Nobel laureate Leymah Gbowee speaks out against fellow winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf


Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Yemini "Arab Spring" activist Tawakkol Karman and rights campaigner Leymah Gbowee at the Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo, December 11, 2011.



Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee said fellow Nobel laureate, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, had not done enough to tackle corruption.

Gbowee, who shared her Nobel with fellow Liberian Sirleaf and Yemeni activist Tawakul Karman, said she was resigning from the reconciliation commission, according to the BBC.

"What has changed?" Gbowee asked, while speaking to Agence France Presse in Paris, on a promotion tour for her new book.

"Her sons are on the board of oil companies and one is the deputy governor of the central bank. The gap between the rich and poor is growing. You are either rich or dirt poor, there's no middle class," she said.

Gbowee added, "I feel I have been a disappointment to myself and Liberia. Not speaking is as bad as being part of the system. Some may say I am a coward but the opportunity to speak out has come here."

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Sirleaf won a second term in Liberia in 2011, days after winning the Nobel. Liberia, facing the fall out of nearly 14 years of civil conflict, has been plagued by graft and corruption. Critics have accused Sirleaf of not doing enough to fight corruption.

On Oct. 2, Liberia's opposition party was outraged by Sirleaf's admission that some of her supporters hid their sons' cards to prevent them from voting in 2005.

The Associated Press reported that while speaking at a women's fundraiser in New York during the United Nations General Assembly, Sirleaf said, "Knowing then that they had young sons who would all be the followers of one of the young candidates, they took all their voter cards from them in the night to make sure that they were not able to go to vote."

Acarous Gray, a member of the House of Representatives who belongs to the opposition party that lost against Sirleaf in 2005, said last week, "This president said she would have zero tolerance on corruption, corruption would be public enemy number one ... when a group of people come to you to disenfranchise other group, the president is under obligation to take action against them, but the president has failed."

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