News that Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected female president, had funded at least two rebel groups – including Charles Taylor – left me surprised and less optimist about the Continent. It was a stark reminder that politics is a dirty game, especially in the context of a civil war as crazy as Liberia’s (which had among its cast the self-styled General Butt Naked). It is hard to imagine how any prominent Liberian politician from the 80s and 90s could have avoided siding with any of the many warring factions.
Perhaps this comment from the FP website sums it best:
“Of course, it’s not clear that there is a Liberian over the age of six who hasn’t supported one rebel group or another the past twenty years. If they were all banned from politics, there wouldn’t be a local left to run the place.”
It is hard to sympathize with Ms Sirleaf without appearing to be applying double standards given Taylor’s treatment by the wider international community. That said, one thing is clear: Ms Sirleaf is no Foday Sankoh or Charles Taylor.
And speaking of Liberia, Charles Taylor’s defense at his trial in the Hague is turning out to be a major hilarity. And of course nobody does better reporting on these issues than Wronging Rights.