Liberia kicks off campaigns ahead of polls
MONROVIA-Liberia on Tuesday kicked off campaigning for the October 11 presidential and legislative elections, with incumbent President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf facing criticism over her plan to seek re-election.
Sirleaf, who was elected Africa’s first female president in 2005, said she wanted a second term to continue her work in rebuilding the west African nation which was devastated by the 1989-2003 civil war.
In a statement released Tuesday, she said she wished to reaffirm her government’s “commitment to free expression and debate on all issues.”
Her main rival will be economist Winston Tubman, a nephew of former president William Tubman of the Congress for Democratic Change whose candidate lost to Johnson-Sirleaf in a run-off vote in 2005.
Another key contender is Charles Brumskine, leader of the Liberty Party, who will also be taking another shot at the top job.
And Liberia’s ex-warlord Prince Johnson will be a candidate for his newly formed party, the National Union for Democratic Progress.
Johnson was in 1990 filmed drinking beer as his men tortured ousted president Samuel Doe, cutting off his ears and eventually killing him.
He is listed alongside former president Charles Taylor in a Truth and Reconciliation Commission report as a warlord who should be brought to justice for war crimes.