President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf | Liberia's Best Hope

Beyond the Veil| At 71, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia and the first woman ever elected head of state in Africa, has announced that she will run for a second term. She is likely to compete again with Liberian soccer star, George Weah as well as an ex-rebel commander named Prince Yormie Johnson.

In a New York Times magazine profile of Sirleaf, she credits her now legendary strength in running war-torn Liberia to having survived a violently abusive husband. President Sirleaf believes that women make better leaders.

“Women are more committed,” she said, as we rode past one of the Monrovia neighborhoods that has recently regained public electricity, after Sirleaf’s administration started mending the capital’s electrical grid that was damaged by the war’s ravages. The rest of the city relies on private generators, with most of the cratered streets pitch dark at night. “Women work harder,” she continued. “And women are more honest; they have less reasons to be corrupt. They don’t have so many diversions. Men have more than one wife; they have their concubines. We have polygamy here, not polyandry.” She laughed quietly at her pointed logic. via New York Times

In what is a first that we remember from a New York Times magazine article, author Daniel Bergner weaves the realities of women’s lives in Liberia, the daily struggle for Liberian women to get any respect, into the details of President Sirleaf’s presidency and personal history, and Liberia’s problems. 

In the past, the politically correct ‘neutral’ editorial policy would not have permitted what is a damning assertion about male leadership in Africa. Interesting.