Why did the Nobel Committee Award the Peace Prize to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf one week before the Presidential election?
By Jack Hamilton, 7 Oct, 2011
Today’s award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has stirred controversy. The ‘Iron Lady’ said this morning that she is humbled by the award and has stated that it is an award for the people of Liberia. However, the timing of the award, coming one week before the Presidential elections in Liberia, has brought forth claims of the Norwegian-based Nobel Committee interfering in the internal politics of the West African state.
President Sirleaf’s main rival in next weeks’ election, Winston Tubman, has lambasted the decision of the Nobel Committee instead declaring that “She brought war here, she is a warmonger” to the BBC Voice on Africa programme.
Such vitriol is nothing new to the first elected female leader in Africa having risen to prominence in 2005 following a civil war that left a quarter of a million people dead and the Liberian economy in tatters. This is not the issue. Rather it is the question of the timing of the award in such close proximity to the election.