Monday, December 25, 2006

President Johnson Sirleaf Celebrates Christmas

Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is Africa's first elected female president. Things have not beenn easy for Liberia's incredibly smart and tough president, but she is part of the good news for 2006 that the Detroit Free Press has decided to showcase.
Liberia's first Christmas under a constitutionally elected government in more than a quarter of a century is being celebrated with pomp and pageantry throughout the formerly war-ravaged Liberia. [Raw Story]
It's encouraging, in today's world, to see a nation progressing away from senseless war, eyes wide open to the realities of just how hard it is - how much time it takes to get it right - to move toward a caring, peaceful, healthy, and democratic society. President Johnson Sirleaf is on my list of 'most respected contemporary leaders'.

Knowing all too personally that the justice system in Liberia has fallen short of fairness, the Liberian president is granting clemency to some prisoners in her nation, many of them female:
...the justice system in the country is not too active in carrying on speedy prosecution, therefore suspects are being detained for long without trial.

She frowned on correction officers and prison supervisor for allowing inmates to manhandled their colleagues in demand of fees, noting that it means that those in charge of the compound are not carefully catering to the prisoners.

The President emphasized that being in prison does not mean one should be treated as a slave, adding the prison is an area used to correct those who violates the rights of others.

According to President Johnson-Sirleaf, the release of inmates would be done in close consultation with the Solicitor General of Liberia. The Monrovia Central Prison currently hosts over 400 inmates 16 of whom are females.

Meanwhile, The President also visited the prison room that once hosted her during her imprisonment by the late Pres. Samuel Doe. She avowed to address to securing their releaseof female inmates before the Christmas to enable them join relatives and friends to celebrate Christmas.

Most of the females behind bars are pregnant. They've been charged for various crimes including common assaults, theft of properties, property damage, amongst others. She provided 25 bags of rice and several cartoons of fish for those inmates who may not get clemency to celebrate Christmas with sufficient food to eat.
The Chicago Tribune details the progress of two children in Liberia, helping us to understand where the country's coming from and where it's going. [See their series here]