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  Political Headlines

Ellen Takes Bold Step; Apologizing for Comment

Philadelphia, Pa. April 24, 2005. Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, The Unity Party presidential candidate in the October 2005 elections met with cross-section of Liberians on Saturday, April 23, 2005 to speak about her vision of post-war Liberia. Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf until recently headed the Governance Reform Commission setup in the framework of the Accra Peace Accord. After speaking about the current state of affairs in the country, the Unity Party candidate touched on the many ills that have impeded the development of the country.

Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf used the occasion to speak candidly about certain comments attributed to her during the civil war and went on to apologize to the Liberian people. These were statements she is reported to have made in a BBC radio interview in 1990 as battles waged around Monrovia between government forces, loyal to then President Samuel Kanyon Doe and forces of former rebel leader, Charles Taylor for control of the capital. Mrs. Sirleaf described as "stupid" the comments she made in her response to a question Robin White asked her in an interview 15-years ago. In her recollection, the BBC journalist had said to her: "Taylor's forces are shelling the mansion; Doe is refusing to leave; the mansion could be burned," and she remembers commenting: "Well if the mansion is burned we will rebuild it."

"It was a stupid statement I made that I shouldn't have made no matter the situation, and I apologize for that; I made a mistake we all make mistakes; I am not perfect." the Harvard trained economist told the audience, which in an apparent appreciation of the admission, erupted into a standing ovation.

The UP standard bearer also admitted supporting Mr. Taylor in the early stage of the war, but that the support, which was channeled through a US-based Liberian political advocacy group, The Association for Constitutional Democracy was limited in scale. However she added that the Association stopped any support to Mr. Taylor when it became obvious that the war of liberation was turning into one of destruction, indiscriminate killing of innocent people." She added that "When reports reached us that former political allies of ours, including the late Jackson F. Doe and Gabriel Kpolleh had been killed by Taylor forces, we cut off our support," the presidential contender recalled. Mrs. Sirleaf regretted the indiscriminate killings of Liberians and other foreign nationals by Mr. Taylor's forces, and expressed the hope that Liberians can begin a process of national healing and genuine reconciliation in an effort to unite the country.

The event, organized by the Philadelphia-based non-partisan support group, Liberians for Ellen (LIFE), was later followed by a fund-raising dinner.
After Philadelphia, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was the guest of Liberians in Minnesota where she made similar remarks amidst thunderous applause.
The UP candidate has been drawing considerable attention in Liberian political circles in the United States since she arrived here recently to serve as keynote speaker at the All Liberia National Conference in Columbia, Maryland.

The candor with which she has been laying out her vision for Liberia has rejuvenated her political base, and is drawing an emerging non-partisan support among Liberians at home and abroad.


Speaking to a crowd of well wishers and supporters recently at a town hall meeting organized by the Liberian Community Association of Staten Island, in New York, Mrs. Sirleaf said:"Our agenda is very clear: we'd like to see a renewed Liberia. We'd like to see our country start again and together we can do it!"

Mrs. Sirleaf, a leading contender in the October elections has met with Liberians in a number of states including Maryland, New York and New Jersey.


The Chairman of LIFE, Mr. Amara Konneh said that his group is "very excited at the steady progress made in a relatively short period of time," adding, "I believe, the emerging non-partisan support for Mrs. Sirleaf, is the beginning of the unfolding of a bigger picture on the political landscape of Liberia."

The last leg of Mrs Sirleaf's US tour will take her to California.

Mrs. Sirleaf was selected last month in Liberia as the Unity Party's candidate
for the upcoming Presidential elections in October 2005.

Message From Hon, Scott Gblorzuo Toweh announcing his intentions to run in elections 2005.      
 
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