liberian prez 1

Sep. 2 (GIN) – Photos of Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf looking tired or grim suggest the toll the current Ebola epidemic has taken on the 75 year old leader.

The crisis, for which the region was ill-prepared, has taken over a thousand lives – some 700 in Liberia – and many of the improvised control strategies appear to have backfired including the quarantining of the overcrowded West Point slum. This week, nurses at Liberia’s largest hospital walked off their jobs, demanding better pay and equipment to protect them against the deadly epidemic.

“From the beginning of the Ebola outbreak we have not had any protective equipment (PPE) to work with. As result, so many doctors got infected by the virus. We have to stay home until we get the PPEs,” said John Tugbeh, spokesman.

A similar strike by nurses in Sierra Leone is underway

The epidemic appears to have become a springboard for the disgruntled opposition seeking the President’s ouster.

“Let’s be clear for the record, Madam Sirleaf has failed,” said Seyon Nyanwleh, Secretary-General of the Movement of Liberians Against Corruption, writing in FrontPageAfricaOnline. “To even think about waiting one more day is more harmful to Liberia than it is now.  It’s in the supreme interest of Liberia if Madam Sirleaf resigns.”

Also linked to the Sirleaf resignation campaign are former interim government leader Amos Sawyer, former University of Liberia VP James Tarpeh, and Darius Dillon of the Liberty Party who wrote in an open letter: “Madam President, I am convinced you are getting “tired”, that is if you are not already “tired”. “Do the honorable thing. Lead or quit.”

The attacks on the President stirred up strenuous rebuttals. Writing on FrontPage, Wadiah J Massoud, responded: “President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf may have serious problems and shortcomings in her administration and the handling of this crisis, but a regime change at this time will only make the situation worse and the international partners less likely to continue to help us…

“The question is what are the Liberians in the diaspora as a group willing to do to help Liberia now in terms of finance, medical supplies and professionals in medicine to end EBOLA instead of talking about interim government?”

Patrick Tarr wrote: “Let me remind you that the worst peace is better than the best war. Let us enjoy peace and use the democratic process to institute changes, when it becomes necessary. The framers of the constitution knew that some governments will be good and others will be bad, so they made provision for periodic elections – an opportunity to change governments.”

Degan Ballayan added: “Regardless of the existing colorful adjectives we use – corruption, nepotism, inefficiency, we would not want to jump from the frying pan into the fire, or the reverse… careful consideration should be weighed before jumping the loaded gun… Liberia needs a smooth transition, not a bloody one like in the past. So having said that, not only should Ellen do the right thing, but we all as Liberians should do the right thing.” w/pix of Pres. E. Sirleaf

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