Clinton praised President Sirleaf's moves to reach out to political opponents.

Citing her own party primary loss to President Barack Obama in 2008, Clinton said there has to be recognition that, in elections, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Yet, she said, she agreed to work with the person who defeated her, because patriotism means putting the common good before personal and political interests.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid