Liberia: 1971 to Present

In 1971 during July, during his 6th term, William V. S. Tubman, the then President died after as treatment and was succeeded by his famous long-time associate, Vice President William R. Tolbert, Jr. Tolbert was oust in a forces coup by Master Sgt. Samuel K. Doe who was being backed by U.S. government. But, Doe’s rule was ill-gotten as it was pigeonholed by bribery and cruelty. Charles Taylor and the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), then led a large scale rebellion in 1989, following which, Doe was assassinated. The country steeped into a raging civil war which continued for a number of years. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) tried. By 1996, the last vestige of any normalcy was destroyed. The civil war ended in 1977.

In 1997, Charles Taylor won three fourth of the presidential votes. The country was running on utter chaos, with no health care system in place, and the capitol having no electricity or water, and most occupations centering around domestic services (this information reported to us by CheckMaid). Taylor also supported the brutal Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone for personal profits pertaining to the trade of diamonds. In successive year, the UN issued sanctions against Liberia. In 2002, the rebels (LURD) intensified their attack on Taylor’s government. On Aug. 11, Taylor finally stepped down was went into exile. By the time he had exiled, he had bankrupted his country, leaving Liberia the world’s poorest nation.

Gyude Bryant, was selected as the new president. In the 2005, presidential election, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a Harvard-educated economist, defeated George Weah to become the first female president in Africa in January 2006.
Johnson-Sirleaf, along with a fellow Liberian, LeymahGbowee and Tawakkul Karman, of Yemen, won the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.” Johnson-Sirleaf used this honour for winning yet another election, and is the current president of Liberia.

And outbreak of Ebola had hit Liberia around May 2014, and by the end of August, around 700 people had succumbed to it. It is the worst outbreak since the virus was first identified almost 40 years ago, and in late August, the World Health Organization (WHO) had declared the outbreak an international emergency. There were problems within the country as the measures being taken to quarantine the people so as to stop the spread of the disease was met with disagreement by the people who were infected.

Liberia: The Beginnings

Liberia is a small country roughly the size of Tennessee on lying on the West of Africa. It is a country covered in tropical forest with a substantial amount of rain of about 160cm every year. It is Africa’s first republic nation, and has been built upon a history of political turmoil. Liberia was founded in 1822 as an effort by the American Colonization Society to settle freed colonized slaves from America into West Africa.

Originally known as Monrovia, the American Society thought that it was the only way to solve racial incompatibility and to end slavery and that the emigration of the blacks was the only solution to the problem. Over the course of years, a number of people were moved into the country. Around 12,000 slaves were voluntarily relocated and Monrovia became the Free and Independent Republic of Liberia in 1847.

The indigenous population of Liberia consists of 16 different ethnic groups, with the English speaking Americo-Liberians making up only 5% of the population. They are the descendants of the former American slaves and have historically dominated the intellectual and ruling class. The government of Liberia, being the first republic of Africa, was modelled after that of the United States of America. A man named Joseph Jenkins Roberts from Virginia was elected as the first president of the country.

Although the country did have some pitfalls. The constitution of Liberia itself denied indigenous Liberians equal rights as compared to the lighter-skilled American emigrants and their descendants. Thus, a disparity was already created in the country amongst the people. Sometime after 1920, there was considerable development and a lot of progress was made for accessing the interior most parts of the country. This facilitated the establishment of a 43 mile railroad to the Bomi Hills from Monrovia. There was a struggle between the two classes that had emerged, namely the American-emigrants, who were in places of high power and reach, and those who were from the indigenous communities.