Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
This Child Will Be Great
Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Africa's First Woman President
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf 2009 Harper Collins Bvtn 921 Johnson-Sirleaf, Ellen
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (EJS) (b.1938) is 25% German, 25% Kru, and 50% Gola (Father Jahmale Johnson, raised in Monrovia) and was educated in Americo-Liberian schools, including the College of West Africa from 1948 to 1955. She married James Sirleaf at 17, and had four sons. In 1961, she studied accounting at Madison (WI) Business College and returned in 1963 as chief of the Debt Service Division of the Liberian Treasury Department. She divorced Sirleaf, and in 1969 returned to the US for a bachelors from the Economics Institute in Boulder and a master's from Harvard's JFK School of Government in 1971. She returned to Liberia to work as assistant finance minister fo president Tolbert.
- p62 Graduation address to College of West Africa "Some Fundamental Constraints to a Libertarian Society of Involved Individuals". The speech was banned, but the Tolbert's brother Steve urged acceptance.
In 1973, EJS left for DC to work in the World Bank (Barbados, Brazil, West Africa desks). She returned to the finance ministry in 1975. while Liberia spent $101 M on conference facilities for the Organization of African Unity 1979 annual summit (at that time, a cocktail party for politicians, says EJS).
In 1979, the price of rice was raised from $22 to $27 (allegedly this was to encourage local production) which caused riots. In August, EJS was appointed Finance Minister. In April 1980, Tolbert was assassinated by Samuel Doe, and EJS remained as President of the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment, but fled to the US in November 1980, returning to work for the World Bank. In 1981, she left to work for the Citibank Africa Regional office in Nairobi, Kenya. In 1985, she returned to Liberia to run for vice president under Samuel Doe, was briefly imprisoned, then returned to the US. EJS went to work for Equator Bank, a division of HSBC, in Alexandria VA. EJS worked as an assistant administrator for the United Nations from 1992 until she returned to Liberia in 1997 to run for president against Charles Taylor. She was accused of treason, and went into exile in Ivory Coast, where she worked for UN and ECOWAS intervention.
The Liberian Civil Wars between 1989 and 2003 killed 600,000 people.
Sirleaf returned to Liberia in 2003 as head of the Governance Reform Commission, then ran as the Unity Party candidate for president in 2005 against popular footballer George Weah. In the runoff, Weah went for candidate endorsements, EJS supporters held rallys and distributed T-shirts. She won 58% to 40%, and took office on January 16, 2006.
This book was published in 2009, probably written in 2008. Presuming President EJS was too busy to write a whole book, her son Rob probably wrote much of it.
Despite promises to serve only one term, EJS ran again in 2011. Her second term ends in 2018 (she will be 79 yo).
Some claim Liberia still suffers from deeply entrenched government corruption (presumably less). I am curious about what is really happening. I presume EJS is honest, but (like all human beings) she sees what she wants to see.