Critics of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf continue to paddle a conviction that she stands losing her legacy at home and abroad if she fails to put her house in order in terms of addressing the most crippling issue of corruption and nepotism which are hunting her administration, but the president is looking beyond the fray of localizing her achievement. As The New Republic finds out in an interview with her, the president said those conveying such pregnancy are in the wrong.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf does not think the issue of her legacy should warrant any stir and debate amongst Liberians because she is well ahead when it comes to the record she has set for herself, not only in Liberia but the world over.
What becomes of her legacy has been so topical an issue in recent times in the wake of public outcries over her government’s handling of the affairs of the state, with some suggesting that she has already ruined her legacy forever.
But the president told this paper in an interview last weekend that the issue of her legacy is far beyond the borders of Liberia as it extends deep into all corners of the world.
“You know my personal legacy goes beyond Liberia; that one is secure. Nobody can take that one from me,” she told this paper in the interview in she delved into some of issues underpinning her administration.
As the first female democratically elected president of Liberia and Africa, the President dramatically won the prestigious Nobel Prize in 2011 on the eve of Liberia’s second post-conflict elections.
According to the president, her focus is much more about how she can manage Liberia to remain peaceful so that children have the opportunity of going to school to become better citizens.
“Nationally, I would like to see Liberia in peace; I would like to see more prosperities where most of our children are in school, most of our young people have jobs to be a people that believe in themselves, believe in their country and believe in the future of their country in which they are an important stakeholders; that’s the legacy I want to leave behind and I hope I will achieve it,” the president said.
Being a period the country was celebrating ten years of peace, the president used the occasion of the interview to plead with Liberians to appreciate their country and the efforts to get it where it is.
” Again, to all Liberians, it is being long hurls in these ten years but refresh it; we should all be pleased, we should all be proud. You know with all these diversities we have had, with all the wars and destruction we had in ten years, we have been able to hold this peace,” the Liberian leader rallied Liberians.
She said: “Many countries don’t last that long; the tradition is within seven years, a country that was at war return to conflict, but Liberia has been able to do it so we should be proud. We deserve it, we should love each other and say we are not going to let anybody disturb our peace and undermine our future.”
More than that, the president called on Liberians to be proud of being Liberians and do what they can to make Liberia rise in the place where “we can always say yes Liberia is a model, a post conflict success story.”
At the same time, the Liberian leader has expressed fear that Liberia’s young population could be manipulated and misled if the proper guideposts were not erected to guide them against indulging into acts detrimental to advancement of their country.
She has conceded that the war has caused multiple problems for the young population as they have remained unskilled and untrained in many areas, adding that urgent actions needed to taken to address the problem.
“Liberia has a very large young population and lots of the young population are unskilled, many of those who were affected by the war in which education and skill training bye-pass them, so they are vulnerable group, a group that can be misused and misled and they will remain threat until we response by giving them training, by giving them employment by making them feel that they too have a footpath in the society,” Madam Sirleaf told this paper.
“We are trying to ensure that the economy grows; that’s one way that will absorb many of the young people but you know it remains a threat; I just hope that they will continue to exercise the patience that requires for us to put that measure in place that will address their concern and response to their needs.”
When the needed measures will be taken remains a concern to the public as the president only has four years to remain at the helm of state power.