US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced her support of Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s re-election bid late last week. Sirleaf had previously announced that she will run for re-election in 2011, despite previously stating that she would only serve one term.
Clinton mentioned her support of Sirleaf during a meeting at the US State Department commemorating her one-year anniversary in office. She said that she “was delighted to hear that Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said she will stand for reelection. She has been one of the champions on [gender-based violence and inequality] in her political and governmental career,” according to the Analyst. Clinton’s statements are causing some Liberians to ask whether her endorsement is “an act of female solidarity” or whether it “forebode[s] the support of the Obama Administration.”
In Liberia, there have been mixed reactions to Sirleaf’s announcement. A draft report from Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission reportedly calls for banning President Sirleaf from holding public office for 30 years because she had at one time supported former rebel leader Charles Taylor. According to Voice of America News, Sirleaf has testified that she ended her support of Taylor after learning of his association with human rights abuses and was initially misled into supporting him.
Darius Dillion, an opposition politician, told Voice of America News “It is her right to contest again…Her being in the race has brought even more added value and flavor. It should be taken seriously so that those who call ourselves the opposition who want state power, we should meet the challenge.”