Liberian president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf told the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) that she leave the west African country safe and secured after 10 years at the helm.
Sirleaf exits the presidency after elections in October 2017 picks her successor. Her address on day 1 of the 72nd UNGA was her last as president of Liberia.
She reserved praise for the U.N. for their efforts geared towards rebuilding a country scarred by conflict and strife. She said democracy was on the move back home.
The [legislative and presidential polls] will mark the first time in 73 years that political power will be handed over peacefully, and democratically, from one elected leader to another.
“Liberia is a post conflict success story. It is your post conflict success story,” she said to applause. “Liberia’s transformation was powered by a world community that made a shared commitment to deliver peace to a country, and a subregion, beset by civil conflict and cross border destabilization,” she further stressed.
Addressing her exit and the upcoming general elections she noted: “The [legislative and presidential polls] will mark the first time in 73 years that political power will be handed over peacefully, and democratically, from one elected leader to another,” she said, adding: Democracy is on the march in Liberia and, I believe, on an irreversible path forward on the African continent.”
As the first female president of sub-Saharan Africa, Sirleaf , 78, has led the west African nation since 2006, she is in the last days of her second straight term. She has been a regular attendee at the UNGA.
She took over the country at the end of the civil war that saw former leader, Charles Taylor, jailed by an international court for war crimes. She is credited with returning the country to stability over the last decade.
Sirleaf has overseen a rising economy that was badly hit by the outbreak of Ebola years ago. Her critics accuse her of shielding corrupt officials and also of engaging in nepotism. She received Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts in Liberia’s return to peace.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Addresses the 72nd UNGA – Sept. 19, 2017 https://t.co/M1NXg4tXlr— Pawala Janyan (@paywalajanyan) September 19, 2017