Source: Afrol News

Humble Beginnings:

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is the current President of Liberia and the first elected female Head of State in Africa. She was born on October 29, 1938 in Monrovia, the capital city of Liberia.

Johnson-Sirleaf graduated from the College of West Africa in Monrovia after completing a study of Accounting and Economics. At the age of seventeen (17) she got married to James Sirleaf and proceeded to the United States in the year 1961 to further her education.

She received a B.B.A. in Accounting from the Madison Business College in Wisconsin, USA in 1964, as well as an Economics diploma from the University of Colorado in 1970. Thereafter, she went on to secure a Master's degree in Public Administration from Harvard University in 1971. With these laurels in hand, Johnson-Sirleaf returned to Liberia and consequently got involved with government and politics.

Politically Inclined:

Johnson-Sirleaf began working in William Tolbert's Government and served as the Minister of Finance from 1972 to 1973. On 12 April 1980, Tolbert was overthrown and killed by Army Sergeant Samuel Kayon Doe, who undertook a purge of his government. In a narrow escape, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf went into exile in Nairobi, Kenya and served as Director of Citibank in Nairobi from 1983 to 1985.

She returned to Liberia to run for Senate in 1985 but was sentenced to ten (10) years in prison for speaking out against Samuel Doe's military regime. After a short period in prison, she was released and she headed to Washington DC where she worked in the (HSCB) Equator Bank. From 1992 to 1997 Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf worked as the Assistant Administrator, and then the Director, of the United Nations Development Program Regional Bureau for Africa.

In 1997, Johnson-Sirleaf returned to Liberia in the capacity of an economist working for the World Bank and Citibank in Africa.

Source: The Perspective

Source: The World Bank

Presidential Aspirant:

As a concerned and patriotic Liberian citizen, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf ran against Charles Taylor in the 1997 Presidential Election.

Although Charles Taylor won the election with seventy-five percent (75%) of the votes, Johnson-Sirleaf was able to garner ten percent (10%) of the total votes and emerged the candidate with the second highest number of votes.

In all, fourteen (14) candidates participated in the 1997 Presidential Election.

Despite her initial success in the 1997 Presidential Election, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was not to be thwarted.She began campaigning for the removal of Charles Taylor from office and was in effect charged with treason.

After Charles Taylor's exile in 2003, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf took over the leadership of the Unity Party. Over the period of civil unrest in Liberia, Johnson-Sirleaf played an active and supportive role in the transitional government, as the country prepared itself for the 2005 elections.


Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf:

The 2005 Liberian Presidential Election took place on October 11th, 2005. At the end of the first round of voting, Johnson-Sirleaf placed second with 175,520 votes and qualified to partake in the runoff vote against former international footballer George Menneh Weah on November 8, 2005.

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was declared the President-elect of Liberia on November 11, 2005 by the National Elections Commission. The Commission's decision was confirmed on November 23, 2005. She won the election with a margin of almost twenty percent (20%) of the total vote.

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was inaugurated as the 24th President of the Republic of Liberia, and the first female elected President in Africa.




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