President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says she was misunderstood on her reaction to the election of United States President-elect Donald Trump.
Appearing on the Cyrus Pat Show, aired by the Liberia Broadcasting System (ELBC) on Friday afternoon, President Sirleaf noted in an answer to a question about what went wrong with her statement on US President-elect Trump, when many said instead of congratulating the American President-elect, she said she was extremely saddened by the missed opportunity by the American people to join smaller democracies in ending the marginalization of women.
Explaining what she meant by what many saw as her disappointment over the ‘person’ Americans chose to be their leader, President Sirleaf said she did not mean that she was against the decision of the American people to elect Mr. Trump.
President Sirleaf clarified, “I said the American people lost the opportunity to do what smaller democracies have done to reverse the marginalization of women.” By smaller democracies, President Sirleaf was making reference to Liberia for electing her as the first female leader and that of Africa to refute the claim of leadership being only effective when men are in charge. By implication, President Sirleaf meant that had the world’s super power elected a woman as its president, it would have carried a strong, positive message to the rest of the world that could have helped greatly to reverse the marginalization of women in patriarchal societies, that confine women to the kitchen.
“That’s all I said,” she told host Cyrus Badio during his program that he describes as discussions on the lighter side of life.
Four females, including President Sirleaf, elected as presidents in smaller democracies are Catherine Samba-Panza who in 2014 acted as the interim president of the Central African Republic, becoming the first woman to do so; Agnès Monique Ohsan Bellepeau who became acting president of Mauritius two times within the last three years and Rose Francine Rogombé who from June to October of 2009 was the short-term acting president of Gabon, acting as a bridge for the previous president, Omar Bongo, and the succeeding president, Ali Bongo Ondimba.
Meanwhile when President Sirleaf was asked if she had spoken to Mrs. Hillary Clinton, she admitted “I have not.”
However, she told Badio that she had written to Mrs. Clinton to continue her strong support for women’s participation in leadership around the world.
As to whether she was on social media (Facebook, twitter, instagram, etc) she answered in the negative. When asked whether it was true that she was supporting three presidential candidates in the 2017 Presidential and Legislative elections, she said, “I am a Unity partisan, I will remain a Unity partisan and I support the candidate of the Unity Party.” Questioned as to whether she would campaign for Vice President Joseph N. Boakai for the presidency in 2017, President Sirleaf said she would do what is necessary.
For now, she said she will continue to work harder to complete more of her development agenda for the country. She noted further that there is more that unites Liberians than divide us and “therefore we should work to help our communities.”
There is life after the presidency, said President Sirleaf noting that she would be busy delivering speeches and traveling around the world, pointing to many former presidents who are as busy as when they were in power.