Sirleaf rebukes sit-tight African presidents, tells them to step down

Sirleaf rebukes sit-tight African presidents, tells them to step down

- African presidents who have refused to step down after many years in power have been told by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to heed their citizen’s call for change

- The former Liberian president pointed out that pressure is building for democracy; and that leaders would eventually have to listen to young people’s demands

- She, however, expressed optimism about recent transfers of power on the continent

Former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has stated that African leaders resisting “democratic transformation” must heed their citizens’ calls for change.

She made the comment after receiving the 2017 Mo Ibrahim award which is aimed at promoting good leadership on the continent on Saturday, April 28, in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, Reuters reports.

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She stated: “Their own citizens are making the call for change and I don’t think they can continue to resist or deny that call for change. The pressure builds (for democracy). The young people today are educated, skillful, demanding, and eventually we have to listen; and I think that will happen to all those that are still lagging behind.”

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Cameroon’s President Paul Biya, are among long serving African leaders who have changed the law in their respective countries, to stay in power.

Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Africa’s first elected female head of state, stepped down as president of war-scarred Liberia last month, making way for ex-international soccer star George Weah to assume the position.

In a previous interview, Sirleaf had stated: “Democracy is now moving at a fast pace, but it hasn’t got everybody yet. And even in stated democracies, there is not enough … democracy in the sense of full competition, full support for those that have been marginalised from the political scene.”

However, she expressed optimism about recent transfers of power on the continent.

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Meanwhile, previously reported that Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was expelled from her party, for allegedly failing to support her then vice, Joseph Boakai to succeed her.

She had been accused of encouraging people to vote against her vice, Joseph Boakai, who lost the presidential election in December 2017 to former footballer George Weah.

The Unity Party's spokesman said Sirleaf had violated the party's constitution as she was seen campaigning with Weah, who was running under the Coalition for Democratic Change banner.

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