Liberians Urge Sirleaf To Fight Corruption
Liberians urged President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to do more to fight graft and poverty as she was sworn into office on Monday for a second term before regional leaders and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Johnson-Sirleaf was inaugurated in a ceremony on the lawn of the national parliament, with celebratory cannon blasts ringing out to mark the event.
Nobel laureate Johson-Sirleaf has said her main task nine years after a civil war will be shoring up peace in Liberia, increasing investment in its resources and curbing rampant youth unemployment especially among ex-child soldiers.
“We inaugurate a new beginning: a rebirth of our democracy and a restoration of hope,” Johnson-Sirleaf said, affirming that this would be her last term.
Her efforts may be boosted by her main rival Winston Tubman’s recognition of her victory in the controversial November run-off, which Tubman boycotted alleging irregularities and raising fears of a return to unrest.
Tubman was forced to flee his party headquarters in the capital on Sunday when it was besieged by dozens of supporters angry at his decision to recognise Johnson-Sirleaf’s government.
“We expect that she will live up to her promises. She promised to have a government of inclusion. She promised to bring the CDC (an opposition party) on board, but she must know that we remain a strong opposition party in Liberia,” Tubman told a news conference ahead of the inauguration.
Sirleaf faces a tough challenge of getting Liberia back on the rails in her second term, with the country still to recover from a 14-year civil war that ended in 2003.
Tensions have been running high in Liberia since the election. Late payment by the government for part-time jobs prompted thousands of youths to rampage through Monrovia on December 23, smashing the windows of parked