Liberia. According to Countryaah.com, Monrovia is the capital city of Liberia, a country located in Western Africa. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who has been president since 2006, handed over power to George Weah, a winner in the December 2017 presidential elections. A week earlier, she had been excluded from the Unity Party after being accused of urging voters not to vote for party candidate Joseph Boakai in the presidential election. In February, it was announced that Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was awarded the Ibrahim Prize, which is awarded to democratically elected African heads of state or government who have shown good leadership and resigned after the maximum number of terms allowed by the country’s constitution.
George Weah took office as president in February. In his installation speech, he did not promise any quick solutions to the problems the country is grappling with, but promised to fight corruption, try to help the country’s resources be more equitably distributed and that civil servants should receive salaries that can be lived on.
In the government appointed by Weah, he let Interior Minister Varney Sirleaf, the son of Johnson Sirleaf’s ex-husband, remain. Only one woman got a seat in the government, Williametta Piso Saydee-Tarr, who was given responsibility for issues relating to children, gender and social protection. The appointment of Charles Gibson as Minister of Justice was criticized, not for the fact that he is close to Weah, but for having his lawyer’s license revoked by the Supreme Court after he was convicted of embezzling a client’s money. After a few weeks, Weah felt compelled to replace Gibson with Musa Dean, former lawyer for the National Electoral Commission.
After four years of discussions about a bill that would give local communities greater rights to land that they usually claim, the law was signed in September by President Weah. According to groups that have fought for these rights, the state has previously approved agreements that have given foreign companies the right to cut down forests, grow oil palms or conduct mining on land belonging to the people who use it. Ownership should now be shown by means of oral testimonies, maps and written agreements between communities.
In March, the UN peacekeeping operation in Liberia (UNMIL) ended after 15 years. President Weah promised at a ceremony in the capital, Monrovia, to maintain peace in the country. In April, one of Liberia’s former warlords, Mohammad Jabbateh (“Jungle Jabbah”) was sentenced to 30 years in prison in the United States, where he has been living since the late 1990s. During the trial, several witnesses heard about the cruel abuses committed by Jabbateh’s rebel groups according to prosecutors, including murders, rapes, mutilations and cannibalism. The trial itself did not, however, concern allegations of war crimes, but Jabbateh was convicted of lying when he applied for political asylum in the United States.